ISSI Books

Departures: An Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies

Khatharya Um

By Khatharya Um - Departures supports, contextualizes, and advances the field of critical refugee studies by providing a capacious account of its genealogy, methods, and key concepts as well as its premises, priorities, and possibilities. The book outlines the field's main tenets, questions, and concerns, and offers new approaches that integrate theoretical rigor and policy considerations with refugees' rich and complicated lived worlds. It also provides examples of how to link communities, movements, networks, artists, and academic institutions, and forge new and...

Cities for Life: How Communities Can Recover from Trauma and Rebuild for Health

Jason Corburn

By Jason Corburn - In Cities for Life, public health expert Jason Corburn shares lessons from three of these cities: Richmond, California; Medellín, Colombia; and Nairobi, Kenya. Corburn draws from his work with citizens, activists, and decision-makers in these cities over a ten-year period, as individuals and communities worked to heal from trauma—from gun violence, housing and food insecurity, and poverty. Corburn shows how any community can rebuild their social institutions, practices, and policies to be more focused on healing and health...

How to Sell a Poison: The Rise, Fall, and Toxic Return of DDT

Elena Conis

By Elena Conis - The story of an infamous poison that left toxic bodies and decimated wildlife in its wake is also a cautionary tale about how corporations stoke the flames of science denialism for profit. The chemical compound DDT first earned fame during World War II by wiping out insects that caused disease and boosting Allied forces to victory. Americans granted it a hero’s homecoming, spraying it on everything from crops and livestock to cupboards and curtains. Then, in 1972, it was banned in the US. But decades after that, a cry arose to demand its return.


Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century

J. Bradford DeLong

By J. Bradford DeLong - Before 1870, humanity lived in dire poverty, with a slow crawl of invention offset by a growing population. Then came a great shift: invention sprinted forward, doubling our technological capabilities each generation and utterly transforming the economy again and again. Our ancestors would have presumed we would have used such powers to build utopia. But it was not so. When 1870–2010 ended, the world instead saw global warming; economic depression, uncertainty, and inequality; and broad rejection of the status quo.


Potholes in the Road: Transition Problems for Low-Income Youth in High School

Martín Sánchez-Jankowski

By Martín Sánchez-Jankowski - Education has been increasingly lauded as the path to achieving the American Dream, and in this book Martín Sánchez-Jankowski uses extensive ethnographic research to explore the dynamics of the interrelated barriers that low-income students must surpass in order to make transitions successfully from high school to college. With rigor and compassion, and engaging in participant observation to examine how individual students confront the education system, Potholes in the Road shows how obstacles related to issues of structure,...

Consuelo Jimenez Underwood: Art, Weaving, Vision

Laura E. Pérez
Ann Marie Leimer

By Laura E. Perez - Consuelo Jimenez Underwood’s artwork is marked by her compassionate and urgent engagement with a range of pressing contemporary issues, from immigration and environmental precarity to the resilience of Indigenous ancestral values and the necessity of decolonial aesthetics in art making. Drawing on the fiber arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Chicana feminist art, and Indigenous fiber- and loom-based traditions, Jimenez Underwood’s art encompasses needlework, weaving, painted and silkscreened pieces, installations, sculptures, and performance....

Work Pray Code: When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley

Carolyn Chen

By Carolyn Chen - Silicon Valley is known for its lavish perks, intense work culture, and spiritual gurus. Work Pray Code explores how tech companies are bringing religion into the workplace in ways that are replacing traditional places of worship, blurring the line between work and religion and transforming the very nature of spiritual experience in modern life.

Asian American Histories of the United States

Catherine Ceniza Choy

By Catherine Ceniza Choy - Original and expansive, Asian American Histories of the United States is a nearly 200-year history of Asian migration, labor, and community formation in the US. Reckoning with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge in anti-Asian hate and violence, award-winning historian Catherine Ceniza Choy presents an urgent social history of the fastest growing group of Americans. The book features the lived experiences and diverse voices of immigrants, refugees, US-born Asian Americans, multiracial Americans, and workers...