Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tamara Venit Shelton's "Herbs and Roots"

Tamara Venit Shelton is associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College and author of A Squatter’s Republic: Land and the Politics of Monopoly in California, 1850–1900.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Herbs and Roots: A History of Chinese Doctors in the American Medical Marketplace, and reported the following:
On page 99 of Herbs and Roots, readers will find a discussion of how Chinese herbalists practicing in the late nineteenth-century United States borrowed advertising strategies from makers of proprietary (or patent) medicines. These strategies included the invocation of the “magical” and “miraculous.” Chinese herbalists promised to do what regular physicians could not: to cure the seemingly incurable with their remedies. What distinguished the advertising strategies of the Chinese from other makers of patent medicines was the former’s pairing of the “miracle cure” with the exoticism of the “Orient.” Page 99 begins to explain how Chinese herbalists self-Orientalized in their appeals to non-Chinese patients. They capitalized on their American patients’ racialized expectations of Asian alterity to articulate the superiority of their therapies over those of scientific medicine and to compete in the medical marketplace.

The Page 99 Test works very well for my book. Although Herbs and Roots chronicles a much longer history of traditional Chinese medicine in the United States and the lived experiences of its practitioners, the book’s principal concern is with the moment described on page 99: what historians call the “long Progressive Era,” the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this era, Chinese herbalists became increasingly active in the American medical marketplace. As Chinese Exclusion shrank their co-ethnic clientele, Chinese herbalists reached out to new, non-Chinese patients, often via advertising in English- and Spanish-language media as described on page 99. This advertising tended to rely on easily recognizable, Orientalist stereotypes of the Chinese as mystical and otherworldly. The references to the “miraculous” were just the tip of the iceberg. The middle section of the book goes on to explore the varied and sometimes contradictory ways that Chinese herbalists repurposed the racist tropes used against them. They profited from their own social and professional marginalization and the perpetuation of anti-Chinese racism. The book concludes with an exploration of the persistence of these marketing strategies into our time and their implications for the place of traditional Chinese therapies in the American health care system.
Learn more about Herbs and Roots at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Larry Wolff's "Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe"

Larry Wolff is Silver Professor of European History at New York University, Executive Director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and Co-Director of NYU Florence.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe, and reported the following:
On Page 99 of Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe, Wilson confronts the imminent collapse of the Habsburg monarchy at the beginning of November 1918, with World War One about to end. This is, in fact, a pivotal moment in my book, and a pivotal moment in European history. For Eastern Europe it represents the moment at which the prewar map of multinational empires was about to give way to the new twentieth-century map of interlocking national states. Wilson, at the Paris Peace Conference, would preside over this geopolitical transformation.

Though Wilson had advocated “autonomous development” for the peoples of Austria-Hungary as early as the Fourteen Points Speech of January 1918, he was hesitant to endorse the abolition of the Habsburg monarchy until the very end of the war. What I’m trying to understand in my book is how Wilson conceived of the whole region of Eastern Europe: his “mental mapping” of this region which he would never visit, but which he would fundamentally redesign through the peacemaking process. From 1917, when America entered the war, Wilson quickly accumulated knowledge and opinions, impressions and prejudices, about a region that had been hitherto of little interest to him, though many of the nations of Eastern Europe had representative immigrant groups in the United States. On Page 99, on November 5, 1918, Wilson was having a personal message to the nations of Austria-Hungary distributed from Switzerland, addressed to the peoples who were about to achieve “liberation from the yoke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.” While Wilson was always inimical to the Ottoman empire, and enthusiastic about seeing it disappear from the map, he only persuaded himself to accept the abolition of the Habsburg empire by convincing himself that its peoples were living under a “yoke,” that they were “enslaved” as he sometimes said (an extreme overstatement), that he was fighting a war for their “liberation,” even their “emancipation.” In short Wilson—whose presidency coincided with the building of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington— convinced himself that he was fighting a Lincolnesque war for the emancipation of enslaved peoples: in Eastern Europe. At the same time, he came to feel that he himself possessed a special sensitivity to those peoples and their political hopes and dreams, and that he could speak to them directly, as he did in his personal message of November 5, 1918, promising “to assist the liberated peoples of the world to establish themselves in genuine freedom.” Wilson’s sense of his own mission in Eastern Europe was almost messianic in his conviction that he was leading these peoples into the promised land of freedom; his actual work at the peace conference, however, involved translating that messianic commitment into a geopolitical settlement. He would help to produce the modern map of interlocking national states in Eastern Europe, states that he would never visit, but where he would be long remembered. The statue of Wilson at the train station in Prague, erected after World War One, was taken down by the Nazis after 1939— but was returned to its prominent pedestal as recently as 2011.
Visit Larry Wolff's NYU faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: The Idea of Galicia.

