Excerpts

  • Behind the Book with Bruce Newman

    The Marketing Revolution in Politics: What Recent U.S. Presidential Campaigns Can Teach Us About Effective Marketing

    Bruce Newman talks about his fantastic new UTP title: The Marketing Revolution in Politics: What Recent U.S. Presidential Campaigns Can Teach Us About Effective Marketing

    How did you become involved in your area of research?

    I had to choose a dissertation topic and found myself very interested in politics, even though I was pursuing a PhD in Marketing.  This became the starting point for my interest in the field of Political Marketing.  Over the past 35 years, the field has grown into a mature discipline.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    My wife, Judy, urged me to write a book about the Obama Presidency for some time before I finally decided to take her up on the challenge.  The book was started after Obama won his second presidency, and it was then that I realized that there was a paradigm shift in politics, and this book needed to be written, both to reflect on the changes in the political system because of the innovative use of technology by Obama in 2008 and 2012, as well as to report on how this paradigm could also be used in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors by marketing managers working in many different industries.

    How did you become interested in the subject?

    I realized that a more interesting application of the principles of marketing that I studied as a PhD student could be found in the political marketplace, a market that represented an extreme case study of marketing, where the challenges were great:

    • Many different segments to satisfy, each with different needs and wants.
    • 24/7 oversight of the market, not found in any other one.
    • An organization in crisis-mode, even before a presidential campaign actually starts, forcing the players to be able to change on a dime and be nimble at all times.
    • Brands, in the form of politicians, constantly being attacked and altered on a day-to-day basis from the start of the campaign.

    How long did it take you to write your latest book?

    This book contract was signed March, 2013 and accepted for publication approximately 2 years later in April, 2015, with publication in January, 2016.

    What do you find most interesting about your area of research?

    What I wrote about in the book, which is the juxtaposition of the use of Big Data, Customer Analytics, Micro-targeting and Social Media in 3 different sectors: The political; for-profit; and nonprofit, how these marketing tools are used to go through the 7 lessons reported in the book, and what the best practices are within each of the 3 sectors studied.

    What do you wish other people knew about your area of research?

    How important marketing really is in controlling the message and in determining every move a politician makes both during a campaign, as well as after they get into office.

    What’s the most surprising thing you discovered during the course of your research?

     Two things:

    1. That the Obama 2012 campaign team discovered that there was not any negative reaction to supporters of Obama receiving multiple email requests, sometimes even weekly for funds.
    2. That Obama in 2012 won the popular vote with only 3% margin, but won the electoral vote with 30% margin, the result of a carefully crafted marketing campaign that relied on micro-targeting.

    Do you have to travel much concerning the research/writing of your book?

    No, but since I lecture around the world once or twice a year, now for over 30 years, I find that going to other countries and comparing and contrasting how political systems operate overseas forces me to get a better understanding on how ours works.

    What was the hardest part of writing your book?

    Sitting down almost every day and working on it.  Writing is not an easy task.

    What did you learn from writing your book?

    That editing and re-editing is a must.

    What are your current/future projects?

    I am currently working on my next book, planning to speak in Russia this summer, and expect to be very busy with the media responding to the many requests for interviews that have already started.

    What do you like to read for pleasure?  What are you currently reading?

    I like to read current events in magazines and newspapers.

    What is your favourite book?

    PT Boat 109, the story of John F. Kennedy when he was in the navy.  That book sparked my interest in politics when I was very young.

    If you weren’t working in academia, what would you be doing instead?

    Probably working in a corporation, or perhaps running for political office.

     

  • Behind the Book with David Fraser

    Honorary Protestants: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997

    David Fraser gives an insight into the production of his UTP title: Honorary Protestants: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997

    How did you become involved in your area of research?

    I am interested in the ways in which law and legal institutions deal with the “Other”, in this case Jews within a Roman Catholic and Protestant Quebec, and in the ways in which the apparently disempowered Other deals with legal norms and institutional arrangements. While the formal legal mechanisms protected Roman Catholic and Protestant educational rights, Jewish children and their parents fell into a legal gap where they apparently had no formal rights to schooling. Of course, the practical reality was that no one would really be content with a system in which 10,000 students who wanted to, could not go to school.  The real story, and the one that caught my interest, was how all the participants, Roman Catholics, Protestants and various parts of the Jewish community in Montreal dealt with this conflict between law and social and political reality. For a lawyer, the stories offer object lessons about the ultimate insignificance of formal legal rules when the Jewish parents who wanted to have their children become citizens through education voiced concrete claims for justice and equality as Canadians.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    The germ of the idea for this book emerged when I was a law student, far too many years ago, and wrote a paper on a related subject. The area and the issues stayed in the back of mind while I pursued other topics in my research and eventually I reached the “now or never” stage. I spend much of my research energies focusing on the role of law and lawyers in the implementation of the Holocaust, so the idea of studying the Jewish School Question in Montreal, for all its complexities and occasionally dark moments, actually offered some relief from my main areas of interest. .

