The study of penal practices in colonised parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean has recently witnessed a significant shift. The first generation of research into the coercive measures of colonial states tended to focus rather narrowly on imprisonment. The second generation, which has emerged only in the last five years, has significantly widened their field of vision to incorporate much more than the prison. The most recent literature considers capital and corporal punishment, as well as the larger functioning of police and courts. It also explores in more depth the ways in which indigenous peoples experienced and interpreted their punishments. Finally, this new research is sensitive to the paradoxes and tensions of colonial punishment, which often frustrated its purposes. This article reflects upon these historiographical shifts, and argues that, in light of these developments, a new framework for the study of colonial punishment is now called for. It suggests that an approach which views colonial coercive techniques as part of imperial ‘coercive networks’ encapsulates this new thinking.
Governing America examines how the interpretations of American political history changed over time and looks at a broad range of issues from the rise of the welfare state to modern conservatism. The book takes the wider view that political historians have more to offer than mere retrospective
"Political Science Research Methods: Exploring America at a Crossroads." Cal Clark. World Scientific. October 2013. --- With this textbook, Cal Clark aims to provide clear descriptions of the major statistical techniques used in political and social science research for undergraduate students. This is a rewarding read that flows coherently from concepts recognizable to most schoolchildren up to complex statistical techniques without losing its focus, finds Nicholas Thomason.
The presence of classical architectural features in modern Western architecture shows that knowledge from ancient times was travelling through both space and time. Yet despite surface similarities, the architecture of revival was very different to that of antiquity. The classicistic architecture of nineteenth-century America provides a clear case. In contrast to the Roman influences that affected the founding fathers, nineteenth century American architecture borrowed instead from the Greeks. Informed less by archaeology and more by ideology, the American Greek revival saw the architectural forms divested of original meanings and invested with the ideals of postrevolutionary America. Looking at the vectors by which the revival reached American shores shows a double distortion affecting the transmission of the signal from Ancient Greece, such that what survives the great distances and times that separate the two societies is in the end a very different set of facts.
This paper revises the traditional view of Spain as a predatory colonial state that extracted revenue from natural resources and populations in the Americas while offering little in return. Using 18th century Spanish American treasury accounts we show that local elites not only exerted important control over revenue collection as argued by (Irigoin/Grafe 2006) but also over expenditure allocation. Mirroring Elliot’s characterization of the English empire as a ‘stakeholder empire’ we contend that the Spanish colonial state developed into a stakeholder model, in which local interests were deeply invested in the survival and expansion of empire. The means of co-optation were intra-colonial transfers, as well as credit relations between the state and colonial individuals and corporations, which guaranteed that much of colonial revenue was immediately fed back into the local economy, while minimizing enforcements costs. By allowing stakeholder control of both revenue and expenditure Spain managed to avoid the problems faced by France where royal control of expenditure clashed with at least partial elite control of revenue raising (Velde/Weir 1992, Hoffman/Rosenthal 1997).
The economics literature is full of studies of monetary or currency unions ranging from the sterling area before 1914, to the Bretton Woods system later and the euro zone within the European Monetary Union today. A quick search in Econ-Lit returned over 10,000 entries among abstracts and subjects, and a good one thousand titles. None was found for currency or monetary disunion, or fragmentation. Yet, the monetary disintegration that occurred in Spanish America over the period 1800-25, along with the fiscal and political fragmentation that followed the implosion of the Spanish Empire, is one of the most prominent examples of such an economic phenomenon. Moreover, the macroeconomic consequences in the long run for the performance of nineteenth century Latin American economies makes the fragmentation of such an extended monetary union a case well worthy of consideration.
The botched roll-out of government health insurance exchanges has trained a harsh spotlight on the Affordable Care Act. While the health law’s impact on the economy remains sharply disputed, Richard B. Saltman argues that politically motivated implementation decisions – from disruptions of existing insurance coverage to special treatment for labor unions and favored industries – have deepened a legitimacy crisis for government in general. He writes that as levels of citizen trust in government reach an all-time low, the ability of either party to make policy is diminished.
Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory, aided by Latino and other minority votes, left little doubt of the importance of demographic changes in America. Using survey data for the past six decades, Josh Zingher investigates just how group membership affects voting behavior, and how has this changed over time. He finds that while some groups have been stable voters for the past 60 years, such as African Americans for the Democrats, and whites for the Republicans, other groups’ leanings have changed considerably. He argues that the growth in the proportion of pro-Democratic groups such as Latinos and college graduates, and the shrinking population of Republican supporters, such as Protestants and churchgoers, mean that the Republican Party must now seek new sources of support if it is to be electorally successful in the future.
With arts funding in the U.S. currently shaped largely by private donors and declining state and federal funding, Sheila D. Collins looks back to the New Deal’s federal arts projects. She writes that initiatives such as the Works Progress Administration Arts Project not only set the ground for the flowering of the graphic arts in the U.S., but also provided employment for thousands of authors, critics, musicians, photographers and artists who would become famous for their later works.
After years of recession and sluggish growth, for many, an economic recovery is the light at the end of the tunnel that will lead to greater employment, higher income and perhaps less inequality. While conventional economic wisdom holds that capitalists should be just as anxious to see recovery as workers, Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler argue that it is actually in capitalists’ interests to prolong the crisis, as their relative power increases in times of stagnation and unemployment. Using U.S. data from the past century, they find that when unemployment rises, capitalists can expect their share of income to rise in the years that follow. Unless society takes steps to decrease unemployment, capitalists are likely to continue to pursue stagnation for their own gain.
