Publications

Forthcoming
Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire
Kahn, Jeffrey S. Forthcoming. Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago. Abstract

In November 1978, a group of Haitians sailed their small wooden vessel into the harbor of the US Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay. After replenishing their stores of food and water, they departed with the blessing of the base commander and continued toward the Florida Coast in search of asylum. Far from unusual, this voyage was one of many that unfolded across an open Caribbean seascape in which Guantánamo served as a waypoint in a larger odyssey of oceanic migration. By the early 1990s, these unimpeded sea routes gave way to a virtually impenetrable wall of Coast Guard cutters while Guantánamo itself transformed into the largest US-operated migrant detention center in the world.

Islands of Sovereignty is the first book to examine the history of this new maritime border and how it emerged from decades of litigation struggles over the treatment of Haitian asylum seekers in the United States. Jeffrey S. Kahn explores how a series of skirmishes in the South Florida offices of the US immigration bureaucracy became something much more—a fight for the soul of immigration policing in the United States that would eventually remake the asylum adjudication landscape on a global scale. Combining fieldwork with a wide array of historical sources, Kahn seamlessly weaves together anthropology and law in an ambitious account of liberal empire’s geographies of securitization. A novel historical ethnography of the modern legal imagination, Islands of Sovereignty offers new ways of thinking through border control in the United States and elsewhere and the political forms it continues to generate into the present.

Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youth in a Time of Possibility
Ibrahim, Nur Amali. Forthcoming. Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youth in a Time of Possibility. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Abstract

Improvisational Islam is about novel and unexpected ways of being Muslim, where religious dispositions are achieved through techniques that have little or no precedent in classical Islamic texts or concepts. Nur Amali Ibrahim foregrounds two distinct autodidactic university student organizations, each trying to envision alternative ways of being Muslim independent from established religious and political authorities. One group draws from methods originating from the business world, like accounting, auditing, and self-help, to promote a puritanical understanding of the religion and spearhead Indonesia’s spiritual rebirth. A second group reads Islamic scriptures alongside the western human sciences. Both groups, he argues, show a great degree of improvisation and creativity in their interpretations of Islam.

These experimental forms of religious improvisations and practices have developed in a specific Indonesian political context that has evolved after the deposal of President Suharto’s authoritarian New Order regime in 1998. At the same time, Improvisational Islam suggests that the Indonesian case study brings into sharper relief processes that are happening in ordinary Muslim life everywhere. To be a practitioner of their religion, Muslims draw on and are inspired by not only their holy scriptures, but also the non-traditional ideas and practices that circulate in their society, which importantly include those originating in the West. In the contemporary political discourse where Muslims are often portrayed as uncompromising and adversarial to the West and where bans and walls are deemed necessary to keep them out, this story about flexible and creative Muslims is an important one to tell.

Votes for Survival: Relational Clientelism in Latin America
Nichter, Simeon. Forthcoming. Votes for Survival: Relational Clientelism in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India
Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle. Forthcoming. Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
Citizens around the world look to the state for social welfare provision, but often struggle to access essential services in health, education, and social security. This book investigates the everyday practices through which citizens of the world's largest democracy make claims on the state, asking whether, how, and why they engage public officials in the pursuit of social welfare. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in rural India, Kruks-Wisner demonstrates that claim-making is possible in settings (poor and remote) and among people (the lower classes and castes) where much democratic theory would be unlikely to predict it. Examining the conditions that foster and inhibit citizen action, she finds that greater social and spatial exposure - made possible when individuals traverse boundaries of caste, neighborhood, or village - builds citizens' political knowledge, expectations, and linkages to the state, and is associated with higher levels and broader repertoires of claim-making.
2018
Where the Party Rules: The Rank and File of China's Communist State
Koss, Daniel. 2018. Where the Party Rules: The Rank and File of China's Communist State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
In most non-democratic countries, today governing forty-four percent of the world population, the power of the regime rests upon a ruling party. Contrasting with conventional notions that authoritarian regime parties serve to contain elite conflict and manipulate electoral-legislative processes, this book presents the case of China and shows that rank and-file members of the Communist Party allow the state to penetrate local communities. Subnational comparative analysis demonstrates that in 'red areas' with high party saturation, the state is most effectively enforcing policy and collecting taxes. Because party membership patterns are extremely enduring, they must be explained by events prior to the Communist takeover in 1949. Frontlines during the anti-colonial Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) continue to shape China's political map even today. Newly available evidence from the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961) and the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) shows how a strong local party basis sustained the regime in times of existential crisis.
2017
Living Emergency: Israel's Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank
Berda, Yael. 2017. Living Emergency: Israel's Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Abstract