    How did you become interested in the subject?

    I have always researched and written in the broad areas of minorities, particularly Roma and Jews, and the ways in which legal rules are invoked to justify oppression, persecution, and even death. The story of Montreal Jewry’s struggles to gain formal educational equality fits into that broad framework, and the idea that the Constitution guaranteed formal equality only for Protestants and Roman Catholics, when faced with the reality of mass Jewish immigration, and Jewish demands for the education of their children, struck me as a typically Canadian story of compromise and conflict, followed by more compromise and conflict.

    How long did it take you to write your latest book?

    5 years from the start of actual research to publication- much longer if we count from the original idea.

    What do you find most interesting about your area of research?

    The most interesting aspect is discovering particular instances of the power of law and legal categories and the sometimes equal power of those who push back against the institutional arrangements when they are inspired by a quest for what they identify as justice. Montreal Jews consistently presented their demands for equality in school rights in terms of their identity as British subjects and then as Canadian citizens. For over a hundred years, complex debates and political battles over what it meant to be “Canadian” directly effected thousands of Jewish children who simply wanted to go to school.

    What do you wish other people knew about your area of research?

    The history of law is much more than a dry recitation of rules, or the professional practices and lives of lawyers and judges. The struggle for justice often exceeds the power and capacity for justice, but the legal history that interests me is the legal history that identifies the ways in which deeply held ideals of equality and justice inform political and social struggles beyond the law. The Jewish School Question in Montreal and its various iterations embodies the story of the ways in which law was circumvented by the ingenious practical solutions created by Protestants, Jews and Roman Catholics in Montreal, always with an aim of achieving equality and justice.

    What was the hardest part of writing your book?

    The hardest part is the answer to the previous question. Living and working in the UK and writing an archivally based book about Montreal poses obvious time and physical constraints on one’s capacity to do the research. On the upside, there was a dramatic increase in my frequent flyer miles.

    What did you learn from writing your book?

    I learned a lot about the actual struggles that people engaged in to protect their identity, good and bad, and again about the power of the ideas of belonging, equality and justice can have in bringing communities together and in pulling them apart. The stories of the Jewish School Question in Montreal embody many of the broader issues of identity and belonging, demands for recognition and equality on all sides, what we now call “accommodation” . Plus ça change

    What are your current/future projects?

    I am working on a couple of shorter projects, one on Canadian Jewish legal history and the other on my primary area of interest, law and the Holocaust. Another major project looms, but is dependent on ever elusive funding.

    What do you like to read for pleasure?  What are you currently reading?

    I read fiction, both literary and detective (although I recognize that the categories are not mutually exclusive). I am currently reading Zachary Lazar’s , I Pity the Poor Immigrant, a clever literary mystery story about my favorite themes of identity and belonging, and with the additional benefit of a title taken from a Bob Dylan song.

    What is your favourite book?

    Joseph Heller, Catch 22- life in a nutshell

    If you weren’t working in academia, what would you be doing instead?

    I don’t know what I would be doing, but I would have liked to have been an extremely successful author of crime fiction. Unfortunately, I lack talent and imagination, so I’m a legal academic..

     

  • Behind the Book with Raymond Stephanson and Darren N. Wagner

    The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century

    Raymond Stephanson and Darren N. Wagner discuss their interdisciplinary examination of the many aspects of reproduction in the eighteenth century – The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century

    How did you become involved in your area of research?

    RAS: In the early 1990s I began researching and writing a book about the famous 18th-century poet Alexander Pope and the ways male creativity was then understood. It became clear to me that a key cultural touchstone for this were reproductive metaphors. Many years later—2004, to be exact—the University of Pennsylvania Press published my The Yard of Wit: Male Creativity and Sexuality, 1650–1750.

