Taner Akçam Announced Co-Winner of 2013 Albert Hourani Book Award

Taner Akçam – The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire
Co-Winner of the 2013 Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies Association

The Albert Hourani Book Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding publishing in Middle East studies. To see all of the winners from the Middle East Studies Association, click here.

The Young Turks' Crime against HumanityIntroducing new evidence from more than 600 secret Ottoman documents, this book demonstrates in unprecedented detail that the Armenian Genocide and the expulsion of Greeks from the late Ottoman Empire resulted from an official effort to rid the empire of its Christian subjects. Presenting these previously inaccessible documents along with expert context and analysis, Taner Akçam’s most authoritative work to date goes deep inside the bureaucratic machinery of Ottoman Turkey to show how a dying empire embraced genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Although the deportation and killing of Armenians was internationally condemned in 1915 as a “crime against humanity and civilization,” the Ottoman government initiated a policy of denial that is still maintained by the Turkish Republic. The case for Turkey’s “official history” rests on documents from the Ottoman imperial archives, to which access has been heavily restricted until recently. It is this very source that Akçam now uses to overturn the official narrative.

The documents presented here attest to a late-Ottoman policy of Turkification, the goal of which was no less than the radical demographic transformation of Anatolia. To that end, about one-third of Anatolia’s 15 million people were displaced, deported, expelled, or massacred, destroying the ethno-religious diversity of an ancient cultural crossroads of East and West, and paving the way for the Turkish Republic.

By uncovering the central roles played by demographic engineering and assimilation in the Armenian Genocide, this book will fundamentally change how this crime is understood and show that physical destruction is not the only aspect of the genocidal process.

Taner Akçam, the first scholar of Turkish origin to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, holds the Kaloosdian and Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. His many books include A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books).

Thomas Blom Hansen a Finalist for the 2013 Herskovits Award

Thomas Blom Hansen Melancholia of Freedom: Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa
Finalist for the 2013 Melville J. Herskovits Award, African Studies Association

The African Studies Association presents the Herskovits Award to the author of the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year. The winner of the Herskovits Award is announced each year at the ASA Annual Meeting, where he or she receives an honorarium of $500.  The ceremony will take place in 2013 on November 23rd in Baltimore, MD.

For more information about the award, click here.

Melancholia of Freedom In this book, Thomas Blom Hansen offers an in-depth analysis of the uncertainties, dreams, and anxieties that have accompanied postapartheid freedoms in Chatsworth, a formerly Indian township in Durban. Exploring five decades of township life, Hansen tells the stories of ordinary Indians whose lives were racialized and framed by the township, and how these residents domesticated and inhabited this urban space and its institutions, during apartheid and after.

Hansen demonstrates the complex and ambivalent nature of ordinary township life. While the ideology of apartheid was widely rejected, its practical institutions, from urban planning to houses, schools, and religious spaces, were embraced in order to remake the community. Hansen describes how the racial segmentation of South African society still informs daily life, notions of race, personhood, morality, and religious ethics. He also demonstrates the force of global religious imaginings that promise a universal and inclusive community amid uncertain lives and futures in the postapartheid nation-state.

Thomas Blom Hansen is professor of anthropology and the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of South Asian Studies at Stanford University, where he also directs the Center for South Asia. His books include The Saffron Wave and Wages of Violence.

Amartya Sen on the role of the State in the Indian economy (Live Mint video)

LiveMint posted this video of Amartya Sen addressing the role of the State in improving economic conditions in India. This video is from the launch of An Uncertain Glory, co-authored by Sen and Jean Drèze.

Amartya Sen on the Role of the Middle Class (Live Mint video)

LiveMint posted this video of Amartya Sen addressing the role of the Middle Class in the Indian Economy. This video is from the launch of An Uncertain Glory, co-authored by Sen and Jean Drèze.

Video from the Indian launch of An Uncertain Glory by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze


An Uncertain Glory
India and its Contradictions
Jean Drèze & Amartya Sen

Read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s10175.pdf


40 years later, the Chagossians are still not home, writes David Vine

j9441[1]David Vine, author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, writes about the continuing saga of the Chagossians at the Huffington Post. Deported to pave the way for a US military base on Diego Garcia, the Chagossians still endure poverty and homesickness or sagren. To learn more about the history and current activities of Diego Garcia, read this sample from from Vine’s book.


This month marks the fortieth anniversary of the final deportations, when the last boatload of Chagossians arrived 1,200 miles from their homes, on the western Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles. In those same forty years, the base on British-controlled Diego Garcia helped launch the Afghan and Iraq wars and was part of the CIA’s secret “rendition” program for captured terrorist suspects.

The history of the base, which the U.S. military calls the “Footprint of Freedom,” dates to the 1950s and 1960s. By then, Chagossians had been living in the previously uninhabited Chagos islands for almost 200 years, since their ancestors arrived as enslaved Africans and indentured Indians. In 1965, after years of secret negotiations, Britain agreed to separate Chagos from colonial Mauritius (contravening UN decolonization rules) to create a new colony, the British Indian Ocean Territory. In a secret 1966 agreement, Britain gave U.S. officials base rights on Diego Garcia and agreed to take those “administrative measures” necessary to remove the nearly 2,000 Chagossians in exchange for $14 million in secret U.S. payments.

