UW News

October 29, 2018

UW books in brief: Postwar Japan, American Indian businesses, dictatorship to democracy — and more

UW News

Collage illustration for UW Books in Brief, Oct. 29, 2018


Recent notable books by University of Washington faculty members study politics and culture in post-World War II Japan, explore regime change, nonprofit management, documents from the ancient world and more.

‘Japan in the American Century” explores postwar relations, current geopolitical changes

After the United States ended World War II by dropping atomic weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it then conducted “the most intrusive international reconstruction of another nation in modern history,” according to a new book by Kenneth Pyle, professor emeritus at the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies. Only now, amid geopolitical changes of the 21st century, is Japan pulling free from American dominance and constraints placed on it after the war.

Japan in the American Century,” published this month by Harvard University Press, examines how Japan, with its conservative heritage, responded to the imposition of a new liberal order. The book offers a thoughtful history of the now-changing relationship between the two nations.

“The price Japan paid to end the occupation was a Cold War alliance with the United States that ensured America’s dominance in the region,” Pyle writes. “Still traumatized by its wartime experience, Japan developed a grand strategy of dependence on U.S. security guarantees so that the nation could concentrate on economic growth.” Meanwhile, he adds, Japan “reworked the American reforms” to fit its own cultural and economic circumstances and social institutions.

Today that postwar world is in retreat, Pyle argues, and Japan is changing its foreign policy, “returning to an activist, independent role in global politics not seen since 1945” — and that has repercussion for its continuing relations with the U.S. and its role in Asian geopolitics.

The book distills a lifetime of work on Japan and the U.S. by Pyle, a former director of the Jackson School, who joined the UW in 1964. “The American Century,” referring to global political, economic and cultural dominance by the United States, is a term famously coined by Henry Luce, publisher of Life, Time and Fortune magazines, in a Life editorial in 1941.

To learn more, contact kbp@uw.edu.

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When authoritarianism becomes democracy: New boss, same as the old boss?

When authoritarian governments transition to democracy, sometimes those running the old system are the ones creating the new system — and design it to their own advantage. So argues UW political scientist Victor Menaldo, co-author of the book “Authoritarianism and the Elite Origins of Democracy,” published this summer by Cambridge University Press. He wrote the book with Michael Albertus of the University of Chicago.

“We examine … how does this process occur and what are the consequences?” Menaldo, associate professor of political science, said in an interview posted on the Political Science Department website. “Since World War 2, the outgoing authoritarian regime has drafted the new democratic constitution in over two-thirds of the countries that have made this transition.” Menaldo and Albertus studied such transitions globally across two centuries.

“There are many ways [for outgoing regimes] to do this,” Menaldo said. “One is to require a supermajority for future amendments to the constitution they have written. Others include barriers to voting, malapportionment, and giving veto power to unelected political bodies in which elites from the old guard are over-represented.”

Some of this may have a familiar ring to those interested in American history. Though the book is not about the United States, Menaldo said, the findings are consistent with a longstanding argument about the U.S. Constitution and its authors — that they were a small elite group who in writing the document partly protected their own interests.

“The United States continues to hold indirect elections for the presidency, and its federal system long protected subnational enclaves in which a majority of citizens in some states were deprived of basic rights,” Menaldo said.

To learn more, contact Menaldo at vmenaldo@uw.edu.

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Principles, practices of American Indian business

American Indian business is booming overall in recent years, but not thriving as much on reservations, notes a new book co-edited by Deanna M. Kennedy, associate professor in the UW Bothell School of Business titled “American Indian Business: Principles and Practices.”

Despite healthy growth in American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses, they are largely absent from reservations “and Native Americans own private businesses at the lowest rate per capita for any ethnic or racial group in the United States,” say notes from the publisher, University of Washington Press.

“Many Indigenous entrepreneurs face unique cultural and practical challenges in starting, locating, and operating a business, from a perceived lack of a culture of entrepreneurship and a suspicion of capitalism to the difficulty of borrowing startup funds when real estate is held in trust and cannot be used as collateral.”

The book discusses the history and state of such businesses as well as business practices and education. It ranges “from early trading posts to today’s casino boom.”

A review in Native News Net praised the book as “so well done that it can be used by higher education institutions to acquaint students on how to better understand doing business in Indian Country.”