The Page 99 Test: The Singing Turk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 27, 2020

Philip G. Schrag's "Baby Jails"

Philip G. Schrag is the Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law at Georgetown University and the author or coauthor of sixteen books, including Asylum Denied.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Baby Jails is representative of the book, which relates the 35-year history of the legal and political effort to stop the U.S. government from jailing children who have fled from persecution and torture in their home countries to seek safety in America. Page 99 deals with the first “baby jail,” the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center in Texas, a brainchild of the George W. Bush administration which was operated by a private prison company. It housed migrant mothers and children, sometimes for more than a year, while they awaited hearings on their asylum claims in overburdened immigration courts. When Barbara Hines, who directed the immigration law clinic at the University of Texas, heard about the horrific conditions for children in Hutto, she called in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The case was assigned to federal judge Sam Sparks. Page 99 describes the hard time that Sparks gave to both Vanita Gupta, the ACLU lawyer, and to Victor Lawrence, who represented ICE.

Baby Jails starts with the now-famous Flores case. Jennie Flores from El Salvador was jailed during the Reagan administration. The class action case that she brought, seeking to end the arbitrary detention of children, went to the Supreme Court in 1993, but even though the plaintiffs lost in the high court, the Flores case continues to this day. For years, the government repeatedly violated court orders in the case that the Supreme Court had left in place, and in 1997 the Clinton administration settled with the plaintiffs. Thereafter, violations of the Flores settlement agreement continued to occur. The book devotes several chapters to the battle over Hutto, the Obama administration’s closing of that facility in 2009, and its policy reversal in 2014, when it authorized two other large family detention centers. In 2015, federal courts ruled that the Flores settlement barred the government from detaining children in those centers for more than twenty days. But 50 pages toward the end of the book reveal the Trump administration’s determined efforts to overturn the Flores settlement by litigation, by asking Congress to pass a new law, and by issuing a new regulation. Frustrated by its lack of success by all of those means, it tried the tactic of separating families in 2018, which turned into what was probably the biggest domestic policy debacle of the Trump presidency.

Baby Jails is based on court records, journalistic accounts, human rights reports, and the author’s interviews with many of the people who were involved in the controversy over the years. It concludes with recommendations for humanitarian treatment of child refugees while they await hearings to assess their claims for protection.
Learn more about Baby Jails at the University of California Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Thomas Cole's "Old Man Country"

Thomas R. Cole is the McGovern Chair and Director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. His work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, and PBS. Cole has served as an advisor to the President's Council on Bioethics and the United Nations NGO Committee on Ageing. His book The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is Senior Editor of The Oxford Book of Aging, which The New Yorker cited as one of the most memorable books of the year. Cole's book No Color Is My Kind: the Life of Eldrewey Stearns and the Desegregation of Houston (1997) was adapted into the film, The Strange Demise of Jim Crow, which was broadcast nationally on over 60 PBS stations. In 2007, he co-produced Stroke: Conversations and Explanations, a prize-winning film about the invisible world of stroke survivors.

Cole applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders, and reported the following:
From page 99:
My tears are the closest thing I know to transcendence—the emotional experience of being swept up by a benevolent force beyond my thinking self. The music is a prayer filled with love. It is thrilling, expansive, hopeful.

I don’t think Downs yearns for God. I think he finds God in the purity of the highest forms of music and the most advanced forms of physics. The Greeks considered music to be a branch of physics; they showed us that harmony arises out of numerical ratios of sound waves. Instruments and voices produce vibrations that we hear as music--music that bursts into beauty and then fades silently into the universe. Listening to Downs makes me think about the beauty of aging, the beauty of each of us bursting into life and fading away after our lives have run their course.

