Monday, December 24, 2012

What is Dan Lainer-Vos reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Dan Lainer-Vos, author of Sinews of the Nation: Constructing Irish and Zionist Bonds in the United States.

His entry begins:
A good friend, nonacademic, gave me a copy of Yuval Noah Harari’s From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind describing it as one of the best books he ever read. Being I guess a bit of an academic snob, I thought “what can be so good about a book that purports to tell the history of mankind.” But when another friend also recommended it, I decided to give the book a try and it was well worth it. The book is not quite what it sounds like. Harari is not really trying to tell a history of humanity but instead focuses on...[read on]
About Sinews of the Nation, from the publisher:
Fundraising may not seem like an obvious lens through which to examine the process of nation-building, but in this highly original book Lainer-Vos shows that fundraising mechanisms - ranging from complex transnational gift-giving systems to sophisticated national bonds - are organizational tools that can be used to bind dispersed groups to the nation.

Sinews of the Nation treats nation-building as a practical organizational accomplishment and examines how the Irish republicans and the Zionist movement secured financial support in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Comparing the Irish and Jewish experiences, whose trajectories of homeland-diaspora relations were very different, provides a unique perspective for examining how national movements use economic transactions to attach disparate groups to the national project.

By focusing on fundraising, Lainer-Vos challenges the common view of nation-building as only a matter of forging communities by imagining away internal differences: he shows that nation-building also involves organizing relationships so as to allow heterogeneous groups to maintain their difference and yet contribute to the national cause. Nation-building is about much more than creating unifying symbols: it is also about creating mechanisms that bind heterogeneous groups to the nation despite and through their differences.
Learn more about Sinews of the Nation at the John Wiley & Sons website.

Writers Read: Dan Lainer-Vos.

--Marshal Zeringue