The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Faculty Bookshelf

Books by Alasdair Roberts

Some of the latest publications from our prolific faculty, covering vital topics such as the uprisings following the death of George Floyd, the real-world impact of social science research, the future of digital media and the political economy, and more.

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Archaeologies of the Heart, by Sonya Atalay, UMass Amherst

Sonya Atalay | Archaeologies of the Heart

An archaeology of the heart provides a new space for thinking through an integrated, responsible, and grounded archaeology, where there is care for the living and the dead, acknowledges the need to build responsible relationships with communities, and with the archaeological record, and emphasize the role of rigor in how work and research is conducted. The contributions bring together archaeological practitioners from across the globe in different contexts to explore how heart-centered practice can impact archaeological theory, methodology, and research throughout the discipline.

Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid During the Covid-19 Crisis, by Eleanor Finley, UMass Amherst

Eleanor Finley | Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid During the Covid-19 Crisis

Pandemic Solidarity collects firsthand experiences from around the world of people creating their own narratives of solidarity and mutual aid in the time of the global crisis of COVID-19. The world's media was quick to weave a narrative of selfish individualism, full of empty supermarket shelves and con-men. However, if you scratch the surface, you find a different story of community and self-sacrifice. Looking at eighteen countries and regions, the personal accounts in the book weave together to create a larger picture, revealing a universality of experience. Moving beyond the present, these stories reveal what an alternative society could look like, and reflect the skills and relationships we already have to create that society, challenging institutions of power that have already shown their fragility.

Latin American Extractivism, Castriela Hernandez, UMass Amherst

Castriela Esther Hernández ReyesLatin American ExtractivismDependency, Resource Nationalism, and Resistance in Broad Perspective

This cutting-edge book presents a broad picture of global capitalism and extractivism in contemporary Latin America. Leading scholars examine the cultural patterns involving gender, ethnicity, and class that lie behind protests in opposition to extractivist projects and the contrast in responses from state actors to those movements.

Bodies and Lives in Victorian England, Pamela Stone, UMass Amherst

Pamela K. StoneBodies and Lives in Victorian England: Science, Sexuality, and the Affliction of Being Female

With a temporal focus on women’s life experience, the book moves from childhood and youth, through puberty and adolescence, to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, into senescence. Drawing on osteological sources, medical discourses, and examples from the literature and cultural history of the period, alongside social and environmental data derived from ethnographic and archival investigations, the authors explore the experience of being female in the Victorian era for women across classes. In synthesizing current research on demographic statistics, maternal morbidity and mortality, and bioarchaeological evidence on patterns of aging and death, they analyze how changing social ideals, cultural and environmental variability, shifting economies, and evolving medical and scientific understanding about the body combined to shape female health and identity in the nineteenth century.


Soft-Power Internationalism, by Burcu Baykurt, UMass Amherst

Burcu BaykurtSoft-Power Internationalism: Competing for Cultural Influence in the 21st-Century Global Order

This book is a global comparative history of how soft power came to define the interregnum between the celebration of global capitalism in the 1990s and the recent resurgence of nationalism and authoritarianism. It brings together case studies from the European Union, China, Brazil, Turkey, and the United States, examining the genealogy of soft power in the Euro-Atlantic and its evolution in the hands of other states seeking to counter U.S. hegemony by nonmilitaristic means. Contributors detail how global and regional powers created a variety of new ways of conducting foreign policy, sometimes to build new solidarities outside Western colonial legacies and sometimes with more self-interested purposes. Offering a critical history of soft power as an intellectual project as well as a diplomatic practice, Soft-Power Internationalism provides new perspectives on the potential and limits of a multilateral liberal global order.