When I ask Downs to talk about his own experience of deep old age, he talks about masculinity, particularly the challenge of reconciling manhood with physical decline. “Are you less of a man now than you were 30 years ago?”

“Well, it depends on what category you want to say,” Downs replies. “Sexually, I’m much less of a man. Athletically, I’m much less of a man. Intellectually, I think I’m more of a man than I was then, in what I pursue and what I enjoy and take pleasure from.” At the same time, he believes that he is more accepting of being an old man than when he was in his sixties:
It bothered me when—I bet I was not quite 60—when somebody wanted to help me out of a car. I was offended. Why would they think I needed help? It doesn’t bother me now that people think of me as old, because I am, and it is comfortable for me.
Throughout his career, Downs has challenged ageism—stereotypes of and prejudice against old people, along with discrimination in employment, inadequate and demeaning nursing home care, and a general cultural story of aging as decline. The PBS program Over Easy, which won an Emmy in 1981, set out Downs’ critique of ageism by emphasizing the uniqueness and value of all individuals, regardless of age. In 1979, when he was a mere child of 58, Downs published Thirty Dirty Lies about Old, an important popular book challenging pervasive negative stereotypes about aging and old people. Downs takes on such “lies” as: “Old Age is an Illness;” “Old people have no interest in sex;” “Intelligence declines with Age;” “You can’t do anything about getting old;” “Older people stand little chance in a country that accents youth.” Downs characterized these “lies” as sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious, sometimes well-meaning and sometimes vicious.

“If we hang around long enough,” he says, “loose lies will victimize all of us.” In the end, Downs argues, it is a mistake to think that we have
This page gives a good sense of how it feels to read the book. It offers a good example of my encounter with one elder, Hugh Downs. It doesn’t provide a view of the book as a whole.

Old Man Country explores how twelve men face (or faced) the challenges of living a good old age. All who appear in this volume are highly accomplished. Some are friends. Some are strangers. Some are famous: Paul Volcker, the former head of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Reagan and Carter; Denton Cooley, the first surgeon to implant an artificial heart into a human being; Ram Dass, his generation’s foremost American teacher of Eastern Spirituality; and Hugh Downs, veteran TV broadcaster and creator of The Today Show.

The excerpt on Page 99 offers a glimpse of Downs’s successful, wide-ranging career. Over the course of this dizzying career—he worked in a puppet show, a soap opera, a game show, and hosted The Today Show from 1962-1971—he grew up professionally at the same time television emerged as a mass medium. As news programs sprouted up, he shaped them by developing his signature persona as a calm, thoughtful, and reassuring television presence. His smooth and affable demeanor secured his place as one of the most trusted news people in American television.

Before the interview, I had no idea that Downs was a polymath and tremendous adventurer whose career took him all over the world. In 1982, to cite just one example, he learned that scientists had determined more precisely the location of the earth’s axis at the South Pole and were traveling to mark the new spot. Downs contacted the head of the National Science Foundation and asked to accompany the team to Antarctica. On December 10, at 6:10 PM, he picked up the fifteen-foot bamboo pole (the South Pole is literally marked by a pole) and planted it in the correct position.

As the excerpt from Downs also shows, Old Man Country explores four basic questions that every man faces as he moves into the last stage of life: Am I Still a Man? Do I Still Matter? What is the Meaning of My Life? Am I Loved? The book suggests that, in deep old age, men (and women) can flourish if they have good and positive answers.
Visit Thomas Cole's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Shai M. Dromi's "Above the Fray"

Shai M. Dromi is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, where he teaches courses in the areas of organizations, global and transnational sociology, and cultural sociology.

Dromi applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Above the Fray: The Red Cross and the Making of the Humanitarian NGO Sector, and reported the following:
Readers opening Above the Fray to page 99 will encounter a full-page reproduction of a sketch that appeared in The Sunday News Tribune in 1898. It depicts a smiling woman in nurse’s uniform pushing a wheelchair with a child seated. A young girl—perhaps 10 or 12 years old—holds the chair for support as she hobbles along on a crutch. The caption reads: “Peace hath her duties no less than war – A Red Cross nurse off duty, passing her vacation at New York’s seaside home for children.”

