Throwbacklist Thursday: Gutsy Reads

Teach the controversy! Like any academic press, UIP delves into the taboo, the transgressive, and the fringe. Such books reflect our belief that a lot of topics go unseen, and a lot of voices unheard, by the mainstream. TBT presents a short survey of Press books that venture beyond the regular to spark thought and encourage the rubbing of chins.

ottenheimerForbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage, by Martin Ottenheimer
Social anthropologist Martin Ottenheimer challenges the widely held American belief that legislation against marriage between first cousins is based on a biological risk to offspring. In fact, its author maintains, the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants.

Ottenheimer questioned U.S. laws against cousin marriage because his international research into marriage patterns showed no European countries prohibit such unions. He examines the historical development of U.S. laws governing marriage, contrasts them with European laws, and analyzes the genetic implications of first cousin marriage. Modern genetic evidence, Ottenheimer says, doesn’t support the concept that children of these unions are at any special risk.

delaney et. alThe Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation, by Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, and Emily Toth
Acclaimed as a classic since its initial publication, The Curse provides a cultural history of menstruation from menarche to menopause. The authors provide a lively discussion of ancient and modern taboos as in a wide-ranging jaunt that looks at medical approaches, menstrual humor, the sanitary products industry, advertising, and attitudes toward menstruation in art and daily life. They also look at issues like premenstrual syndrome, toxic shock, and tampon reliability.

Fresh, feminist, and always fascinating, The Curse is a classic look at the historical and cultural dimensions of an everyday, yet not-often-spoken of, part of women’s lives.

greenTin Men: The Art, Craft, and Social History behind Tin Men, by Archie Green
For centuries, the history and lore of tinkers, tinners, tinsmiths, and their contemporary counterparts the sheet-metal workers have been represented through the creation of figurative sculptures known as tin men, crafted from sheet metal and scraps into likenesses that include clowns, knights, cowboys, and L. Frank Baum’s Tin Woodsman of Oz.

In this vibrant exploration of tin men and their creators, labor folklorist Archie Green interviews craftspeople, gallery owners, collectors, and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association officials, linking tinsmith artistry to issues of craft education, union traditions, labor history, and social class. Enhanced by numerous illustrations, the volume also includes an inventory of tin men located in sheet metal shops, galleries, and museums.