Summer Reading List 2022

Reading is proven to reduce stress and increase relaxation. As you relax during the summer months, enjoy these books written by seven A&S faculty from several departments:

book over for The Ledger and the Chain by Joshua Rothman

The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America

By Joshua Rothman (History, jrothman@ua.edu)

Award-winning historian Dr. Joshua Rothman outlined, “When Americans imagine the slave trade, they typically think about the transatlantic trade that brought enslaved Africans to the Americas. But the trade in enslaved people within the boundaries of the United States was more than twice as large as the transatlantic trade to mainland North America. The Ledger and the Chain tells the story of the largest slave trading firm in American history, the men who ran it, and the enslaved people trafficked by it. It asks readers to reconsider a lot of what they think they know, and to understand some things about how slavery worked that they may not have known at all.”

Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life

By Heather White (English, hwhite@ua.edu)

“I wrote Books Promiscuously Read to come to terms with how reading has shaped my whole life, childhood until now, and to find others who feel the same way,” expressed Dr. Heather White. “My fondest hope for it is that it will give people who love to read full license to read whenever they feel like it, without guilt. I think guilt about reading suggests a terrible alienation from what reading actually does for us, and I want to stamp it out.”

book cover for Songbooks by Eric Weisbard

Songbooks: The Literature of American Popular Music

By Eric Weisbard (American Studies, eweisbard@ua.edu)

Named to the shortlist for the 2022 Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, Dr. Eric Weisbard explained, Songbooks is my go at what has been written over the past, well, 250 years, about American popular music. I may never have as much fun writing a book: these short essays let me dive into everything from journalism and academic takes to novels and even how-to guides. So often, our nation’s songs have raised in listeners two linked reactions: wow!!!! and then: what???? That mix, engagement and bewilderment all at once, is what I most wanted to capture.”

In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Jewish-Communist Writers in East Germany

By Thomas Fox (Modern Languages & Classics, tfox@ua.edu)

Recently honored with the German American Friendship Award by the German government, Dr. Thomas Fox has been recognized for his achievements in fostering German American relations. Throughout In the Shadow of the Holocaust, Fox studies the relation between six German Jewish writers and their important roles in shaping cultural life in East Germany.

A Deeper Sickness: Journal of America in the Pandemic Year

By Margaret Peacock (History, mepeacock@ua.edu) and Erik Peterson (History, elpeterson@ua.edu)

2020 will be remembered as a year that faced many different crises, most notably a global pandemic. Historians Dr. Margaret Peacock and Dr. Erik Peterson set out to archive the collective memory of those events, interviewing witnesses and experts from various fields. The journal format of A Deeper Sickness reveals the dimensions of the 2020 crises extend well beyond one calendar year.

Interwar Itineraries: Authenticity in Anglophone and French Travel Writing

By Emily Wittman (English, ewittman@ua.edu)

book cover for Interwar Itineraries by Emily Wittman

“How people traveled, and how people wrote about travel, changed in the interwar years,” Emily Wittman recounted. “Novel technologies eased travel conditions, breeding new iterations of the colonizing gaze. The sense that another war was coming lent urgency and anxiety to the search for new places and ‘authentic’ experiences. In Interwar Itineraries: Authenticity in Anglophone and French Travel Writing, I identify a diverse group of writers from two languages who embarked on such quests. Using translation theory and new approaches in travel studies and global modernisms, I link and complicate the symbolic and rhetorical strategies of writers who offer insight into the high ethical stakes of travel and allow us to see in new ways how models of the authentic self are built and maintained through asymmetries of encounter. Writers looked at include André Gide, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Ernest Hemingway, and Graham Greene.”