In 1991, the Israeli government introduced emergency legislation canceling the general exit permit that allowed Palestinians to enter Israel. The directive, effective for one year, has been reissued annually ever since, turning the Occupied Territories into a closed military zone. Today, Israel's permit regime for Palestinians is one of the world's most extreme and complex apparatuses for population management. Yael Berda worked as a human rights lawyer in Jerusalem and represented more than two hundred Palestinian clients trying to obtain labor permits to enter Israel from the West Bank. With Living Emergency, she brings readers inside the permit regime, offering a first-hand account of how the Israeli secret service, government, and military civil administration control the Palestinian population.

Through interviews with Palestinian laborers and their families, conversations with Israeli clerks and officials, and research into the archives and correspondence of governmental organizations, Berda reconstructs the institutional framework of the labyrinthine permit regime, illuminating both its overarching principles and its administrative practices. In an age where terrorism, crime, and immigration are perceived as intertwined security threats, she reveals how the Israeli example informs global homeland security and border control practices, creating a living emergency for targeted populations worldwide.

Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization
Mecham, Quinn. 2017. Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
Muslim countries experience wide variation in levels of Islamist political mobilization, including such political activities as protest, voting, and violence. Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization provides a theory of the institutional origins of Islamist politics, focusing on the development of religious common knowledge, religious entrepreneurship, and coordinating focal points as critical to the success of Islamist activism. Examining Islamist politics in more than 50 countries over four decades, the book illustrates that Islamist political activism varies a great deal, appearing in specific types of institutional contexts. Detailed case studies of Turkey, Algeria, and Senegal demonstrate how diverse contexts yield different types of Islamist politics across the Muslim world.
Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution
McGuire, Elizabeth. 2017. Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Abstract
Red at Heart conjures a tale of cross-cultural romance from a topic that is normally seen in geopolitical or ideological terms--and thereby offers a new interpretation of twentieth century communism's most crucial alliance.

This is the multigenerational history of people who experienced Sino-Soviet affairs most intimately: prominent Chinese revolutionaries who traveled to Russia in their youths to study, often falling in love and having children there. Their deeply personal memoirs, interviews with their children, and a vivid collection of documents from the Russian archives allow Elizabeth McGuire to reconstruct the sexually-charged, physically difficult, and politically dangerous lives of Chinese communists in the Soviet Union. The choices they made shaped not only the lives of their children, but also the postwar alliance between the People's Republic of China and Soviet Russia.

Red at Heart brings to life a cast of transnational characters--including a son of Chiang Kai-shek and a wife of Mao Zedong--who connected the two great communist revolutions in human terms. Weaving personal stories and cultural interactions into political history, McGuire movingly shows that the Sino-Soviet relationship was not a brotherhood or a friendship, but rather played out in phases like many lifelong love affairs - from first love, early betrayal, and love children; through eventual marriage with its conveniences and annoyances, guarded optimism, and official heirs; to divorce, reconciliation, and a nostalgia that lingers even today.