    DNW: My early academic background is split between biological sciences and English literature. In 2007 I began an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in 18th-century literature and reproductive biology under the co-supervision of Prof. Stephanson and Prof. Roger Pierson. My specialty in sex and reproduction in the 18th century was forged then, and I have been researching various aspects of this topic since.

    What inspired you to write this book?

    RAS: Having published on 18th-century sex, gender, and reproduction, it was apparent to me and my co-editor Dr. Wagner that such a collection was sorely needed for such an important historical topic.

    How long did it take you to write your latest book?

    DNW: Prof. Stephanson and I first discussed this project in 2011 at a Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies meeting hosted by McMaster University. Four years and a couple thousand emails later, The Secrets of Generation has hit the shelves.

    What do you find most interesting about your area of research?

    RAS: Its diversity and surprising range of application across material and cultural domains: humans, animals, plants, species, heredity, selective breeding, literary expression, scandal and gossip, pornography—all of these include some aspect of reproduction, from theory to praxis to money-making.

    What’s the most surprising thing you discovered during the course of your research?

    RAS: Mainly in talking to others—mostly colleagues—about the work we were putting together, how narrow most peoples’ attitudes were to the subject “reproduction.” My pals always only think about human sex stuff and never about animals, plants, history, and all those other cool things!

    DNW: For my chapter on anatomical displays of male genitalia, I had a small grant from the Scientific Instrument Society to spend some time researching at the Hunterian Museum, London. It’s an impressive museum based upon John Hunter’s anatomical collection from the 18th century. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, stopping in for a peak is a must!

    What are your current/future projects?

    RAS: Right now I am working on a book that attempts to trace the emergence of science fiction around the middle of the 18th century. Literary historians usually mark Frankenstein as the first of this new breed, but I think we can look at the interesting ways in which, taken together, scientific writing including fictional elements and literary narratives deploying new science and technology opened a historical space for initial experiments with a fictional science.

    DNW: I am currently writing a book with the working title of Sexual Feeling: Sensibility and Generation in Enlightenment Britain. This book explores physiological theories that connected nerves and sex in the long 18th century. A central question in this book is how these theories are expressed in and communicated between literature, philosophy, medicine, science and technology.

    What do you like to read for pleasure?  What are you currently reading?

    RAS: Reading pleasures have always been the stuff I’m currently researching, and right now I am keenly reading 17th- and 18th-century botanical treatises, filled as they are with all manner of cultural baggage. Very exciting to me, and likely boring to others!

    DNW: I generally enjoy picaresque novels, such as Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, or Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Currently I am preparing for an exhibition I am co-curating at the Osler Library for the History of Medicine by reading medical books from the 16th to 19th century about blood.

    What is your favourite book?

    RAS: Laurence Sterne’s 18th-century novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, and many of the short stories by Charles Bukowski.

    DNW: The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith is one of my all-time comedic favourites.

    If you weren’t working in academia, what would you be doing instead?

    RAS: Playing jazz piano in Vancouver nightclubs.

    DNW: As a postdoctoral fellow with no certain employment in sight, that’s a question I am always asking myself. Probably I’d have a career that’s much less interesting and much better paid. Perhaps I’d still be working on the cucumber farm I grew up on. People need their dill pickles.

  • Behind the Book with E.A. Heaman

    A Short History of the State in Canada

    E.A. Heaman talks about the process behind her wonderful new book: A Short History of the State in Canada

    What inspired you to write this book?

    I wrote this book on the invitation of an editor, who suggested a list of possible topics. The history of the state immediately appealed for a bunch of reasons. It dovetailed with my current research project, on the history of taxation in Canada. But it also let me explore address a perplexity and dissatisfaction about the way Canadian history is generally written, as a complex question of identity-formation. An awful lot of Canadian history hinges on the question: how Canadian do people feel themselves to be at any given time? I don’t want to suggest that that’s not an important question. The story of popular nationalism is absolutely central to the emergence of the modern nation state and you cannot fight wars or build welfare infrastructure without it. The extent to which that popular nationalism embraces or vilifies people of different ethnic or religious backgrounds, or by reason of their gender or their class, is hugely important and I’m very glad that such questions are squarely addressed across the board.

