#MuseumWeek Spotlight: Upcoming Exhibitions + Catalogues

While #MuseumWeek can be used to highlight timely issues in the art world, or just for fun, we are featuring some of our fantastic museum partners, along with the upcoming catalogues we’re co-publishing with them.

First up, our neighbors at the Oakland Museum of California. Opening on April 29, Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest features the dream-like works of American painter Roy De Forest.

Available now, exhibition catalogue by Susan Landauer

“In this thoroughly professional, immaculately organized, and factually overflowing book, the reader is set to be inspired by the adventure that was Roy De Forest.” —New York Journal of Books

The engaging catalogue presents gorgeous color reproductions of De Forest’s finest artworks, plus a variety of figure illustrations that illuminate the artist’s diverse sources and freewheeling social and creative milieu in Northern California.

Check out OMCA’s new e-magazine for extensive content related to the show, including listening stations featuring audio narrations from unconventional guides. Of special note, this exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

It should come as no surprise that our neighbor across the Bay, the de Young Museum (FAMSF) is the host of the Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll exhibition opening on April 8. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary, this will be an exhilarating display of iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde films of the adventurous and colorful counterculture that blossomed in the years surrounding the legendary San Francisco summer of 1967.

Extensively illustrated with thematic plates and essays, the catalogue explores the visual and material cultures of a generation searching for personal fulfillment and social change.

Start your journey back in time with the museum’s new digital story, ‘Idealism on Haight’, which includes audio narrative by curator Jill D’Alessandro and more.

Also, the California Historical Society has teamed up with San Francisco Travel to create a compelling site, complete with a calendar of events and historical content.

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has another historic (and nostalgic) show coming up: The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology opening June 3.

On the New York Times“notable openings” list for the Spring/Summer, this major traveling exhibition was organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography in collaboration with the MIT Museum, Cambridge, Mass., and the WestLicht Museum of Photography, Vienna.

Looking at the creative exploration of the relationship between Polaroid’s many technological innovations and the art that was created with their help, the richly designed catalogue has over 300 illustrations, and impressively showcases not only the myriad and often idiosyncratic approaches taken by such photographers as Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ellen Carey, and Chuck Close, but also a fascinating selection of the technical objects and artifacts that speak to the sheer ingenuity that lay behind the art.

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara has Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 on view through April 30.

Also featured in the New York Times this week, the show next travels to the New York Public Library in May, followed by Jacob’s Pillow Dance in the Berkshires.

“On a hillside in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, north of San Francisco, amid the redwood trees, lies what is arguably the most important outdoor deck in American dance history.”—New York Times

The Radical Bodies show and catalogue reunites Halprin, Forti, and Rainer for the first time in more than fifty-five years, examining the work and influence of the three artists. Placing the body and performance as political practice at the center of the aesthetic debate, each thereby developed a corporeal language and methodology that continues to influence choreographers and visual artists to the present day. Radical Bodies also made the news surrounding political protests in New York in January. Timely indeed.


Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Call for Papers: Ecology

We invite you to submit your next paper to the Ecology domain of Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal whose mission is Open Science for the Public Good.

Elementa publishes original research with the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact. Structured into six distinct knowledge domains, the Ecology domain will consider research centered on the ways in which humans are intentionally and unintentionally altering the conditions for life on Earth and the resulting ecological implications. These anthropogenic effects manifest at molecular levels and can cascade into physiological, population, community, ecosystem, landscape and global responses. Elementa will report new breakthroughs across these levels of ecological organization as well as for all domains of life.

For the full Aims & Scope of the Ecology domain, please click here.

In addition to innovative features including a value-sharing business model and an article-promotion partnership with Kudos, Elementa articles are highly used and downloaded (see highlighted articles below). For the full Elementa story, visit our website at elementascience.org.

For Elementa news and updates, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that transparent, evidence-based, peer-reviewed research has the widest and most impactful dissemination as possible. Please consider submitting your ecological science papers to Elementa or developing a Special Feature or Forum, and feel free to get in touch with Donald R. Zak, University of Michigan, Editor in Chief for Ecology, should you have any questions.