A century after 1917, this book offers a novel story about Chinese communism, the Russian Revolution's most geopolitically significant legacy.
The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II
Ben-Yehoyada, Naor. 2017. The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Abstract
In The Mediterranean Incarnate, anthropologist Naor Ben-Yehoyada takes us aboard the Naumachos for a thirty-seven-day voyage in the fishing grounds between Sicily and Tunisia. He also takes us on a historical exploration of the past eighty years to show how the Mediterranean has reemerged as a modern transnational region. From Sicilian poaching in North African territory to the construction of the TransMediterranean gas pipeline, Ben-Yehoyada examines the transformation of political action, imaginaries, and relations in the central Mediterranean while detailing the remarkable bonds that have formed between the Sicilians and Tunisians who live on its waters.
           
The book centers on the town of Mazara del Vallo, located on the southwestern tip of Sicily some ninety nautical miles northeast of the African shore. Ben-Yehoyada intertwines the town’s recent turbulent history—which has been fraught with conflicts over fishing rights, development projects, and how the Mediterranean should figure in Italian politics at large—with deep accounts of life aboard the Naumacho, linking ethnography with historical anthropology and political-economic analysis. Through this sophisticated approach, he crafts a new viewpoint on the historical processes of transnational region formation, one offered by these moving ships as they weave together new social and political constellations.
2016
How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India
Singh, Prerna. 2016. How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract

Why are some places in the world characterized by better social service provision and welfare outcomes than others? In a world in which millions of people, particularly in developing countries, continue to lead lives plagued by illiteracy and ill-health, understanding the conditions that promote social welfare is of critical importance to political scientists and policy makers alike. Drawing on a multi-method study, from the late-nineteenth century to the present, of the stark variations in educational and health outcomes within a large, federal, multiethnic developing country - India - this book develops an argument for the power of collective identity as an impetus for state prioritization of social welfare. Such an argument not only marks an important break from the dominant negative perceptions of identity politics but also presents a novel theoretical framework to understand welfare provision.

Inheritance of Loss: China, Japan, and the Political Economy of Redemption after Empire
How do contemporary generations come to terms with losses inflicted by imperialism, colonialism, and war that took place decades ago? How do descendants of perpetrators and victims establish new relations in today’s globalized economy? With Inheritance of Loss, Yukiko Koga approaches these questions through the unique lens of inheritance, focusing on Northeast China, the former site of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo, where municipal governments now court Japanese as investors and tourists. As China transitions to a market-oriented society, this region is restoring long-neglected colonial-era structures to boost tourism and inviting former colonial industries to create special economic zones, all while inadvertently unearthing chemical weapons abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II.
 
Inheritance of Loss chronicles these sites of colonial inheritance––tourist destinations, corporate zones, and mustard gas exposure sites––to illustrate attempts by ordinary Chinese and Japanese to reckon with their shared yet contested pasts. In her explorations of everyday life, Koga directs us to see how the violence and injustice that occurred after the demise of the Japanese Empire compound the losses that later generations must account for, and inevitably inherit.
Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence
Greitens, Sheena Chestnut. 2016. Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
How do dictators stay in power? When, and how, do they use repression to do so? Dictators and their Secret Police explores the role of the coercive apparatus under authoritarian rule in Asia - how these secret organizations originated, how they operated, and how their violence affected ordinary citizens. Greitens argues that autocrats face a coercive dilemma: whether to create internal security forces designed to manage popular mobilization, or defend against potential coup. Violence against civilians, she suggests, is a byproduct of their attempt to resolve this dilemma. Drawing on a wealth of new historical evidence, this book challenges conventional wisdom on dictatorship: what autocrats are threatened by, how they respond, and how this affects the lives and security of the millions under their rule. It offers an unprecedented view into the use of surveillance, coercion, and violence, and sheds new light on the institutional and social foundations of authoritarian power.
2015
Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States
Driscoll, Jesse. 2015. Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
The break-up of the USSR was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Though a third of the new states fell prey to violent civil conflict, anarchy on the post-Soviet periphery, when it occurred, was quickly cauterized. This book argues that this outcome had nothing to do with security guarantees by Russia or the United Nations and everything to do with local innovation by ruthless warlords, who competed and colluded in a high-risk coalition formation game. Drawing on a structured comparison of Georgian and Tajik militia members, the book combines rich comparative data with formal modeling, treating the post-Soviet space as an extraordinary laboratory to observe the limits of great powers' efforts to shape domestic institutions in weak states.
Democrats and Autocrats: Pathways of Subnational Undemocratic Regime Continuity within Democratic Countries