Key Scholarship in Media Literacy, by Allison Butler, UMass Amherst

Allison Butler | Key Scholarship in Media Literacy, David Buckingham

This text focuses on the scholarship and research of David Buckingham, a global leader in media literacy education and children’s and young people’s media cultures. It is not an exaggeration to state that studies and applications of media literacy education around the globe are indebted to the scholarship of Buckingham and that more nuanced understandings of how children and young people make sense of their media choices are due, in large part, to Buckingham’s work. Key Scholarship in Media Literacy: David Buckinghamfocuses on the key contributions of Buckingham’s work over his prolific career, illuminating the advances he made in the field of media literacy education and understandings of young people’s media cultures. 

Communication in Vehicles: Cultural Variability in Speech Systems

Donal CarbaughCommunication in Vehicles Cultural Variability in Speech Systems

New technology in vehicles is transforming the way people move around as well as what they do in their vehicles. How does one communicate with an in-car speech system and how does this vary by language or cultural community? This book explores this process by focusing on the communication practices that people engage in when using their in-car systems and when talking about their vehicles with co-passengers. Chapters present a robust theory and methodology for studying communication in cars, how tasks are begun and ended, how people switch between tasks, how non-task talk appears, what ways and styles of communication drivers prefer, and how they expect the system voice to respond, among other things.

Quantitative Research Methods in Communication, Erica Scharrer, UMass Amherst

Erica Scharrer | Quantitative Research Methods in Communication: The Power of Numbers for Social Justice

Today’s researchers are inspired by the potential for scholarship to make a difference for society, to push toward more just and equitable ends, and to engage in dialogue with members of the public so that they can make decisions about how to navigate the social, cultural, and political world equipped with accurate, fair, and up-to-date knowledge. This book illustrates the mechanics and the meaning behind quantitative research methods by illustrating each step in the research design process with research addressing questions of social justice. It provides practical guidance for researchers who wish to engage in the transformation of structures, practices, and understandings in society through community and civic engagement and policy formation. It contains step-by-step guidance in quantitative methods—from conceptualization through all the stages of execution of a study, including providing a detailed guide for statistical analysis—and demonstrates how researchers can engage with social justice issues in systematic, rigorous, ethical, and meaningful ways.

ReFocus: The Films of Paul Leni, Erica Tortolani, UMass Amherst

Erica Tortolani | ReFocus: The Films of Paul Leni

Silent-era film scholarship has all too often focused on a handful of German directors, including Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau and Ernst Lubitsch, but little attention has been paid to arguably one of the most influential filmmakers of the period: Paul Leni. This collection – the first comprehensive English-language study of Leni’s life and career – offers new insights into his national and international films, his bold forays into scenic design and his transition from German to Hollywood filmmaking.


The Economic Case for LGBT Equality, by MV Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst

M.V. Lee Badgett | The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Befits Us All

We know that homophobia harms LGBT individuals in many ways, but economist M. V. Lee Badgett argues that in addition to moral and human rights reasons for equality, we can now also make a financial argument. Finding that homophobia and transphobia cost 1% or more of a country’s GDP, Badgett expertly uses recent research and statistics to analyze how these hostile practices and environments affect both the US and global economies. LGBT equality remains a persistent and pertinent issue. The continued passing of discriminatory laws, people being fired from jobs for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, harassment and bullying in school, violence and hate crimes on the streets, exclusion from intolerant families, and health effects of stigma all make it incredibly difficult to live a good life.

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems, Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst

Nancy Folbre | The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems: An Intersectional Political Economy

Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring for others is under-valued and under-rewarded in today's global economy, calling attention to the organisation of childrearing, the care of other dependants, and the inheritance of assets. Upending conventional definitions of the economy based only on the market, Folbre emphasizes the production of human capabilities in families and communities and the social reproduction of group solidarities. Highlighting the complexity of hierarchical systems and their implications for political coalitions, The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems sets a new feminist agenda for the twenty-first century.