Recent Special Features from the Ecology domain

New approaches to understanding urban aquatic ecosystems

High-impact Ecology content from Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 

(All metrics from March 23, 2017)

Warming, soil moisture, and loss of snow increase Bromus tectorum’s population growth rate
Compagnoni A, Adler PB. 2014.
Total usage: 23,947 views/downloads since original publication on Jan 08, 2014

Quantifying flooding regime in floodplain forests to guide river restoration
Marks CO, Nislow KH, Magilligan FJ. 2014.
Total usage: 21,709 views/downloads since original publication on Sep 03, 2014

Biotic impoverishment
Naeem S. 2013.
Total usage: 20,328 views/downloads since original publication on Dec 04, 2013

Towards a general theory of biodiversity for the Anthropocene
Cardinale BJ. 2013.
Total usage: 17,863 views/downloads since original publication on Dec 04, 2013


Remembering Oscar Romero

by Matt Eisenbrandt, author of Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice

Thirty-seven years ago today, a gunman fired a single bullet that took Archbishop Óscar Romero’s life as he said mass inside a small chapel. We just observed the fortieth anniversary of another notorious crime from that era, the murder of Romero’s friend, Rutilio Grande. The 1977 ambush of Father Grande began a string of death-squad attacks on priests and other religious figures in El Salvador, a bloody campaign that lasted more than a decade. The diabolical logic of the killers was summarized in the slogan, “Be a patriot, kill a priest.”

Despite years of slander in some sectors, legacies of Romero and Grande are now being honored. Pope Francis is likely to name Romero a saint of the Catholic Church by the end of the 2017. Religious leaders in El Salvador recently sent the Vatican evidence of a miracle they believe is attributable to Romero’s intercession, the last requirement on the road to sainthood. Rutilio Grande is now being considered for beatification as a martyr, the same hurdle that Romero’s cause cleared in 2015.

My new book, Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice, examines the people who executed Romero and how they did so. Equally important, however, the book explains why the conspirators felt the almost incomprehensible need to target priests, nuns, and lay people who were merely practicing their faith. The answer to that question is found in part in Romero’s own homilies. Despite the danger, Romero regularly criticized the repressive power structure in El Salvador, including the small group of wealthy landowners and businesspeople whose interests were protected by a succession of military governments. Romero referred to them as people “who pile up spoils and plunder in their palaces, who crush the poor, who bring on a reign of violence while reclining on beds of ivory.” Organizations that represented their interests responded by defaming Romero and others, branding them as Communists and traitors. One tabloid, in a 1970s version of fake news, carried the headline “Monseñor Romero Directs Terrorist Group,” with the subtitle, “Archbishop Great Ally of Agents of Subversion.”

The day before his death, Romero delivered his most forceful sermon, calling on Salvadoran soldiers to disobey the orders of their tyrannical commanders. He instead implored them, in the name of God, to “stop the repression.” Father Bill Wipfler, an Episcopalian priest who attended the mass that day in San Salvador and later testified about it in our trial against one of Romero’s killers, turned to a colleague after hearing Romero’s plea and said, “I don’t think that the military is going to let this one pass by.” A day later, Romero was dead.

Despite the devastating impact of Romero’s murder in 1980, today his memory is a source of hope and inspiration to millions in El Salvador and around the world. His canonization will be a historic moment for the country and a validation of his courageous and unflinching message.


Matt Eisenbrandt is a human-rights attorney who has devoted his career to finding legal means to prosecute war crimes. In the early 2000s, he served as the Center for Justice and Accountability’s Legal Director and a member of the trial team against one of Óscar Romero’s killers. He is an expert in the field of U.S. human-rights litigation and now works for the Canadian Centre for International Justice.


Why Do Some Countries Disapprove of Homosexuality? Money, Democracy and Religion

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. This post is republished during the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference occurring March 21 – 25 in Kansas City, MO. #ACJS2017


By Amy Adamczyk, City University of New York, author of Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality: Examining Attitudes across the Globe

Image 20170227 18526 18hfh5y
Gay pride – but not everywhere. bensonkua/flickr, CC BY-SA

With Trump’s removal of federal protections for transgender students, debate over LGBTQ rights rage again across the U.S. The Conversation

Despite these disagreements, Americans are relatively liberal compared to countries across the world, where the consequences for gay or transgender citizens are far more dire.

