Secular Surge: A New Fault Line in American Politics, David E. Campbell, Geoffrey C. Layman and John C. Green (Cambridge University Press). The largest “religious” group in the United States is the “nones” — those with no religious affiliation — and it’s growing. That secular surge “has the capacity for deepening an existing political fault line in American politics between Religionists and Secularists,” write Campbell, the Packey Dee Professor of American Democracy; Layman, a professor of political science; and Green, a professor at the University of Akron. Drawing heavily on original research, Secular Surge explores the political causes and potential consequences of this shift in our national identity.
UNgrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), Susan D. Blum (West Virginia University Press). Would students learn more and retain knowledge better if they weren’t forced to vie for grades? In UNgrading — edited by Blum, a professor of anthropology — 15 educators write about their own experiences of going gradeless. Based on detailed research, the volume describes how teachers who want to try a gradeless approach might proceed, outlining the challenges they’re likely to encounter and the rewards they might discover.
Black Gold and Blackmail: Oil and Great Power Politics, Rosemary A. Kelanic (Cornell University Press). From the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (partly spurred by an oil embargo) to the oil crises of the 1970s to today, petroleum has long been an object of international intrigue. Focusing on oil’s coercive potential, Kelanic, an assistant professor of political science, explains why great powers have long feared dependence on imported oil, adopting different strategies to reduce their vulnerability while protecting their access from possible disruptions.