Informal Women Workers in the Global South, Jayati Ghosh, UMass Amherst

Jayati Ghosh | Informal Women Workers in the Global South: Policies and Practices for the Formalisation of Women's Employment in Developing Economies

This book examines the varying trajectories of formalisation and their impact on women workers in five developing countries in Asia and Africa: India, Thailand, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. They range from low- to middle-income countries, which are integrated into global financial and goods markets to differing degrees and have varying labour market and macroeconomic conditions. The impact of formalisation policies on women in developing countries is relatively under-researched. This book provides new evidence that will be applicable across a wide range of developing country contexts and will be of interest to policymakers, feminist economists and students of economics, labour, gender and development studies, public policy, politics and sociology.

Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal, Robert Pollin, UMass Amherst

Robert Pollin | Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet

In this compelling new book, Noam Chomsky, the world’s leading public intellectual, and Robert Pollin, a renowned progressive economist, map out the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change—and present a realistic blueprint for change: the Green New Deal. Together, Chomsky and Pollin show how the forecasts for a hotter planet strain the imagination: vast stretches of the Earth will become uninhabitable, plagued by extreme weather, drought, rising seas, and crop failure. Arguing against the misplaced fear of economic disaster and unemployment arising from the transition to a green economy, they show how this bogus concern encourages climate denialism. Humanity must stop burning fossil fuels within the next thirty years and do so in a way that improves living standards and opportunities for working people. This is the goal of the Green New Deal and, as the authors make clear, it is entirely feasible. Climate change is an emergency that cannot be ignored. This book shows how it can be overcome both politically and economically.

How China Escaped Shock Therapy, Isabella Weber, UMass Amherst

Isabella M. Weber | How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate

This book uncovers the fierce contest about economic reforms that shaped China’s path. In the first post-Mao decade, China’s reformers were sharply divided. They agreed that China had to reform its economic system and move toward more marketization—but struggled over how to go about it. Should China destroy the core of the socialist system through shock therapy, or should it use the institutions of the planned economy as market creators? With hindsight, the historical record proves the high stakes behind the question: China embarked on an economic expansion commonly described as unprecedented in scope and pace, whereas Russia’s economy collapsed under shock therapy. Based on extensive research, including interviews with key Chinese and international participants and World Bank officials as well as insights gleaned from unpublished documents, the book charts the debate that ultimately enabled China to follow a path to gradual reindustrialization. Beyond shedding light on the crossroads of the 1980s, it reveals the intellectual foundations of state-market relations in reform-era China through a longue durée lens.

Labor Studies

Labor in the Time of Trump; Jasmine Kerrissey, Eve Weinbaum, Clare Hammonds, Tom Juravich, and Dan Clawson; UMass Amherst

Jasmine Kerrissey, Eve Weinbaum, Clare Hammonds, Tom Juravich, and Dan Clawson | Labor in the Time of Trump

Labor in the Time of Trump critically analyzes the right-wing attack on workers and unions and offers strategies to build a working–class movement. While President Trump's election in 2016 may have been a wakeup call for labor and the Left, the underlying processes behind this shift to the right have been building for at least forty years. The contributors show that only by analyzing the vulnerabilities in the right-wing strategy can the labor movement develop an effective response. Essays in the volume examine the conservative upsurge, explore key challenges the labor movement faces today, and draw lessons from recent activist successes.

Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning

Climate-Adaptive Design in High Mountain Villages, Carey Clouse, UMass Amherst

Carey Clouse | Climate-Adaptive Design in High Mountain Villages: Ladakh in Transition

Drawing from the unique context and climate of the Himalaya, this book highlights several innovative design interventions, shaped by a myriad of social, cultural, environmental, and political factors that have been employed in villages to combat climate change. Climate-Adaptive Design in High Mountain Villages focuses on Ladakh, an outpost on the front lines of climate change, and the region’s creative responses to the pressing issues of food security, water management, energy efficiency, design aid, and material resources in the Anthropocene. These strategies – from artificial glaciers to tree armor – showcase the breadth of creative solutions already underway. In doing so, the research addresses the broader concept of climate-adaptive design and how it informs the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. An ideal read for academics, researchers, and students in these fields, this book presents a focused investigation into climate-adaptive strategies that could provide transferable solutions for the rest of the world.

