What’s the best way to understand insurgency, terrorism, and irregular warfare?

by krm | Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 6:00 AM

When the still ongoing insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq erupted after the U.S. invasions, the U.S. government and military seemed both surprised and befuddled, as if they had never dealt with such things before. This was a repetition of the response in the 1980s, the previous time insurgency became a national security issue when the lessons of the 1960s had to be relearned. But the 1960s was not the first time the U.S. had dealt with this kind of warfare—or forgotten its past experience with it. In the 1960s, it was as if the Marine Corps’ experience between the World Wars in the Caribbean and the more than two centuries of Indian fighting had never happened. Revolution and Resistance aims to remedy such historical shortsightedness by showing that the proper historical scope for understanding contemporary insurgency and terrorism is not decades but centuries. The irregular warfare we face today, the book argues, is best understood in the context of the rise and fall of Euro-American imperialism, beginning in the 16 th century and continuing around us today.

That imperialism is often portrayed as a matter of technology, firepower, and disease. Those certainly played a role,...Read More

Behind the Book: Murder and the Making of English CSI

by krm | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 6:00 AM

Several years ago my colleague Neil Pemberton asked me when police started using tape to protect crime scenes. Though I had written extensively on the history of forensics I had no ready answer. As we talked it through we realized that the history of crime scene investigation (CSI) as a technique had not been seriously considered and that it opened up a rich vein of questions about forensic theory and practice that could form the subject of a fascinating book.

Our research has now been written up in Murder and the Making of English CSI , published this fall with the Johns Hopkins University Press. Focused on the investigation of murder in the first half of the twentieth century, it traces the evolution and interactions between the century’s two principal regimes for producing forensic evidence. The first is a body-centered forensics, associated with the lone, ‘celebrity’ pathologist, his scalpel and the mortuary slab, in which the skilled observer autopsied a dead body. The second is a ‘forensics of things,’ focused on the analysis of trace evidence (hair, blood, fibers) harvested from meticulously managed crime scenes.

The book analyzes the shifting...Read More

Taking the Stage

by bjs | Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 7:16 AM

Earlier this year, Jennifer Parker-Starbuck joined the editorial team at Theatre Journal as Co-Editor. The Head of Department, Drama, Theatre and Performance and a Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Roehampton, her work focuses on the historical and theoretical implications of new media/multimedia and its relationship to the body in performance. She joined us in a Q&A to talk about her position and what the journal means to her field.

What do you hope to bring to the editorial team of Theatre Journal ?

I am honored to be a part of Theatre Journal , a journal that has significantly shaped my own understanding of the field. During my time as Editor I hope to maintain the rigor and research that have always marked this journal while encouraging authors to submit essays that are infused with urgency and passion - for the field, for specialty topics, for the state of the world today as reflected through the history and present state of theatrical inquiry. It is a transitional time for print publication and we are currently working to develop a supplemental digital platform for the journal....Read More

Behind the Book: Photographs from Disease and Discovery

by krm | Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 6:00 AM

The following are extended captions from Elizabeth Fee’s Disease and Discovery: A History of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 1916–1939 . Fee’s book tells the story of the founding and early years of the nation’s first dedicated school of public health has been reissued to coincide with the school’s centennial celebration.

Recent European immigrants and black rural migrants lived in tenement housing in Baltimore’s alleys. These tenements were dilapidated, dirty, and insanitary – and the immigrants themselves were blamed for these conditions. Because of their laziness and poor habits, they were said to be responsible for spreading diseases. Baltimore Mayor Howard Jackson cheerfully explained, “We have a high death rate here and there is an admirable field for efficient research work.”

In 1926, the School of Hygiene and Public Health opened its new building on North Wolfe Street. Dr Andrew Balfour from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine gave a stirring opening address: “I believe that today you are opening and consecrating not a school but a temple, a shrine with...Read More

The Human Aspect of the Civil War Navies

by krm | Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 6:00 AM

In a recent talk to a group about my new book, Faces of the Civil War Navies , an audience member approached me with a question shortly before I stepped up to the podium. He politely inquired which aspect of the navy I’d talk about, Brown Water (rivers) or Deep Water (seas).

This is a popular framework to discuss the navy and a perfectly reasonable inquiry. My answer, however, was neither. I would speak about the human aspect.

The story of the war on the waters never quite stirred the American soul. The New York Herald noted in an 1895 review of the first in the 30-volume Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, “That branch of the service has never had its full share of credit for its work in the suppression of the rebellion, owing, perhaps, to the more popular interest in the army, which came so much more closely home to the people.”

And yet sailors on both sides of the conflict fought with determination and patriotism equal to their counterparts on land. Some were skilled merchant mariners and fishermen. Others were country farmers and city...Read More