9 Faculty Books To Read For World Book Day

Summer Faculty Books

In honor of World Book Day, we present the latest crop of books authored or edited by Pomona College faculty in the past academic year. Celebrated on April 23, World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of reading, publishing and copyright. Below is a list of recent faculty books in order of most recent publication date.


Maya Kingship: Rupture and Transformation from Classic to Postclassic Times

Visiting Professor of Anthropology Arlen Chase, with co-editors Tsubasa Okoshi, Philippe Nondédéo and M. Charlotte Arnauld, brings together leading experts in Maya studies who offer insights into the breakdown of kingship regimes, as well as the gradual urban collapse and settlement relocations that followed.

Chase specializes in Mesoamerican archeology, particularly in Mayan culture, and has done groundbreaking fieldwork in a site in Belize known as Caracol.


Dance and Authoritarianism: These Boots Are Made for Dancing

Professor of Theatre and Dance Anthony Shay explores how dance and mass movement are used as a political tool by political regimes, especially authoritarian governments, as a way of showing symbolic mass support for the regime.

The creator of more than 200 choreographies, Shay studies the music and dance of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. 


The Life of Permafrost: A History of Frozen Earth in Russian and Soviet Science

Associate Professor of History Pey-Yi Chu provides an intellectual history of permafrost, placing the phenomenon squarely in the political, social and material context of Russian and Soviet science.

Chu is a historian of Russia and the former Soviet Union, and explores the environment through the history of science and technology with a special focus on the history of the frozen tundra known as permafrost.


The Arrest

Roy Edward Disney '51 Professor of Creative Writing and Professor of English Jonathan Lethem's most recent novel is speculative fiction about societal collapse, two siblings, a man who came between them and a nuclear-powered supercar.

Celebrated for his novels, short stories and essays, Lethem is recognized as one of America’s foremost contemporary writers. His works include novels, short-story collections, non-fiction books and an array of essays published in such publications as Rolling StoneHarper’s and The New Yorker.


The City and the Wilderness: Indo-Persian Encounters in Southeast Asia

Professor of History Arash Khazeni recounts the journeys and microhistories of Indo-Persian travelers across the Indian Ocean and their encounters with the Burmese Kingdom and its littoral at the turn of the 19th century.

Khazeni focuses his research on the imperial and environmental histories of the modern Middle East, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Trained as a historian of the Islamic Middle East, primarily Iran and Afghanistan during the 16th through 19th centuries, Khazeni’s research veers to the margins and the places in between empires, world regions and nations.


The Phantom Pattern Problem: The Mirage of Big Data

Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics Gary Smith and co-author Jay Cordes ’93 pose the question as to whether data patterns are worth believing—and posit that the “evidence” is ultimately meaningless.

Smith specializes in financial markets and debunking myths in statistical analysis. Smith explores, among other things, the real-world applications of economics that continue to fascinate him such as the misuses of “big data.” 


Separate But Faithful: The Christian Right’s Radical Struggle to Transform Law and Legal Culture

Associate Professor of Politics Amanda Hollis-Brusky co-authors with Joshua C. Wilson the first book-length treatment of “Christian worldview” law schools and their impacts on law and politics, based on fieldwork and interviews with leaders of the Christian Right legal movement. 

A go-to expert on Supreme Court politics, Hollis-Brusky has written and spoken about the Supreme Court and the conservative legal movement in various media outlets. She teaches courses on American politics, constitutional law and legal institutions at Pomona. 


Ecology and Management of Inland Waters: A California Perspective with Global Applications

Marc Los Huertos, the Stephen M. Pauley M.D. '62 Associate Professor of Environmental Analysis, presents the geologic history and physical characteristics of aquatic ecology. Los Huertos draws on his research from the inland waters of California and applies this to other areas, including Mediterranean climate systems, the tropics, and even South Africa.

A trained biogeochemist, Los Huertos is interested in soil, water and air nitrogen cycling. Los Huertos has an active research program in which he works with students to evaluate agricultural practices on greenhouse gas emissions from organic and conventional farms and to evaluate habitat quality in streams and rivers. 


Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing 

Walker Wells, a lecturer in environmental analysis, published a revised edition of the 2007 book he co-authored with Kimberly Vermeer. The new edition is a comprehensive resource on how to incorporate green building principles into affordable housing design, construction and operation.

Wells works with affordable housing developers, municipalities and school districts across the country to further green building and sustainable development practices by providing technical guidance and developing programs and public policy. He teaches a class in Green Urbanism and has been with Pomona since 2005.