In Europe and here in the Americas, only a minority of people believe that homosexuality is never justified. The percentage increases in places like Russia, India and China. In Africa, the Middle East and parts of Southeast Asia, attitudes become even more conservative.

Why are there such big differences in public opinion about homosexuality? My book, Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality, shows that a key part of the answer comes in understanding how national characteristics shape individuals’ attitudes.

Within countries, a similar set of demographic characteristics tend to influence how people feel about homosexuality. For example, women tend to be more liberal than men. Older people tend to be more conservative than younger ones. Muslims are more likely to disapprove of homosexuality than Catholics, Jews and mainline Protestants.

Just like people, countries too have particular characteristics that can sway residents’ attitudes about homosexuality. I have analyzed data from over 80 nations from the last three waves of the World Values Survey, the oldest noncommercial, cross-national examination of individuals’ attitudes, values and beliefs over time. It is the only academic survey to include people from both very rich and poor countries, in all of the world’s major cultural zones. It now has surveys from almost 400,000 respondents.

My analysis shows that differences in attitudes between nations can largely be explained by three factors: economic development, democracy and religion.

Money matters

Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands are some of the richest nations in the world. They are also some of the most tolerant. In sharp contrast, countries like Uganda and Nigeria are quite poor and the vast majority of residents disapprove.

How does the amount of money a country has shape attitudes? In very poor countries, people are likely to be more concerned about basic survival. Parents may worry about how to obtain clean water and food for their children. Residents may feel that if they stick together and work closely with friends, family and community members, they will lead a more predictable and stable life. In this way, social scientists have found that a group mentality may develop, encouraging people to think in similar ways and discouraging individual differences.

Because of the focus on group loyalty and tradition, many residents from poorer countries are likely to view homosexuality as highly problematic. It violates traditional sensibilities. Many people may feel that LGBTQ individuals should conform to dominant heterosexual and traditional family norms.

Conversely, residents from richer nations are less dependent on the group and less concerned about basic survival. They have more freedom to choose their partners and lifestyle. Even in relatively rich countries like the United States, some people will still find homosexuality problematic. But, many will also be supportive.

Regardless of how much money they make, most people living in poorer countries are likely to be affected by cultural norms that focus on survival and group loyalty, leading to more disapproval.

Freedom of speech

The type of government also matters. People living in more democratic countries tend to be more supportive of homosexuality.

Democracy increases tolerance by exposing residents to new perspectives. Democracy also encourages people to respect individuals’ rights, regardless of whether they personally like the people being protected.

Freedom of speech also allows residents to protest and not be arrested. When residents feel that they can freely express their ideas, they become even more inclined to speak up for themselves and others. This leads to more tolerance.

Dominant religious views

The final factor shaping individuals’ attitudes is religion. Countries dominated by Islam, Eastern Orthodoxy and those that have a mixture of conservative and mainline Protestant faiths are more likely to disapprove.

In contrast, nations dominated by mainline Protestant religions and Catholicism – such as Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom – are much more liberal.

Why are people from Muslim majority nations so opposed to homosexuality? Both Islam and conservative Protestant faiths generate high levels of religious belief. Most religious texts say that homosexuality is problematic. More religious people are more likely to take these religious precepts seriously. When a large proportion of people are highly dedicated to their religion, everyone within the country tends to develop more conservative views.

In these countries, the media are likely to reflect dominant religious views. Schools and businesses are more likely to support religious perspectives that disapprove of homosexuality. The government may censor the media so that they do not violate religious sensibilities. They may also restrict nonprofit organizations and human rights groups that promote views inconsistent with conservative religious values. Religious friends and family members are likely to reinforce anti-homosexual views.

Finally, there may not be any gay bars or other places to meet people with friendlier attitudes in these countries. Likewise, there may be limited internet access where residents could get more information about gay men and lesbians. In these countries most people are likely to disapprove, regardless of whether or not they are personally religious.

Are most nations becoming more liberal?

In 1996, there were only six nations that allowed for civil union or marriage. Seventeen years later, 43 nations allowed for it.

However, there has also been an increase in the number of nations that have a constitution or legal ban on homosexuality, indicating that there seems to have been a small backlash. These actions could be a reaction against the liberal legislation put in place in other countries.