    But there can be too much focus on questions of subjective belonging or subjective nationalism. Canadians have constructed an exceptionalist narrative for themselves by focusing on them and historians have tended to replicate that exceptionalism. I’m speaking very vaguely, so let me give a concrete example. A French social scientist, André Siegfried, toured Canada and the United States in the early 20th century and he reported that where Americans argued about socio-economic relations amongst themselves, Canadians only argued about partyism and nationalism. That’s a ridiculous caricature but it was what audiences have generally wanted to hear. It’s what Lord Durham told them in the 1830s and it’s what passed for a paradigm in the 1990s when I was a graduate student. We were told we should focus on the sorts of questions that distinguished Canada from other countries—its peculiar forms of nation-formation and nationalism—because otherwise we would not be original. But the accretion of answers focused on such questions gradually distanced us from mainstream historiography. Other national histories have done, I think, a better job of writing socio-economic debates into mainstream political debates. When they write more general accounts of states or empires, they tend to pay more attention to the rights and resources of the people than their subjective feelings of nationalism. They don’t find the kind of Canadian books they can easily slot into those histories and so they don’t slot them in. I think that’s really unfortunate. I may be more aware of this than other Canadianists because I have also worked on French and British history. Canadian history looks particular when compared with other national histories.

    So I have tried to write a book that had less of the classic material of Canadian nation-formation and more of the classic material of modern state-formation. This little book hops, skips and jumps its way through Canadian history with a focus on the conversation between state and citizen considered more generically than is usual. What rights and resources could the state or the individual citizen command at any given time? The answer varies hugely of course, according to the kind of criteria cited above—ethnicity, gender, class, religion. I’m not writing identities out of Canadian history. I’m just trying to serve them up in a format that focuses on formal relationships rather than feelings about those relationships. I think that may make Canadian history a little easier to grasp for those who don’t know much about it and want a quick primer.

    What do you wish other people knew about your area of research?

    What do I wish other people knew about my topic? Canada should be a useful resource for non-Canadianists; an interesting perspective from which to learn about modernity. Canada was in on the construction of the modern state from the beginning. It was an early testing ground for French absolutism and British liberalism. Enlightenment arguments for a limited state emerged at least in part from reflection on Canada and the relationship between the state and trade there. Indigenous peoples of Canada taught Europeans some of those important lessons. Such concerns as slavery, corruption, poverty, immigration, and Indigenous rights were always central to the perplexities of the Canadian state. Big books on the history of corruption and progressive reform, for example, or the warfare/welfare state, should recognize Canadian experiences as salient, and Canada as an interlocutor in the conversations around such topics.

    What was the hardest part of writing your book?

    The hardest thing about writing this book was writing out all the complicated nuances and details of historians’ stories about Canadian state history. The very notion of the state is a simplification: a way of describing a series of historical tendencies, rather than something concrete. There’s always a more complicated, nuanced story to be told and a historian carefully telling it. Some paragraphs are more egregious than others. Sometimes one paragraph can sum up conclusions from three different scholarly monographs. The classic staples theory of economic development that powered much scholarly analysis for some crucially formative decades gets one sentence. To compound the problem, footnotes were permitted only for direct quotation and there was some pressure to delete the bibliography entirely. There’s hardly a historian of Canada to whom I don’t owe some sort of an apology. The only justification for writing of this sort is the effort to convey Canadian history to some new audiences in some new ways.

    What do you like to read for pleasure?  What are you currently reading?

    What am I currently reading? I have just finished Francis Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). It is a fascinating, readable and polemical account of relationships between power, accountability, and corruption. Some of his remarks about, for example, tensions between quasi-democratic clientelism and middle class reformism are very useful for my book on taxation. But this is also the book I had in mind when I mentioned big books on the history of corruption. Canada could usefully inform Chapter 8, which consists of an in-depth comparison of British and American experiences of corruption. I’ve also just closed the covers on Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel Purity (London: Fourth Estate, 2015). Again, the story is fascinating as an argument that the world is drifting back towards what he describes as “apparatchikism,” where the old East-German narratives and buzzwords (“a new species of humanity” “rewriting the rules of creativity”) are new again. The novel is interesting on generational politics: it starts by making young people today seem even more screwed up than past generations, but by the end of the book those same young people seem to become the hope of the world, a beacon of saner, more hopeful politics of gender and of wealth. I try to tell my story of Canada with a comparable feel-good and empowering ending, so I admire the effort, but I hope that my own ending isn’t quite so inconsistent with everything else that has happened in the rest of the book.

