Lighting Up

Lighting Up

Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses by Mimi Nichter

HV 5760 .N53 2015

“Over the past 40 years, rates of adult smoking have fallen dramatically, yet young adults continue to smoke substantially more than any other age group. At a time when just about everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, why do so many college students smoke? Will they eventually give up smoking, either as graduation approaches or once they enter the “real world”? Lighting Up investigates such questions about smoking and explores the experiences and perspectives of hundreds of college students.

Mimi Nichter examines how and why many college students engage in social smoking, emphasizing its key role in students’ lives and how different social contexts can either stimulate or inhibit the practice. Nichter examines how smoking can act as a social lubricant, help college students express and explore their identities, or enable them to communicate their emotions. Although most college students claimed their social smoking was “no big deal” because it was only temporary and most smoked at low levels, they often expressed ambivalence or reluctance to quit once graduation approached. Life after college involves many uncertainties, and a difficult job market heightens stress and instability. For those who have come to depend on the comfort of cigarettes during college, this array of life stressors makes cutting back or quitting more difficult, despite their intentions and understanding of the harms of tobacco. Further, emerging products, like e-cigarettes, offer an opportunity to move from smoking to vaping. Lighting Up provides a rare glimpse into the role of social smoking in the lives of college students and considers how uncertain times may lead to uncertain smoking trajectories that reach into adulthood.”
– publisher description

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Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking

Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking by Michael Keevak

HT 1523 .K44 2011

“In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white.  This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized.  But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only.  When and how did Asians become “yellow” in the Western imagination?  Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race.

From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase “yellow peril” at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference.  He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color.  Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow.

Demonstrating how  racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.” – publisher description

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog

QL 85 .H47 2010

“Does living with a pet really make people happier and healthier?  What can we learn from biomedical research with mice?  Who enjoyed a better quality of life – the chicken on a dinner plate or the rooster who died in a Saturday-night cockfight?  Why is it wrong to eat the family dog?  Drawing on more than two decades of research in the emerging field of anthrozoology, the science of human-animal relations, Hal Herzog offers surprising answers to these and other questions related to the moral conundrums we face day in and day out regarding the creatures with whom we share our world.

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat is a highly entertaining and illuminating journey through the full spectrum of human-animal relations, based on Dr. Herzog’s groundbreaking research on animal rights activists, cockfighters, professional dog-show handlers, veterinary students, and biomedical researchers.  Blending anthropology, behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy, Herzog crafts a seamless narrative enriched with real-life anecdotes, scientific research, and his own sense of moral ambivalence.

Alternately poignant, challenging, and laugh-out-loud funny, this enlightening and provocative book will forever change the way we look at our relationships with other creatures and, ultimately, how we see ourselves.” – publisher description

Anthropology at War

Anthropology at War: World War I and the Science of Race in Germany by Andrew D. Evans

GN 17.3 .G3 E93 2010

“Between 1914 and 1918, German anthropologists conducted their work in the midst of full-scale war.  The discipline was relatively new in German academia when World War I broke out, and, as Andrew D. Evans reveals in this illuminating book, its development was profoundly altered by the conflict.  As the war shaped the institutional, ideological, and physical environment for anthropological work, the discipline turned its back on its liberal roots and became a nationalist endeavor primarily concerned with scientific studies of race.

Combining intellectual and cultural history with the history of science, Anthropology at War examines both the origins and consequences of this shift.  Evans locates its roots in the decision to allow scientists access to prisoner-of-war camps, which prompted them to focus their research on racial studies of the captives.  Caught up in wartime nationalism, a new generation of anthropologists began to portray the country’s political enemies as racially different.  After the war ended, the importance placed on racial conceptions and categories persisted, paving the way for the politicization of scientific inquiry in the years of the ascendancy of National Socialism.” – publisher description

Almost Chimpanzee

Almost Chimpanzee: Searching for What Makes Us Human, in Rainforests, Labs, Sanctuaries, and Zoos by Jon Cohen

GN 281 .C56 2010

“In the fall of 2005, researchers sequenced the chimpanzee genome and provided a startling new window into the differences between humans and our closest primate cousins.  For the past several years, acclaimed Science reporter Jon Cohen has been following the DNA hunt, as well as eye-opening new studies in ape communication, human evolution, cognition, disease, diet, and more.