Kennedy, a member of the Cherokee Nation, edited the book with Charles F. Harrington of the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Amy Klemm Verbos of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Daniel Stewart of Gonzaga University, Joseph Scott-Gladstone of the University of New Haven and Gavin Clarkson of New Mexico State University.

To learn more, contact Kennedy at 425-352-5321 or deannak@uw.edu.

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Evans School’s Mary Kay Gugerty honored for book on nonprofits management, ‘The Goldilocks Challenge’

Mary Kay Gugerty,  professor in the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, has been announced the recipient of the 2018 Terry McAdam Book Award from the Alliance for Nonprofit Management for her book, “The Goldilocks Challenge: Right-Fit Evidence for the Social Sector.” The book, which Gugerty wrote with Dean Karlan of Northwestern University, was published this year by Oxford University Press.

The award “highlights the very best thinking in management, governance and capacity-building, and helps expose practitioners to new knowledge and approaches in the field,” according to the group’s website. Gugerty is the Nancy Bell Evans Professor of Nonprofit Management in the Evans School, and faculty director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy.

The book is about “measuring impact,” a statement from the reviewing committee says. “We all want to do it, know we have to do it … and are all too often frustrated by one-size-fits-all expectations of how to do it. ‘The Goldilocks Challenge’ offers a solution: an impact measurement framework that helps organizations decide what elements they should monitor and measure.” That framework is based on having data that is at once credible, actionable, responsible and transportable.

To learn more, contact Gugerty at 206-221-4599 or gugerty@uw.edu.

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Rethinking post-World War II art, politics in Japan

In a new cultural history of post-World War II Japan, Justin Jesty, UW associate professor of Asian languages and literature, explores art and politics — and consolidations of political and cultural life — in the years leading to the Cold War. His new book “Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan,” was published in September by Cornell University Press.

Jesty focuses on social realists on the radical left who, “hoped to wed their art with anti-capitalist and anti-war activism, a liberal art education movement whose focus on the child inspired innovation in documentary film, and a regional avant-garde group split between ambition and local loyalty.”

The book, Jesty writes, has the two main goals, the first being to reframe that history and its relevance to the present. The second is to show a way of studying the relationship between art and politics that views art as a mode of intervention “but insists artistic intervention move beyond the idea that the artwork of artist unilaterally authors political significance, to trace how creations and expressive acts may (or may not) actually engage the terms of shared meaning and value.”

To learn more, contact Jesty at jestyj@uw.edu or visit his site at Academia.edu.

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Exploring India’s ‘political economy of electricity’

Electricity is critical to India’s continued growth and economic health, but despite decades of reform the country remains unable to provide high-quality and affordable energy for all. A new book co-edited by Sunila S. Kale, an associate professor in the Jackson School, explores these issues. “Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States” was published earlier this year by Oxford University Press.

The book tracks power sectors in 15 states in India, giving an analysis of their political economy of electricity. A historically grounded study of the country’s political economy, the book suggests, helps better understand the past and inform new reforms to “improve sectoral outcomes and generate political rewards.”

Kale’s co-editors were Navroz K. Dubash of India’s Centre for Policy Research and Ranjit Bharvirkar of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a multinational nonprofit organization. Kale is also director of the Jackson School’s South Asia Center and chair of its South Asia Studies Program.

To learn more, contact Kale at 206-221-4852 or kale@uw.edu

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Book chapter by Rajesh Rao offers new view of ancient Indus script

Rajesh Rao, UW professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, has written an article about the Indus script that will appear in the book “Walking with the Unicorn: Social Organization and Material Culture in Ancient South Asia.” The Indus script, also known as the Harappan script, is one of the last major undeciphered scripts of the ancient world. The article can be downloaded here.

The book celebrates the contributions to South Asian archaeology of Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin. Rao’s article, focusing on a set of miniature tablets discovered by Kenoyer in 1997, sets forth the “potentially provocative” conclusion that such stamps may have been used as a sort of currency in a barter-based economy.

“Walking with the Unicorn” will be published Oct. 30 by Archaeopress Publishing. Rao’s earlier work on the Indus script was described in UW News articles in April and August of 2009. Rao is the Cherng Jia and Elizabeth Yun Hwang Endowed Professor of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering.

To learn more, contact Rao at rao@cs.washington.edu.