Beginning in 1968, any Chagossians who left Chagos for medical treatment or regular vacations in Mauritius were barred from returning home, marooning them often without family members and almost all their possessions. British officials soon began restricting food and medical supplies to Chagos. Anglo-American officials designed a public relations plan aimed at, as one British bureaucrat said, “maintaining the fiction” that Chagossians were migrant laborers rather than a people with roots in Chagos for five generations or more. Another British official called them “Tarzans” and “Man Fridays.”

In 1971, the U.S. Navy’s highest-ranking admiral, Elmo Zumwalt, issued the final deportation order in a three-word memo ringing of Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz:

“Absolutely must go.”


Read more at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-vine/forty-years-of-heartbreak_b_3344190.html

PUP Author Geoffrey Robinson in Documentary about East Timor

This weekend the acclaimed documentary Alias Ruby Blade will premiere at the Tribeca film festival. The documentary unravels the history behind the new nation in East Timor after its struggle for independence. The documentary features PUP author Geoffrey Robinson who has written a book about East Timor. Robinson authored “If you Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor. For showtime information click here.

Read a review for the documentary from This Week in New York below.

Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution is an intimate, involving documentary that goes behind the scenes of East Timor’s battle for independence, structured like a gripping thriller with a decidedly personal edge. In 1991, Australian Kirsty Sword went to East Timor as part of a team posing as tourists while actually making a secret film about the embattled Indonesian island. Almost immediately, the Australian teacher and activist found herself right in the middle of the violent struggle as bullets flew all around her and her team, but they kept the cameras rolling, compiling amazing footage that helped alert the world as to what was happening there. Sword soon became a courier for the revolution, adopting the spy name Ruby Blade and smuggling in notes and, eventually, electronic equipment to jailed resistance leader Kay Rala “Xanana” Gusmão, who was serving a life sentence in Jakarta’s Cipinang Prison. Armed with a camera, Sword took remarkable footage during those years, most of which has never before been shown to the public; she opened up her archives for husband-and-wife documentarians Tanya Ager Meillier and Alex Meillier and speaks extensively with them in the film, relating her involvement with the independence movement — which included falling in love with the charismatic Xanana. The Meilliers also talk with such key resistance fighters as Nobel Peace Prize winner José Ramos-Horta and diplomat Constancio Pinto as well as historian and human rights activist Geoffrey Robinson and Inside Indonesia editor Pat Walsh, who share their stories about the Indonesian occupation that lasted from 1975 to 1999, followed by a UN-sponsored referendum for independence that led to yet more horrors. But Sword, who narrates much of the film, and Xanana, who appears primarily in archival footage and photographs, never gave up their dream of a free, democratic East Timor while also considering a life together. As much as Alias Ruby Blade delves into the political situation in East Timor, it’s really about how a young, strong woman followed her heart and made a difference in a faraway part of the globe. Alias Ruby Blade will have its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it’s part of the Documentary Competition. (By the way, the less you know about how things turned out in East Timor, the more exciting the film is, so don’t read up on it before going to one of the four screenings.)

Learn more about the film here.

Ayesha Jalal at University of Texas Austin today

Jalal_PityofPartitionRenowned historian Ayesha Jalal will visit the Hindi Urdu Flagship at University of Texas Austin today to launch her new book The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide. Jalal will give a seminar on her book at 3.30pm on April 11 in the Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118. The seminar is free and open to the public.

For details, please check out the Hindi Urdu Flagship site: http://hindiurduflagship.org/2013/04/renowned-historian-ayesha-jalal-to-launch-new-book-at-huf/

Circle of Animals, Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei on Princeton University Campus

Hope you have a chance to see the heads while they are on display outside of the Woodrow Wilson School. They really are impressive. We tracked their arrival and assembly many months ago and are proud to publish Weiwei-isms, too.

Ai WeiWei_Weiwei-isms

Justin Lin Lectures on his Book and More

In late December Justin Lin, the first non-westerner to be chief economist of the World Bank and the author of the book The Quest for Prosperity: How Developing Economies Can Take Off, gave two public lectures in the UK. During his lectures at Overseas Development Institute and London School of Economics, Lin discussed his thoughts on the state of China, the economy, and his book.

You can see both of his lectures here:

Ai Weiwei releases “How to Scientifically Remove a Shiny Screw with Chinese Characteristics from a Moving Vehicle in Eighteen Turns”

We have just seen early copies of Weiwei-isms. It is a terrific little book and would make a great stocking stuffer for fans of Ai Weiwei or those who appreciate bons mots on art, human rights, the digital revolution, and countless other subjects.

How many university press authors would do this? Ai Weiwei rocks Gangnam style moves in new video.


“The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It’s as simple as that.”

–Ai Weiwei, “China’s censorship can never defeat the internet,” The Guardian, April 15, 2012


Gangnam style has been taking over the world in recent weeks so it isn’t too surprising that it’s finally filtered into the university press world. The gauntlet has now been thrown down in this delightful homage to pop culture by Ai Weiwei and friends. Who among our authors can top it?

We are going to have a lot of fun publishing Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei in a few weeks. To read up on the book, which was a late addition to our fall 2012 catalog, please click through the book’s page.




Ai Weiwei

Edited by Larry Warsh