While browsers flipping to page 99 would only get a partial idea of the whole work, they would be touching on one of the central themes in the book: the honor that involvement in nineteenth-century Red Cross activities conferred on volunteers. The Red Cross Movement, which was established in 1863 as a network of volunteer aid societies for the war wounded, gained considerable international standing over the late-nineteenth-century. It popularized the image of the humanitarian aid worker as a courageous and impartial figure who represents common human (implicitly Christian) values in the face of rampant warfare. Red Cross societies offered volunteers significant symbolic rewards, such as medals and news coverage, which appealed in particular to women. While barred from front line military service, women found in Red Cross societies an alternate route to the battlefield. While this route confined women volunteers to caring, emotional duties in line with gender expectations at the time, it also allowed them to receive honors and social distinction that resembled those of veterans. With the influx of volunteers and donations, many Red Cross societies expanded their work from battlefield relief to other activities such as caring for the sick and for orphans at home.

The rapid expansion in size and influence of the humanitarian sector is explained, in part, by the way multiple types of professionals—nurses, journalists, international lawyers—leveraged their involvement in humanitarian activities to reap social rewards. This, in turn, reinforced the prestige of humanitarian organizations and drew additional volunteers and donations. Media depictions—such as the one on page 99—demonstrate the honorable social standing a Red Cross nurse could gain at the time, and the public interest in this then-new sector.
Visit Shai M. Dromi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 24, 2020

Maxine Eichner's "The Free-Market Family"

Maxine Eichner is the Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University Of North Carolina School Of Law. She is the author of The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals.

Eichner applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, The Free-Market Family: How the Market Crushed the American Dream (and How It Can Be Restored), and reported the following:
A reader of page 99 of my book would read a critical part – but only a part – of the story I tell in The Free-Market Family about how the US economy is failing American families. Page 99 summarizes research showing the importance to newborns of having a parent stay home during their first year:
[W]e know that parents taking longer paid leaves of up to a year reduce children’s death rates, and that leaves beyond six months improve mothers’ mental health, which leads to better parenting. Furthermore, significant research suggests that children suffer small but significant cognitive setbacks when parents return to work before a child reaches one year. Based on the incomplete knowledge we have today, the least risky course, and the one that gives children their best chance to thrive, is to allow a parent to take that first year off.
Empirical research like this is a key part of my book. But a reader who read only page 99 would miss what the book does with this research: namely, it considers how well our US system, which largely expects families to get what they need through the market, does in getting families the resources they need to thrive compared to the systems of most other wealthy countries, which take a more active role in supporting families.

In this inquiry, Free-Market Family shows that our system does a disastrous job in supporting US families. That’s true for the parental leave issue addressed on page 99: few US children have a parent stay at home with them during their first year, while almost all children in many other wealthy countries do. And far fewer US children get other important conditions we know serve children best, including high-quality daycare and prekindergarten, and regular loving care and attention from a parent all during childhood.

Furthermore, the book shows that the vast economic inequality our system has spawned means many US adults won’t ever form the stable partner relationships that most badly want. Our system also causes US parents to work harder, get less free time, and enjoy their kids less than parents in other wealthy countries. And when families aren’t sound, citizens aren’t sound. Hence the rise of the opioid epidemic, our skyrocketing rates of mental illness, and the decrease in US lifespans.

Finally, the reader of page 99 would miss the Free-Market Family’s critique of US policymakers’ treating the end goal of the economy as rising GDP. The correct end of the economy, the book asserts, is ensuring that all Americans have the resources they need to live good lives. Living good lives isn’t possible though, for children as well as most adults, unless families are sound. Ensuring that all Americans have the resources they need to support thriving family relationships must therefore become a key goal of US policymaking.
Learn more about The Free-Market Family at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Marion Kaplan's "Hitler’s Jewish Refugees"

Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is the author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany and a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

Kaplan applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal, and reported the following:
Page 99 gives only a tiny peek into what the book is about. That page tells us about the relationships of Jewish refugees to Portuguese citizens. The first paragraph notes that the Nazis tried to poison those relationships by scaring the Portuguese, claiming that when the Nazis won the war, they would punish Jews and friendly Portuguese as “anti-Nazis.” Still, American organizations, other observers, and the refugees themselves found the Portuguese to be very welcoming to Jews. This page also describes the transitory nature of Jewish and Portuguese companionship, since most refugees saw Portugal as a temporary respite, hoping to cross the Atlantic as quickly as they could, leaving Hitler’s Europe behind them. Still, some refugees stayed, and the last paragraph tells about some marriages that occurred between Jews and Portuguese non-Jews.