Despite the fact that Latin American countries have transitioned to democracy, many citizens residing in peripheral regions continue to live under undemocratic rule. Democrats and Autocrats studies the existence of subnational undemocratic regimes (SURs) alongside national democratic regimes. Specifically it answers the following questions: Why do SURs continue to exist despite national democratization? Why do some subnational autocrats and SURs prevail despite presidents' strategies to weaken SURs? Why do democratic presidents support some autocrats and SURs, even when they are from the opposition? Under what conditions do democratically elected presidents endorse or combat (opposition and/or copartisan) autocrats and SURs?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the book argues that there are multiple pathways for SURs reproduction within democratic countries. These pathways, in turn, are determined by a specific combination of intergovernmental interactions, all of which are shaped by institutional and economic national and subnational variables.

The explanation of SUR continuity advanced in this book is tested in contemporary Argentina and Mexico using a multi-method approach. Both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as cross-national and within-country comparisons are employed to test pathways of SUR continuity in two of Latin America's largest countries.

Social Collateral: Women and Microfinance in Paraguay’s Smuggling Economy
Schuster, Caroline E. 2015. Social Collateral: Women and Microfinance in Paraguay’s Smuggling Economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. Abstract

Microcredit is part of a global trend of financial inclusion that brings banking services, especially small loans, to the world’s poor. In this book, Caroline Schuster explores Paraguayan solidarity lending as a window into the tensions between social development and global finance.

Social Collateral tracks collective debt across the commercial society and smuggling economies at the Paraguayan border by examining group loans made to women by nonprofit development programs. These highly regulated loans are secured through mutual support and peer pressure—social collateral—rather than through physical collateral. This story of social collateral necessarily includes an interwoven account about the feminization of solidarity lending. At its core is an economy of gender—from pink-collar financial work, to men’s committees, to women smugglers. At stake are interdependencies that bind borrowers and lenders, financial technologies, and Paraguayan development in ways that structure both global inequality and global opportunity.

Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan
Nunan, Timothy. 2015. Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
Humanitarian Invasion is the first book of its kind: a ground-level inside account of what development and humanitarianism meant for Afghanistan, a country touched by international aid like no other. Relying on Soviet, Western, and NGO archives, interviews with Soviet advisers and NGO workers, and Afghan sources, Timothy Nunan forges a vivid account of the impact of development on a country on the front lines of the Cold War. Nunan argues that Afghanistan functioned as a laboratory for the future of the Third World nation-state. If, in the 1960s, Soviets, Americans, and Germans sought to make a territorial national economy for Afghanistan, later, under military occupation, Soviet nation-builders, French and Swedish humanitarians, and Pakistani-supported guerrillas fought a transnational civil war over Afghan statehood. Covering the entire period from the Cold War to Taliban rule, Humanitarian Invasion signals the beginning of a new stage in the writing of international history.
2014
Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt
Menoret, Pascal. 2014. Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
Why do young Saudis, night after night, joyride and skid cars on Riyadh's avenues? Who are these 'drifters' who defy public order and private property? What drives their revolt? Based on four years of fieldwork in Riyadh, Pascal Menoret's Joyriding in Riyadh explores the social fabric of the city and connects it to Saudi Arabia's recent history. Car drifting emerged after Riyadh was planned, and oil became the main driver of the economy. For young rural migrants, it was a way to reclaim alienating and threatening urban spaces. For the Saudi state, it jeopardized its most basic operations: managing public spaces and enforcing law and order. A police crackdown soon targeted car drifting, feeding a nation-wide moral panic led by religious activists who framed youth culture as a public issue. This book retraces the politicization of Riyadh youth and shows that, far from being a marginal event, car drifting is embedded in the country's social violence and economic inequality.
Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa
Osseo-Asare, Abena Dove. 2014. Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press. Abstract
For over a century, plant specialists worldwide have sought to transform healing plants in African countries into pharmaceuticals. And for equally as long, conflicts over these medicinal plants have endured, from stolen recipes and toxic tonics to unfulfilled promises of laboratory equipment and usurped personal patents. In Bitter Roots, Abena Dove Osseo-Asare draws on publicly available records and extensive interviews with scientists and healers in Ghana, Madagascar, and South Africa to interpret how African scientists and healers, rural communities, and drug companies—including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Unilever—have sought since the 1880s to develop drugs from Africa’s medicinal plants.
           