In Almost Chimpanzee, Cohen invites us on a captivating scientific journey, taking us behind the scenes in cutting-edge genetics labs, rainforests in Uganda, sanctuaries in Iowa, experimental enclaves in Japan, even the Detroit Zoo.  Along the way, he ferries fresh chimp sperm for a time-sensitive analysis, gets greeted by pant-hoots and chimp feces, and investigates an audacious attempt to breed a humanzee.  Cohen challenges many widespread myths, like the inaccurate claim that humans chimps differ by a mere 1 percent, and offers a fresh and often frankly humorous insider’s tour of the latest research, which promises to lead to everything from insights about the unique ways our bodies work to shedding light on stubborn human-only problems, ranging from infertility and asthma to speech disorders.

And, in the end, Cohen explains why it’s time to move on from Jane Goodall’s plea that we focus on how the two species are alike and turns to examining why our differences matter in vital ways – for understanding humans and for increasing the chances to save the endangered chimpanzee.” – publisher description

Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and other Alcoholic Beverages

Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and other Alcoholic Beverages by Patrick E. McGovern

“In a lively tour around the world and through the millennia, Uncorking the Past tells the compelling story of humanity’s ingenious, intoxicating quest for the perfect drink. Following a tantalizing trail of archaeological, chemical, artistic, and textual clues, Patrick E. McGovern, the leading authority on ancient alcoholic beverages, brings us up to date on what we now know about how humans created and enjoyed fermented beverages across cultures. Along the way, he explores a provocative hypothesis about the integral role such libations have played in human evolution. We discover, for example, that the cereal staples of the modern world were probably domesticated for their potential in making quantities of alcoholic beverages. These include the delectable rice wines of China and Japan, the corn beers of the Americas, and the millet and sorghum drinks of Africa. Humans also learned how to make mead from honey and wine from exotic fruits of all kinds-even from the sweet pulp of the cacao (chocolate) fruit in the New World. The perfect drink, it turns out-whether it be mind-altering, medicinal, a religious symbol, a social lubricant, or artistic inspiration-has not only been a profound force in history, but may be fundamental to the human condition itself.”  — book jacket

Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling

Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling by Robert Kunzman

LC 40 .K86 2009

“Homeschooling is a large and growing phenomenon in American society—between 1999 and 2007 it grew at twelve times the rate of public school enrollments, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Current estimates suggest that about two million kids are homeschooled, but information about this booming population is terribly incomplete. Nearly a fourth of states don’t even require parents to notify authorities if they homeschool their children, much less offer any sort of verification that they are doing so.  

Of all the diverse groups of homeschooling families in the United States, conservative Christians are the largest subset, and it is this group that most influences public perception of and rhetoric about this movement. In Write These Laws on Your Children, Robert Kunzman uses his unprecedented access to six conservative Christian homeschooling families to explore this elusive world, from the day-to-day lives of its adherents to its broader aspirations to transform American culture and politics. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews and observations of parents and children, their churches, movement leaders, and related activities, Kunzman offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the fastest-growing education movements of the last twenty years.

With Kunzman we visit homeschoolers in urban Los Angeles, central Vermont, rural Tennessee, northwest Indiana, and central Oregon. The families we meet range in size from one child to ten, and include parents who are professional teachers with advanced degrees as well as those who never finished high school. Their reasons for homeschooling are as varied as their families, and Kunzman takes on the invaluable task of showing us what their homeschooling experiences look like firsthand, what their political and religious beliefs are, and what their kids learn. This extraordinary access allows us to see conservative Christian homeschooling families not only as part of a larger political phenomenon—which is how they’re usually discussed—but also as unique entities with fascinating stories to tell.

The growing popularity of homeschooling raises important questions about the value of ethical diversity, what it means to think for oneself, how we prepare our young people to be democratic citizens, and what role (if any) the state should have in the education of children. Beyond competing visions about the proper aims of education, Kunzman shows, lies a complicated relationship between faith, freedom, and citizenship.”  — book jacket