The page 99 test doesn’t really work for my book which focuses on the emotional history of Jews fleeing to and remaining in Portugal during the war. In other words, page 99 offers a glimpse into Jewish-Portuguese relationships and is part of a section entitled “The Exasperations and Consolations of Refugee Life” – friendly Portuguese being part of the “consolations.” But that is not the essence of the book (see Table of Contents).

My book tries to answer several questions about Jewish refugees in Portugal: How did they get there? What did they do there? How did they make ends meet? Most importantly, how did Jews react emotionally to their frightening odysseys from impending doom to fragile safety and their fearful wait in an oddly peaceful purgatory. Fleeing Nazi armies during World War II, between 40,000 and 80,000 Jews headed toward Portugal. My chapters focus on the borders refugees nervously crossed; the consulates and aide organization lines they “waited, waited, and waited” on, the smoky cafés they uneasily inhabited, finding solace with other refugees from a variety of nations; and the “fixed residences,” distant fishing villages where some were incarcerated. These sites caused emotional reactions: sometimes feelings of anguish, other times relief, and often both. Throughout their stay, refugees dreaded Hitler’s troops at the French/Spanish border, knew that the Portuguese government wanted them to move on, and feared the Portuguese police, while taking comfort in the kindness of Portuguese citizens.

The book also shows how age made a striking difference in the ways children and adults reacted to their losses and displacement: children and young people could treat crossing borders for example, as an adventure even as their elders considered such dislocations nightmares. Gender, too, produced varied reactions. Although men and women faced similar insecurities and material losses, men had lost more in the public sphere (where only younger women had joined the labor force) and perceived their losses as greater. More generally, refugees had suffered drastic economic and social decline: Hannah Arendt saw “parables of increasing self-loss.” She observed that many of these refugees had “felt entitled from their earliest childhood” to the "accoutrements of middle-class status: “They are failures in their own eyes if this standard cannot be kept any longer.... They constantly struggle with despair of themselves.” She explained: “We lost our home, which means the familiarity of daily life. We lost our occupation, which means the confidence that we are of some use in the world.”
Learn more about Hitler’s Jewish Refugees at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Lauren Jae Gutterman's "Her Neighbor's Wife"

Lauren Jae Gutterman teaches American studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Her Neighbor's Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Her Neighbor’s Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage discusses the depiction of wives who desired women in The Ladder, a magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the nation’s first lesbian rights group, beginning in 1956. More specifically, this page examines why and how the magazine’s editors and contributors became more critical of wives who remained married and “passed” as heterosexual despite their conscious attraction to other women in the late 1960s. Yet even as The Ladder was beginning to demonstrate a more radical gay politics, to emphasize the political importance of “coming out” publicly, and to show less sympathy for wives who desired women, the magazine did not directly instruct wives to leave their marriages as lesbian feminist activists of the 1970s later would.

While The Ladder did not tell married women explicitly how to resolve the tension between their same-sex desires and their responsibilities to their husbands and children, this page of the book describes several personal stories published in The Ladder in the late 1950s and early 1960s in which women explained how they or their lovers had left marriages to build new lesbian lives. In addition, this page mentions a survey of DOB members from 1959 which found that less than a quarter of those members who had been married were married still. In other words, while The Ladder often stressed the hopelessness of lesbian wives’ situation, it did convey a subtle message that wives who desired women could remake their lives outside of marriage if they truly wanted to do so.