The United States is still often thought of as an offshoot of England, with its history unfolding east to west beginning with the first English settlers in Jamestown. But what about the significance of America’s Hispanic past? Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States is Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s book on the Hispanic past and future of the U.S., taking in the explorers and conquistadores who planted Spain’s first colonies in Puerto Rico, through to the the Hispanic heartlands in major cities such as Chicago, Miami, New York, and Boston. A wonderful and indispensable read for students of American history and culture, writes Zalfa Feghali.
On Thursday the House of Representatives voted to approve a budget bill that, once passed by the Senate, will avoid the threat of another government shutdown in 2014. Roy Meyers takes a close look at the deal, which includes some higher ceilings for appropriations over the next two financial years, as well as some minor savings. He argues that the agreement symbolizes a “time out” from major budgetary conflicts between Democrats and Republicans, in anticipation of primary and general elections next year.
The so-called “War on Christmas” has become an annual feature of the holiday season in the U.S., with much of the debate centering around religious displays on publicly-owned property. David Kyle Johnson argues that this cultural conflict is fueled by disparate understandings of Christmas and American history between religious conservatives and secular progressives. He concludes that research into the pagan roots of Christmas, the founding of America, and legal precedent, shows that historical fact tends to fall on the side of secularists arguing against government-sponsored religious displays at Christmas.
As election turnout levels in the U.S. continue to fall, political leaders and academics have become increasingly interested in what motivates people to actually vote. USApp Editor, Chris Gilson talks to Stefano DellaVigna about his recent research that posits that people vote because they might be asked about whether or not they voted. He finds that in general, voters hate to lie, even when offered a monetary reward to do so, and that there is a distinct ‘cost’ to people when they lie about not voting. Professor DellaVigna recently spoke at the LSE Government Department PSPE Research Seminar, click here for further details.
This year has not been a good one for President Barack Obama and his administration. James D. Boys takes a look at 2013’s policy fumbles, which look even worse in light of the promise brought by his re-election barely one year ago. He writes that the difficulties with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the lack of direction on Syria and foreign policy in general, as well as lost battles on gun control and the government’s shutdown are all likely to harm Obama’s political legacy. Elections and continuing Congressional gridlock in 2014 may see the President move even further into lame duck territory.
Nonpartisan elections—in which candidates are not endorsed by a political party and their party affiliation does not appear on the ballot—have been criticized as depriving crucial information to voters, making it difficult for them to vote for candidates that represent their beliefs. Chris W. Bonneau and Damon M. Cann tested the impact of nonpartisan election conditions using both a laboratory experiment and data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey. They find that there is no significant difference between voting behaviors in partisan and nonpartisan election formats.
With increasing concerns about the economic and environmental impacts of traditional mass-tourism, ‘niche’ destination’ tourism is becoming an increasingly popular alternative. David J. Nemeth looks at ‘phantasmal’ tourism, which attracts visitors to experience imagined supernatural, magical, or mystical allure. He argues that by capitalizing on the perceived ‘dark’ aspects of roadways numbered 666 authorities in America can encourage tourism and development to revitalize depressed local economies.
Voter turnout is a perennial problem in the United States that is often amplified by a difficult registration process. Thad Hall examines two methods of simplifying and improving voter registration, the 2002 Help America Vote Act and Election Day Registration. Using census data, he argues that Election Day Registration counters many problems people typically encounter that prevent them from voting.
If one considers the fortunes of economic history in the 20th century U.S., the
1940s, 50s and 60s stand out as a particularly vibrant time for the field and
economists’ contributions to it. These decades saw the creation of the main
association and journals - the Economic History Association, the Journal of
Economic History for example – and the launching of large research programs –
Harvard’s history of entrepreneurship, Simon Kuznets’ retrospective accounts,
cliometrics for example. Why did American economists write so much history in
the decades immediately following WWII, and why and how did this change
To answer these questions I use interviews with scholars who were active in the
mid 20th century, their publications and archival material. The bulk of the
analysis focuses on the U.S., yet it relies in part on a comparison with France
where economic history also experienced a golden period at this time, though it
involved few economists. Instead it was the domain of Annales historians. This
comparison sheds light on the ways in which the labels “economist” and
“historian” changed meaning throughout the period of study.
Economists’ general interest for history is best understood as a part of an
ongoing debate on scientific method...
This dissertation assesses the degree of assimilation achieved by Irish immigrants in the US in the last decades of the nineteenth century. It employs a matching technique to link specific individuals in both the 1880 and 1900 US censuses. I use this technique to create matched samples of Irish immigrants and native born Americans, allowing me to capture significant information concerning these individuals and their families over this timeframe. Utilising these samples, together with other data, I assess the degree of assimilation achieved by Irish immigrants, in aggregate and in selected subsets, with native born Americans across a range of socio-economic characteristics over this period.
Among my principal findings are that Irish immigrants did not assimilate quickly into American society in this period, nor did they achieve occupational parity with native born Americans. Younger Irish and those who immigrated to the US as children experienced greater assimilation and achieved higher levels of occupational mobility, as did those Irish immigrants who married a non-Irish spouse. Higher levels of geographic clustering were associated with lower degrees of assimilation and lower occupational outcomes. My research provides support for the argument that such clustering delays immigrant assimilation. My results also indicate continued cultural persistence by Irish immigrants as it relates to their choice of names for their children. Irish immigrants who gave their children a common Irish name closely resembled those who married an Irish-born spouse - they underperformed in the workplace and experienced a lower degree of assimilation. These results suggest that the flame burning under the Irish melting pot in the last decades of the nineteenth century was not very hot...