|NEW BOOKS: Presenting
recent publications by Harvard Academy Scholars.
of the African State
by Catherine Boone
Political Topographies shows
that central rulers’ powers, ambitions, and strategies
of control vary across subregions of the national space, even
in countries reputed to be highly centralized. Boone argues
that this unevenness reflects a state-building logic that
is shaped by differences in the political economy of regions
– that is, by relations of property, production, and
authority that determine the political clout and economic
needs of regional-level elites. Center-provincial bargaining,
rather than the unilateral choices of the center, is what
drives the politics of national integration and determines
how institutions distribute power. Boone’s innovative
analysis speaks to scholars and policy makers who want to
understand geographic unevenness in the centralization and
decentralization of power, in the nature of citizenship and
representation, and in patterns of core-periphery integration
and breakdown in many of the world’s multiethnic or
regionally divided states.
Catherine Boone (Academy Scholar,
1990-92) is associate professor of political science at the
University of Texas at Austin.
of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus, 1569-1999
by Timothy Snyder
Moving from the sixteenth century to
the present, and using a wide array of multi-lingual sources,
The Reconstruction of Nations shows how multiple
versions of national identity evolved and competed with each
other in what are now Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine.
Snyder contends that the triumph of modern ethnic nationalism
in this part of Eastern Europe is very recent. Federalism
and communal toleration were considered viable national ideas
from the 16th through 20th centuries—only the atrocities
of the Second World War buried such traditional alternatives.
Snyder’s original explanations for these atrocities
include the first scholarly account of the Ukrainian-Polish
ethnic cleansings of the 1940s. Snyder concludes with an analysis
of the peaceful resolution of national tensions in the region
since 1989. Winner of the American Historical Association’s
George Louis Beer Prize for the best publication in European
international history since 1895.
Tim Snyder (Academy Scholar 1998-2000)
is assistant professor of history at Yale University.
Foundations of Despotism:
Peasants, the Trujillo Regime, and Modernity in Dominican
History by Richard Turits
This book explores the history of the
Dominican Republic as it evolved from the first European colony
in the Americas into a modern nation under the rule of Rafael
Trujillo. Turits reveals how the seemingly unilateral imposition
of power by Trujillo in fact depended on the regime’s
mediation of profound social and economic transformations,
especially through agrarian policies that assisted the nation’s
large independent peasantry. Most of the existing literature
casts the Trujillo dictatorship as the paradigm of despotic
rule through coercion and terror alone. This book elucidates
instead the hidden foundations of the regime, portraying everyday
life and economy in the Dominican countryside and the exchanges
between state and society under Trujillo. Winner of the American
Historical Association’s John Edwin Fagg Prize for the
best publication in Latin American history.
Richard Turits, (Academy Scholar
1996-1997 and 1999-2000) is associate professor of history,
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.