In turning to page 99, then, readers do get an accurate sense of this book. The page conveys that a significant number of wives experienced same-sex desires within marriage in the postwar United States. It suggests the struggles these wives faced in negotiating their attraction to women and their familial obligations in the context of rampant homophobia. Page 99 of Her Neighbor’s Wife also conveys something of the ways wives who desired women have been represented in the media, the political problems this population of women raised for openly lesbian activists, and the extent to which lesbian activists changed their interpretation of and response to wives who desired women over time. All of these issues are critical to the book as a whole.
Learn more about Her Neighbor's Wife at the University of Pennsylvania Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Vaneesa Cook's "Spiritual Socialists"

Vaneesa Cook is a historian, professor, and freelance writer on religion and politics.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Spiritual Socialists: Religion and the American Left, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Spiritual Socialists: Religion and the American Left details how the historical figures profiled in the book sought to advance their values and mission internationally. The test works in this case because page 99 introduces one of the major points of contention among leftist activists, generally, and spiritual socialists, specifically. Emphasizing religious values, spiritual socialists expanded the leftist agenda in the US to cultural issues of race and gender at mid-century, predating the New Left. They all believed in the possibility of creating the Kingdom of God on earth, via grassroots community building. However, they disagreed about how to promote and defend the Kingdom of God internationally, especially during times of war, and they debated whether non-violence or interventionism represented the best moral choice.

For instance, spiritual socialists held a diverse set of opinions about World War II in the 1940s. Some, such as A. J. Muste, Staughton Lynd, and Dorothy Day, were absolute pacifists, rejecting violence completely. Others, including YMCA missionary Sherwood Eddy and Henry A. Wallace, rationalized fighting the good fight on the grounds that Christians needed to root out the weeds of evil (i.e. fascism) lest it interfere with the cultivation of the Kingdom of God on earth. The debate among spiritual socialists, then, did not pivot on issues of war and peace, violence and nonviolence as ends in themselves. The debate was actually about which approach to war would yield the most effective results for the long-term project of building a socialist society from the bottom up. Day, Lynd, and Muste contended that the means must always match the ends, making violence counterproductive to God’s will for the world. Eddy and Wallace, on the other hand, argued that the objective to protect the seeds of the Kingdom from being trampled underfoot by fascist soldiers made a temporary resort to violence necessary and realistic.
Visit Vaneesa Cook's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 20, 2020

Shana Minkin's "Imperial Bodies"

Shana Minkin is Associate Professor of International and Global Studies at Sewanee: The University of the South.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Imperial Bodies: Empire and Death in Alexandria, Egypt, and reported the following:
The end of the first paragraph of page 99 of Imperial Bodies reads as follows:
Civil registers and inquests helped empires know their subjects, imperial bodies that could be divided into the categories that the empire might need. There was always a desire to delineate in empire; the imperial state needed to know the difference between citizen, subject, and protégé in order to function properly. The institutions of such divisions created [the] “liminal subject of empire,” the person who crosses those legal lines. In Alexandria, it was often the consulates that moved those lines in attempting to capture the body of that liminal subject. The French Consulate used registers to document, divide, and manage its dead. By doing so, it showed that the barriers between citizen, subject, and protégé were at times firm and at times supple. Nonterritorial empire moved and shifted as needed to fill the pages of its registers, to claim its subjects, including protégés, and citizens. The inquests, in memorializing British subjects who lived far beyond the boundaries of British community, did much of the same work. Together the registers and inquests reveal that the process of investigating and recording death intertwined the consulates with local space and governance. Thus were consulate bureaucrats turned into archivists of Egypt even as they produced the building blocks— or, rather, the building bodies—of imperialism.
This paragraph concludes the introductory section of the fourth chapter, “Dying to be British, Dying to be French.” It lays out the primary argument, which is that the documentary processes of death (registrations, inquests) facilitated the sorting of peoples into the categories of empire. These bureaucratic practices were tools of community, of the British and French empires, and of the nascent Egyptian state. This argument is a central feature of my book, which uses hospitals, funerals, and cemeteries alongside the documentation of death to demonstrate that death was essential to the building and maintenance of empire in Egypt.

Page 99 also introduces the reader to primary actors in my book: the British and French consular officials who played the role of the mundane creators of empire. A key finding of mine is that, in the realm of death, the central British colonial state was mostly irrelevant. Consulates worked with the Egyptian national state, and the British consulate and community had no special benefit evident in the struggle for land to build hospitals and cemeteries. In this chapter, consular workers serve as the primary interlocutors among the dead, the communities of the living, and the imperial and national states. As such, with its introduction to both the primary arguments and some of the main actors of this book, page 99 is a very good representation of what is in store for readers.
Learn more about Imperial Bodies at the Stanford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue