New Faculty Books in History, Art, Law

July 27, 2010 — Here is a roundup of four new books by University of Virginia faculty members.

Paul Kershaw, associate professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences, "Peaceful Kings: Peace, Power and the Early Medieval Political Imagination." Oxford University Press.

The first full scholarly exploration of the relationship between the idea of peace and rulership through Europe's formative centuries, "Peaceful Kings" asks what peace meant to early medieval people, and to what extent royal intentions endeavored to meet collective expectations.

Tyler Jo Smith, assistant professor of classical art and archaeology in the College, "Komast Dancers in Archaic Greek Art." Oxford University Press.

A fully illustrated study of the iconography of komast dancers ("revellers") in Archaic Greece – figures that appear in black-figure vase-painting and in other artistic media. They have long been associated with the worship of Dionysos, god of wind and drama, and the origins of Greek theater.

William Wylie, associate professor of photography in the College, "Route 36." Flood Editions.

This series of 54 photographs follow Route 36 across the Kansas prairie, capturing the region's strong light and registering detailed textures within its vast spaces. ... The images move between the dry, rolling landscape and stark, vertical structures.

James Ryan, William L. Matheson & Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law and associate dean, "Five Miles Away, A World Apart: Two Schools, One City and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America." Oxford University Press.

How is it that half a century after Brown v. Board of Education – and in spite of increased funding for urban schools and programs like No Child Left Behind – educational opportunities for blacks and whites in America still remain so unequal? This book traces the fortunes of two schools in Richmond, Va. – one suburban, relatively affluent and mostly white, and the other urban, relatively poor and mostly black. Ryan shows how court rulings against desegregation in the 1970s laid the groundwork for the massive disparities between urban and suburban public school districts that persist to this day.