As people across the world develop more liberal attitudes, many still disagree. Countries that are highly opposed to homosexuality tend to put in place policies and laws that reflect this disapproval.

While religion, economic development and democracy have a major role in shaping attitudes, the march toward greater liberalization is less straightforward than these factors alone would suggest.

Nations are embedded in a global context. Many countries located in Europe and North America were the first to become wealthy and democratic. Because they were the leaders, they were not subject to the pressure that currently up-and-coming countries now face from more powerful countries that led the way for gay rights.

Additionally, religion remains relevant, even in many rich societies, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and up-and-coming countries, like Egypt and South Africa.

Future changes in attitudes are likely to be complicated by international forces and the continuing significance of religion.

Eighty percent of the countries I examined are becoming more liberal. However, we can’t assume that these changes will always be linear or simple. While we’ve seen a general trend toward more liberal views regarding homosexuality, there are likely to be hiccups along the way that affect how these different socioeconomic and cultural influences take shape nationally and across the world.


Amy Adamczyk is Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

 


UC Press Music Journals Celebrate American Music

As musicologists gather in Montreal for the Society for American Music conference, UC Press’s music journals are pleased to make select content available to non-subscribers for a limited time. Please enjoy our #AmMusic17 offerings from the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicology, Music Perceptionand 19th-Century Music.

Film Scholars gathering in Chicago for the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies will also find some articles of interest in the offerings below and should see our separate post with offerings from Film Quarterly and Feminist Media Histories.


The Journal of the American Musicological Society is proud to have been the recipient of six Irving Lowens Article Awards from the Society for American Music since 1997. Read these articles for free through the end of March:

Sam Cooke as Pop Album Artist—A Reinvention in Three Songs
Mark Burford
Vol. 65 No. 1, Spring 2012

The Testimonial Aesthetics of Different Trains
Amy Lynn Wlodarski
Vol. 63 No. 1, Spring 2010

Louis Armstrong, Eccentric Dance, and the Evolution of Jazz on the Eve of Swing
Brian Harker
Vol. 61 No. 1, Spring 2008

Henry Cowell and John Cage: Intersections and Influences, 1933–1941
Leta E. Miller
Vol. 59 No. 1, Spring 2006

The Early Life and Career of the “Black Patti”: The Odyssey of an African American Singer in the Late Nineteenth Century
John Graziano
Vol. 53 No. 3, Autumn, 2000

For Those We Love: Hindemith, Whitman, and “An American Requiem”
Kim H. Kowalke
Vol. 50 No.1, Spring 1997


The Journal of Musicology is pleased to make the following articles, which look at various aspects of American music (including an article on Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn) free through the end of March:

Consensus and Crisis in American Classical Music Historiography from 1890 to 1950
David C. Paul
Vol. 33 No. 2, Spring 2016

On the Scenic Route to Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (1942)
Todd Decker
Vol. 28 No. 4, Fall 2011

University Geographies and Folk Music Landscapes: Students and Local Folksingers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1961–1964
David K. Blake
Vol. 33 No. 1, Winter 2016

Grasp the Weapon of Culture! Radical Avant-Gardes and the Los Angeles Free Press
Andre Mount
Vol. 32 No. 1, Winter 2015


Music Perception offers the following articles free through month’s end:

Viewers’ Interpretations of Film Characters’ Emotions: Effects of Presenting Film Music Before or After a Character is Shown
Siu-Lan Tan, Matthew P. Spackman, Matthew A. Bezdek
Vol. 25 No. 2, December 2007

Swing Rhythm in Classic Drum Breaks From Hip-Hop’s Breakbeat Canon 
by Andrew V. Frane
Vol 34 No. 3, February 2017

Rhythm in the Speech and Music of Jazz and Riddim Musicians
Angela C. Carpenter, Andrea G. Levitt
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 2016

The Asymmetrical Influence of Timing Asynchrony of Bass Guitar and Drum Sounds on Groove
Soyogu Matsushita, Shingo Nomura
Vol. 34 No. 2, December 2016


19th-Century Music celebrates #AmMusic17 and #SCMS17 by offering a selection of articles on American film music. As with the articles above, you can read the following for free through the end of the month:

Black Voices, White Women’s Tears, and the Civil War in Classical Hollywood Movies
Robynn J. Stilwell
Vol. 40 No. 1, Summer 2016

Screwball Fantasia: Classical Music in Unfaithfully Yours
Martin Marks
Vol. 34 No. 3, Spring 2011

Listening to the Self: The Shawshank Redemption and the Technology of Music
Daniel K. L. Chua
Vol. 34 No. 3, Spring 2011


Cinema & Soundtracks: FMH and FQ Celebrate #SCMS17

With the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema & Media Studies beginning this week in Chicago, UC Press journals Feminist Media Histories and Film Quarterly are pleased to offer a collection of limited-time free articles on cinema, soundtracks, and film music. Enjoy free access to these articles today through the end of the meeting on March 26, and be sure to meet the editors if you are attending #SCMS17!


Feminist Media Histories

Editor: Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz

SCMS Attendees: Connect with FMH at SCMS 2017!

  • Meet the Editor, Shelley Stamp, to discuss publishing your work in FMH, at the UC Press booth on Friday, 3/24 from 11:00am-12:00pm.
  • Don’t miss the announcement of the winner of the 2016 SCMS Women’s Caucus Graduate Student Writing Prize (co-sponsored by FMH) at the SCMS Women’s Caucus Meeting!

 

In Defense of Voicelessness: The Matter of the Voice and the Films of Leslie Thornto
Pooja Rangan
Summer 2015, Vol. 1 No. 3

Tinkering with Cultural Memory: Gender and the Politics of Synthesizer Historiography
Tara Rodgers
Fall 2015, Vol. 1 No. 4

Backpacking Sounds: Sneha Khanwalkar and the “New” Soundtrack of Bombay Cinema
Shikha Jhingan
Fall 2015, Vol. 1 No. 4

Nené Cascallar’s Thirsty Heart: Gender, Voice, and Desire in a 1950s Argentine Radio Serial
Christine Ehrick
Fall 2015, Vol. 1 No. 4


Film Quarterly

Editor: B. Ruby Rich
Associate Editor: Regina Longo

SCMS attendees: connect with FQ at SCMS 2017!
Associate Editor Regina Longo will be available for meetings at the UC Press booth on Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Just in time for #SCMS17, Film Quarterly is delighted to unveil a newly redesigned website at filmquarterly.org. The refreshed site is fully device responsive and features a stronger visual component with full integration of social media, audio, and video. Full journal content continues to be housed at fq.ucpress.edu, but subscribers and non-subscribers alike are invited to read a curated selection of articles and web-only features on the new filmquarterly.org site.

Given that the annual conferences for both SCMS and the Society for American Music are being held this week, Film Quarterly’s editors would like to call your attention to a selection of articles (all available for free on filmquarterly.org) that should interest attendees of both #SCMS17 and #AmMusic17.

One Step Ahead: A Conversation with Barry Jenkins,
Michael Boyce Gillespie’s interview with the director of the Academy Award-winning Moonlight appears in the newly published Spring issue of Film Quarterly (read online or stop by the UC Press booth at SCMS to peruse a print copy).

Jewish, Queer-ish, Trans, and Completely Revolutionary: Jill Soloway’s Transparent and the New Television
Amy Villarejo
Summer 2016, Vol. 69 No. 4

The Master’s Voice
Claudia Gorbman
Winter 2014, Vol. 68 No. 2

Giving Credit to Paratexts in Top of the Lake and Orange Is the New Black
Kathleen McHugh
Spring 2015, Vol. 68 No. 3

Walking, Talking, Singing, Dancing, Exploding . . . and Silence: Chantal Akerman’s Sountracks
Barbara McBane
Fall 2016, Vol. 70 No. 1


Celebrating Women’s History with Grace Lee Boggs: “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls”

Grace Lee Boggs was a tireless activist for feminism, Black Power, civil rights, environmental justice, and workers’ rights. A recipient of many human rights and lifetime achievement awards, including a place in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Boggs remained a crusader for social justice right up to her 100th year.

In her 2012 book The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, written with Scott Kurashige, Boggs drew from seven decades of activist experience to redefine “revolution” for our times. During the presidential election, co-author Kurashige edited together the following excerpts from the chapter “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls” to share how Boggs continues to motivate us. This post originally appeared on the Grace Lee Boggs Facebook page, and we turn to this excerpt during Women’s National History Month as a reminder of the life and work of an extraordinary activist whose revolutionary legacy continues to inspire fundamental change today.