Understanding Local Economic Development, Henry Renski, UMass Amherst

Henry Renski | Understanding Local Economic Development (Second Edition)

Bridging the gap between theory and practice this book demonstrates the relevance of theory to inform local strategic planning in the context of widespread disparities in regional economic performance. The book summarizes the core theories of economic development, applies each of these to professional practice, and provides detailed commentary on them. This updated second edition includes more recent contributions - regional innovation, agglomeration and dynamic theories – and presents the major ideas that inform economic development strategic planning, particularly in the United States and Canada. The text offers theoretical insights that help explain why some regions thrive while others languish and why metropolitan economies often rise and fall over time. Without theory, economic developers can only do what is politically feasible. This text, however, provides them with a logical tool for thinking about development and establishing an independent basis from which to build the local consensus needed for evidence-based action undertaken in the public interest.

Political Science & Legal Studies


The President and the Supreme Court, Paul M. Collins, Jr., UMass Amherst

Paul M. Collins, Jr.The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump

When presidents take positions on pending Supreme Court cases or criticize the Court's decisions, they are susceptible to being attacked for acting as bullies and violating the norm of judicial independence. Why then do presidents target Supreme Court decisions in their public appeals? In this book, Paul M. Collins, Jr and Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha argue that presidents discuss the Court's decisions to demonstrate their responsiveness to important matters of public policy and to steer the implementation of the Court's decisions. Using data from Washington to Trump, they show that, far from being bullies, presidents discuss cases to promote their re-election, policy goals, and historical legacies, while attempting to affect the impact of Court decisions on the bureaucracy, Congress, the media, and the public.

Crossing, Rebecca Hamlin, UMass Amherst

Rebecca Hamlin | Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move

Today, the concept of "the refugee" as distinct from other migrants looms large. Immigration laws have developed to reinforce a dichotomy between those viewed as voluntary, often economically motivated, migrants who can be legitimately excluded by potential host states, and those viewed as forced, often politically motivated, refugees who should be let in. In Crossing, Rebecca Hamlin argues against advocacy positions that cling to this distinction. Everything we know about people who decide to move suggests that border crossing is far more complicated than any binary, or even a continuum, can encompass. The migrant/refugee binary is not just an innocuous shorthand—indeed, its power stems from the way in which it is painted as apolitical. In truth, the binary is a dangerous legal fiction, politically constructed with the ultimate goal of making harsh border control measures more ethically palatable to the public. This book is a challenge to all those invested in the rights and study of migrants to move toward more equitable advocacy for all border crossers.

Hometown Inequality; Jesse H. Rhodes, Raymond J. La Raja; UMass Amherst

Jesse H. Rhodes and Raymond J. La Raja | Hometown Inequality: Race, Class, and Representation in American Local Politics

Using big data and a representative sample of American communities, this book provides the first systematic examination of racial and class inequalities in local politics. The authors find that non-whites and less-affluent residents are consistent losers in local democracy. Residents of color and those with lower incomes receive less representation from local elected officials than do whites and the affluent. Additionally, they are much less likely than privileged community members to have their preferences reflected in local government policy. Contrary to the popular assumption that governments that are “closest” govern best, the authors find that inequalities in representation are most severe in suburbs and small towns. Typical reforms do not seem to improve the situation, and the authors recommend new approaches.