  • Behind the Book with Bob Maunder and Jon Hunter

     

    Bob Maunder and Jon Hunter, in their book Love, Fear, and Health: How Our Attachments to Others Shape Health and Health Care, discuss how attachment – the ways in which people seek security in their close relationships – can transform patient outcomes.

    Love, Fear, and Health: How Our Attachments to Others Shape Health and Health Care

    What is Love, Fear and Health about?

    We wrote Love, Fear and Health to show that close relationships are central to health. We describe how health and illness emerge from interactions between individuals, as opposed to coming just from within individuals (e.g. from genes) or from individuals interacting with other aspects of the environment (e.g. with germs). This happens in several ways. First, interactions between parents and their children are critical to the development of the child’s physical regulatory systems, which will allow her to adapt to different environments and regulate responses to stressful situations effectively. How readily these systems adapt to their environments has big implications for diseases of “wear-and-tear” that will often emerge much later in life. Lifelong patterns of what to expect and how to act in close relationships, which are called patterns of attachment, are also shaped during early parent-child interactions. These patterns influence how willing people are to ask for help and how able they are to manage distressing situations independently, which are individual differences that have a big impact on how people use the health care system. Finally, since health care always occurs within the context of helping relationships, patterns of attachment influence what happens in health care provider-patient relationships, and are something we need to take into account to make health care truly patient-centered.

    Who is it for?

    The reader who we had in mind as we were writing is a colleague, someone working in one of the many professional disciplines that collaborate in the health care system. We had some ambivalence about narrowing our audience in this way because many of the ideas in this book will be new, interesting and relevant to general readers. However, we wanted to get to some recommendations about how this way of thinking about health care should change the way it is practiced, and those recommendations need to be framed in a different way for providers than for patients, so we had to make a choice. We don’t expect our colleagues to feel familiar or comfortable with psychological theory, so we have tried to write in a way that is accessible and relatively free of jargon. So it is a fairly easy read. We were very gratified that early reviewers picked up on our intent. Dr. Jeremy Holmes call it “readable, accessible, amusing and profound” and Dr. David Naylor said that “every health care professional concerned with the psychological well-being of his or her patients should read it.”

    The book is written by two authors. How did you collaborate on the writing?

    We have been working together for a long time. We were actually in the same medical school class although we didn’t work closely together until a few years after we graduated. It was when we were collaborating as psychiatrists to medically and surgically ill patients and as teachers in the 1990s, that we started meeting every week to have a conversation about the challenges that arose with patients or with students or colleagues.

    We came back to attachment theory, which we hadn’t paid much attention to since undergraduate days because it was such a useful framework for understanding our challenges. Then we started teaching together and doing research on how attachment affects health. The book really emerged from those conversations and from a highly iterative process of teaching, pursing research ideas, and then revising based on feedback, questions, and new ideas.

    As a result of this long history of working on these issues together and taking about them, our method is highly collaborative. We literally cannot remember who first suggested most of the ideas that are woven into Love, Fear and Health. Once we get to typing, Bob usually creates the first draft and then we pass it back and forth, often through many iterations, until it feels right. We are lucky that we long ago settled on the “speak plainly and don’t worry too much about each other’s feelings” method of editing and commenting. It has saved us a lot of time and we’re still friends.

    What are the challenges of writing about the impact of relationships on health?

    This is a subject that crosses many disciplines and perspectives, and that introduces quite a few challenges. The most general of these is that a reader of the book is almost certainly not going to be an expert in all of its subject matter – so we are challenged to provide an accessible point of entry to each of the books main topics while still staying true to the scholarship that informs us.

    Another challenge has been to make the book useful. We weren’t interested in writing a book that would advance scholarship without also at least trying to improve how health care is practiced. We are influenced by perspectives on continuing education for health care professionals – providing education that is perceived to be helpful and that increases knowledge are the lowest standards of evidence for change. Actually changing behaviour and then improving patient outcomes is the real gold. We wanted to write a book that would be a step towards improving patients’ experience.

    There are a couple of other troubles that come up again and again. One is how hard it is to describe quickly what this book and our research is about. The English word “relationships” has far too many meanings for our convenience. It seems that we can’t get very far into an “elevator pitch” without having to pause and say that we are talking about a very special class of close relationships that includes parents with children, romantic partners with each other, and under the right conditions also includes patients when they are with health care providers

Items 1 to 5 of 40 total