These are the times that try our souls. Each of us needs to undergo a tremendous philosophical and spiritual transformation. Despite the powers and principals that are bent on objectifying and commodifying us and all our human relationships, the interlocking crises of our time require that we exercise the power within us to make principled choices in our ongoing daily and political lives—choices that will eventually although not inevitably (since there are no guarantees) make a difference.

How are we going to bring about these transformations? Politics as usual—debate and argument, even voting—are no longer sufficient. Our system of representative democracy, created by a great revolution, must now itself become the target of revolutionary change. For too many years counting, vast numbers of people stopped going to the polls, either because they did not care what happened to the country or the world or because they did not believe that voting would make a difference on the profound and interconnected issues that really matter. Now, with a surge of new political interest having give rise to the Obama presidency, we need to inject new meaning into the concept of the “will of the people.”

The will of too many Americans has been to pursue private happiness and take as little responsibility as possible for governing our country. As a result, we have left the job of governing to our elected representatives, even though we know that they serve corporate interests and therefore make decisions that threaten our biosphere and widen the gulf between the rich and poor both in our country and throughout the world. In other words, even though it is readily apparent that our lifestyle choices and the decisions of our representatives are increasing social injustice and endangering our planet, too many of us have wanted to continue going our merry and not-so-merry ways, periodically voting politicians in and out of office but leaving the responsibility for policy decisions to them. Our will has been to act like consumers, not like responsible citizens.

Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History with Grace Lee Boggs: “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls””


Police Intelligence: Linking Teaching, Practice and Research

By Dean Dabney & Richard Tewksbury, authors of Speaking Truth to Power: Confidential Informants and Police Investigations

This guest post is published as part of a series in relation to the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences conference occurring March 21 – 25 in Kansas City, MO. #ACJS2017

In the world of police intelligence the ideas of teaching, practice and research are all critically important for an integrated approach to one of the foundational activities that sets the gears of the criminal justice machine in motion. One powerful and increasingly relied upon component of the law enforcement toolkit for gathering of intelligence is the use of confidential informants. The practice is widely acknowledged but plagued by a dearth of research and teaching about the issue. When most Americans think of confidential informants (or, “snitches”) they immediately envision media-inspired/perpetuated stereotypes and images. Who are informants, how they work, with whom they work, and when, where and why the police employ informants are all issues about which people primarily “learn” via entertainment media. Are those images correct? Maybe, but maybe not. Unfortunately, we have a paucity of research about the topic.

In fact, unfortunately we have very little research on how police gather information, regardless of the means. As scholars we have done a good job examining how the police use information in investigations, prevention programs and solving crimes. But, how information is gathered is largely beyond the view of social scientists. This is especially crucial in the War on Drugs, where information gathering is critical for any and all of our “successes”.

This is because it is a secretive activity, and there is a need for such activities to be at least somewhat undercover for them to be effective. However, that argument can be made for many types of activities, by many types of actors – both inside and outside the criminal justice system. The fact is that we do have knowledge about all kinds of “hidden” aspects of many social activities. In fact, there is no reason we cannot, or should not, study these realms. The question becomes why we do not investigate police intelligence gathering more frequently and in more depth and detail?

The argument that scholars are “kept out” would be easy to make, and many can offer stories of their own efforts to gain access to data but being thwarted in their efforts. But, this is not to say that there is a police conspiracy to keep researchers out. As our own experiences showed, access, and even acceptance, inside the policing world is achievable. The key is to find the right “spot” for making entry. If we find receptive individuals and organizations and we approach the issue in an open and unbiased way, it can be done.

Scholars are not systematically and universally excluded from studying police and their activities from the inside. There are opportunities, but as scholars we need to seek, find and perhaps most importantly nurture relationships that can facilitate our ability to “see it from the inside”. How can we truly “see it from the inside”? In order to do so, we need to actually physically be inside, and then stay there. We need to actually talk to police, community members, and even offenders. We need to meet the people who do the gathering of information, and we need to see them actually do it. We need to understand how the experience feels, how it rewards and frustrates, and what can be done when unanticipated obstacles arise. In short, we need qualitative, ethnographic research on the topic.

The practice of law enforcement intelligence gathering and use of confidential informants is a practice that is common, valuable but severely lacking in research. Without research on the topic we also have nothing to teach about the topic, except for what is common in our entertainment media. In this way the issue of police intelligence and use of confidential informants is a prime example of the need to integrate teaching, practice and research. As we stand now without that integration – and without quality ethnographic investigations — we are left with no knowledge, and no promises of gaining knowledge to teach about a practice. Only with the dedication of pioneering scholars will we be able to overcome our dearth of knowledge and learn how to better manage our law enforcement practices.

See Dean Dabney at: ACJS’s Author Meets Critic Session
Wednesday, March 22nd
11:00 am to 12:15 pm
Muehlebach Tower: Floor Trianon Level – Lido

Moderator:
Rod Brunson, Rutgers University

Critics:
Scott Decker, Arizona State University
William Wells, Sam Houston State University


Dean A. Dabney is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University.

Richard Tewksbury is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville.

 


Save 40% with UC Press during the 2017 Academy of Criminal Justice Annual Meeting

The 2017 ACJS Annual Meeting meeting convenes March 21 – 25 in Kansas City, MO.

Visit Booth #300 to see the latest UC Press titles in Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Law and Society. Books focus on linking the teaching, practice, and research on issues such as incarceration, corrections, policing, gender, immigration, school to prison pipeline, and much more. Senior Editor Maura Roessner wiil be in attendance if you’d like to learn more about working with her to become a UC Press textbook author or reviewer.

Read the latest blog posts from our authors.

And save 40% online with discount code 16E6715, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes. The discount code expires April 5, 2017.


Finding Women in the State

by Wang Zheng, author of Finding Women in the State: A Socialist Feminist Revolution in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1964

This is our final guest post published in conjunction with the Association for Asian Studies conference in Toronto. Thank you for reading!

Hundreds and thousands of Chinese women from diverse backgrounds had joined the Communist Revolution between the early 1920s and late 1940s. Like many of their male comrades, many Communist women had died in battlefields or on execution grounds in their fight against the warlords, Japanese fascists, and Nationalist government. When the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war in 1949, there were five hundred and thirty thousands women members in the CCP who now became the state power holder. Except for a few books in English presenting portraits of Chinese Communist women who endured tremendous hardship in the vicissitudes of the revolutionary journey, these women who had been an important part of the epic of the Communist Revolution curiously vanished in scholarship examining the CCP’s leadership in building a socialist country.

Parallel to the absence of Communist women in scholarship in and outside China have been the dominant narratives of how the party-state did or did not liberate Chinese women. Accomplishments or failures in advancing women’s equal rights and social economic progress have been unfailingly attributed to a monolithic abstract entity – the party-state, a patriarch paradoxically adopting many pro-women policies in the socialist period. If feminist scholars in the English speaking world since the 1980s have shown logical coherence in criticizing the Chinese patriarchal state’s failure to fulfill its revolutionary promise of women’s liberation, scholars in post-socialist China have articulated many contradictory statements without historical research, from “Chinese women have been the most liberated in the world,” to “a crime of Maoist women’s liberation was to have masculinized Chinese women.”

Based on archival research and interviews of Communist women who were officials of the socialist state at various administrative levels, my book reveals the concealed and erased history of socialist state feminists’ endeavors to materialize their visions of socialist revolution. Continuing an anti-feudalist New Culture agenda, state feminists operated in diverse fields including the film industry to transform patriarchal cultural norms and promote gender equality laws, discourse, and practices. Their conscious combat against sexism in and outside the CCP constituted a contentious “gender line” of struggle within the power structure of the Party. Excavating a hidden feminist history in the Chinese socialist revolution, my book presents the first scholarly effort to investigate the high politics of the CCP and examines the demise of a socialist revolution from a gender perspective. I also raise critical questions of methodology in scholarship dealing with specific historical moments but without a historical approach.


Wang Zheng is Professor of Women’s Studies and History and Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Women in the Chinese Enlightenment: Oral and Textual Histories and the coeditor of From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society, Translating Feminisms in China,  and Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era.