Lighting the Way, Douglas Rice, UMass Amherst

Douglas Rice | Lighting the Way: Federal Courts, Civil Rights, and Public Policy

Introducing compelling new data on the policy focuses of federal courts, Douglas Rice presents the first long-term, comprehensive consideration of the judicial agenda. In doing so, he details the essential role of the Supreme Court and other federal courts in directing attention to issues in American politics through influential relationships with Congress, the presidency, and the public. The dynamics Rice illustrates grow from the strengths of political constituencies in various policy areas and the constitutional powers accorded to the courts. Lighting the Way provides strong evidence that, as long argued but never empirically demonstrated, the courts systematically lead the attention of other institutions on civil rights. The research speaks to a broad and growing literature in political science and sociolegal research on the interactive nature of policymaking and the critical role of legal institutions and social movements in shaping policy agendas.

Public Policy

Strategies for Governing, Alasdair Roberts, UMass Amehrst

Alasdair Roberts | Strategies for Governing: Reinventing Public Administration for a Dangerous Century

With the fields of public administration and public management suffering a crisis of relevance, Alasdair Roberts offers a provocative assessment of their shortfalls. The two fields, he finds, no longer address urgent questions of governance in a turbulent and dangerous world. Strategies for Governing offers a new path forward for research, teaching, and practice. Leaders of states, Roberts writes, are constantly reinventing strategies for governing. Experts in public administration must give advice on the design as well as execution of strategies that effective, robust, and principled. Strategies for Governing challenges us to reinvigorate public administration and public management, preparing the fields for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Nonprofit Law: The Life Cycle of a Charitable Organization, Elizabeth Schmidt, UMass Amherst

Elizabeth Schmidt | Nonprofit Law: The Life Cycle of a Charitable Organization (Third Edition)

In a concise and readable format, Nonprofit Law, Third Edition provides up-to-date information about the legal issues that can arise at every turn of a Section 501(c)(3) organization—from inception to termination. The book is designed to satisfy the highest academic requirements for law, business, and public policy students and to provide a helpful desk reference to practicing nonprofit professionals. It uses cases, hypothetical questions, and examples from current events to explore the corporate, tax, and other regulatory issues that nonprofit managers, board members and their lawyers ultimately face.

Mistrust, Ethan Zuckerman, UMass Amherst

Ethan Zuckerman | Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them

Drawing on work by political scientists, legal theorists, and activists in the streets, Ethan Zuckerman offers a lens for understanding civic engagement that focuses on efficacy, the power of seeing the change you make in the world. Mistrust introduces a set of "levers"—law, markets, code, and norms—that all provide ways to move the world. Zuckerman helps readers understand what relationships they want to have with existing institutions. Today, many people are passionate about making positive change in the world, but they feel like the "right" ways to make change are disempowering and useless. Zuckerman argues that while it may be reasonable to dispense with politics as usual, we must not give up on changing the world. Often the best way to make that change is not to pass laws—it’s to change minds. Mistrust is a guidebook for those looking for new ways to participate in civic life, as well as a fascinating explanation of how we’ve arrived at a moment where old ways of engagement are failing us.

Social Thought & Political Economy

The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising, Shemon Salam, UMass Amherst

Shemon Salam | The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising

There was nothing but darkness in the spring of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged and shut down the economy. But as right-wing protesters demanded an end to the lockdown, a much bigger social conflict was brewing under the surface. A rebellion exploded in Minneapolis in response to the brutal police murder of George Floyd in late May, during which a police station was overtaken and burned down. The uprising quickly spread across the United States as protesters looted downtown urban centers, set fire to cop cars, vandalized government buildings, and fought the police. The Black proletariat led the charge, but white, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous proletarians also joined the fight, demonstrating new possibilities for building alliances. While anti-police rebellions continued throughout the summer and fall, the uprising receded with the start of the winter. But this conflict is far from over.