Osseo-Asare recalls the efforts to transform six plants into pharmaceuticals: rosy periwinkle, Asiatic pennywort, grains of paradise, Strophanthus, Cryptolepis, and Hoodia. Through the stories of each plant, she shows that herbal medicine and pharmaceutical chemistry have simultaneous and overlapping histories that cross geographic boundaries. At the same time, Osseo-Asare sheds new light on how various interests have tried to manage the rights to these healing plants and probes the challenges associated with assigning ownership to plants and their biochemical components.   
           
A fascinating examination of the history of medicine in colonial and postcolonial Africa, Bitter Roots will be indispensable for scholars of Africa; historians interested in medicine, biochemistry, and society; and policy makers concerned with drug access and patent rights.
Property, Predation, and Protection: Piranha Capitalism in Russia and Ukraine
Markus, Stanislav. 2014. Property, Predation, and Protection: Piranha Capitalism in Russia and Ukraine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Abstract
What threatens the property rights of business owners? And what makes these rights secure? This book transcends the conventional diagnosis of the issue in modern developing countries by moving beyond expropriation by the state ruler or by petty bureaucratic corruption. It identifies 'agent predation' as a novel threat type, showing it to be particularly widespread and detrimental. The book also questions the orthodox prescription: institutionalized state commitment cannot secure property rights against agent predation. Instead, this volume argues that business actors can hold the predatory state agents accountable through firm-level alliances with foreign actors, labor, and local communities. Beyond securing ownership, such alliances promote rule of law in a rent-seeking society. Taking Russia and Ukraine between 2000 and 2012 as its empirical focus, the book advances these arguments by drawing on more than 150 qualitative interviews with business owners, policy makers, and bureaucrats, as well as an original large-N survey of firms.
After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia
Greenberg, Jessica. 2014. After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Abstract

What happens to student activism once mass protests have disappeared from view, and youth no longer embody the political frustrations and hopes of a nation? After the Revolution chronicles the lives of student activists as they confront the possibilities and disappointments of democracy in the shadow of the recent revolution in Serbia. Greenberg's narrative highlights the stories of young student activists as they seek to define their role and articulate a new form of legitimate political activity, post-socialism.

When student activists in Serbia helped topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic on October 5, 2000, they unexpectedly found that the post-revolutionary period brought even greater problems. How do you actually live and practice democracy in the wake of war and the shadow of a recent revolution? How do young Serbians attempt to translate the energy and excitement generated by wide scale mobilization into the slow work of building democratic institutions? Greenberg navigates through the ranks of student organizations as they transition their activism from the streets back into the halls of the university. In exploring the everyday practices of student activists—their triumphs and frustrations—After the Revolution argues that disappointment is not a failure of democracy but a fundamental feature of how people live and practice it. This fascinating book develops a critical vocabulary for the social life of disappointment with the aim of helping citizens, scholars, and policymakers worldwide escape the trap of framing new democracies as doomed to failure.

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