The New Handbook of Political Sociology, Cedric de Leon and Joya Misra, UMass Amherst

Cedric de Leon and Joya Misra | The New Handbook of Political Sociology

Political sociology is a large and expanding field with many new developments, and The New Handbook of Political Sociology supplies the knowledge necessary to keep up with this exciting field. Written by a distinguished group of leading scholars in sociology, this volume provides a survey of this vibrant and growing field in the new millennium. The Handbook presents the field in six parts: theories of political sociology, the information and knowledge explosion, the state and political parties, civil society and citizenship, the varieties of state policies, and globalization and how it affects politics. Covering all subareas of the field with both theoretical orientations and empirical studies, it directly connects scholars with current research in the field. A total reconceptualization of the first edition, the new handbook features nine additional chapters and highlights the impact of the media and big data.

Antiblackness, Moon-Kie Jung, UMass Amherst

Moon-Kie Jung | Antiblackness

Antiblackness investigates the ways in which the dehumanization of Black people has been foundational to the establishment of modernity. Drawing on Black feminism, Afropessimism, and critical race theory, the book's contributors trace forms of antiblackness across time and space, from nineteenth-century slavery to the categorization of Latinx in the 2020 census, from South Africa and Palestine to the Chickasaw homelands, from the White House to convict lease camps, prisons, and schools. Among other topics, they examine the centrality of antiblackness in the introduction of Carolina rice to colonial India, the presence of Black people and Native Americans in the public discourse of precolonial Korea, and the practices of denial that obscure antiblackness in contemporary France. Throughout, the contributors demonstrate that any analysis of white supremacy---indeed, of the world---that does not contend with antiblackness is incomplete.

Contrapunteos Diaspóricos, Agustín Laó-Montes, UMass Amherst

Agustin Laó-MontesContrapunteos Diaspóricos: Cartografías Políticas de Nuestra Afroamérica

Contrapunteos Diaspóricos integra un conjunto de estudios y en¬sayos cuyo hilo conductor es el entrelace entre poder, cultura y política en Nuestra Afroamérica. A través de una serie de análisis contrapuntales vamos componiendo una cartografía de la política y lo político en el universo histórico de las diásporas afrolatinoamericanas. Nuestra Afroamérica se enmarca en el mundo afro, que en su triple localización histórica (como modernidad alterna, "contracultura de la modernidad" y alternativa a la modernidad) ha sido y ha de ser un pilar en las gestas principales para transcender "la prehistoria de la humanidad" y para realizar, armados de esperanza, una suerte de utopía práctica inspirada en la convicción de que "un mundo mejor es posible". El maridaje contrapuntal de investigación y escritura sigue el ejemplo de una larga tradición en la producción intelectual afrodiaspórica, caribeña y latinoamericana que combina creativamente historiografía y narrativa, investigación sociológica y alegoría literaria, teoría política y pensamiento vernáculo, auto etnografía y análisis hístórico-, en aras de producir un saber científico no-positivista, trans/posdisciplinar, que cultive su imaginación poética, su carácter crítico radical y su compromiso con la descolonialidad y la liberación. Tocando ese tambor lírico y analítico, el libro se divide en cinco partes que se abren con citas del corpus literario afroamericano, junto a fragmentos de ensayo, música popular y referencias a religiones afrodiaspóricas, sobre todo la Yoruba y las divinidades de su panteón: lasjlos Orishas.

The Dating Divide, Jennifer Lundquist, UMass Amherst

Jennifer Lundquist | The Dating Divide: Race and Desire in the Era of Online Romance

The Dating Divide is the first comprehensive look at "digital-sexual racism," a distinct form of racism that is mediated and amplified through the impersonal and anonymous context of online dating. Drawing on large-scale behavioral data from a mainstream dating website, extensive archival research, and more than seventy-five in-depth interviews with daters of diverse racial backgrounds and sexual identities, Curington, Lundquist, and Lin illustrate how the seemingly open space of the internet interacts with the loss of social inhibition in cyberspace contexts, fostering openly expressed forms of sexual racism that are rarely exposed in face-to-face encounters. The Dating Divide is a fascinating look at how a contemporary conflux of individualization, consumerism, and the proliferation of digital technologies has given rise to a unique form of gendered racism in the era of swiping right—or left.