Two faculty members at Penn State Brandywine recently published books in their respective fields.
Associate Professor of English Arnold Markley analyzed the works of a range of British reformists writing in the 1790s who reshaped the conventions of contemporary fiction during the revolutionary decade to position the novel as a progressive political tool in his newly published book, "Conversion and Reform in the British Novel in the 1790s: A Revolution of Opinions."
Published by Palgrave Macmillan in Dec. 2008, the book dramatically expands the boundaries of the progressive British "Jacobin" novel. Rather than working to launch a bloody revolution, these authors worked to initiate political and social reform in such areas as women's rights, abolition, the Jewish question, the gambling and dueling controversies, immigration to the New World, and the leveling of the class system in Britain by converting the individual reader, one reader at a time.
Authors covered include William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson and Maria Edgeworth, among many others.
Markley expects that those interested in the book will include graduate students, teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels, university and public libraries, and scholars in the fields of British fiction and British Romanticism. This book also will appeal to scholars and students who study the effects and influence of the French Revolution in Britain, the development of the English political novel, political radicalism, feminist and abolitionist literature, and Utopian fiction in the late 18th century.
Markley wasn't the only Penn State Brandywine professor delving into the history of politics. While Markley was exploring the work of writers, Stephen Cimbala, distinguished professor of political science, was investigating the implications of deploying missile defense by the United States and Russia during the current and future decade in his book, "Shield of Dreams: Missile Defense and U.S.-Russian Nuclear Strategy."
Under the Bush administration, the United States began the process of deploying a global ballistic missile defense (BMD) and in 2007 announced plans to locate parts of the system in Eastern Europe. This plan, in turn, alarmed Russian president Vladimir Putin and contributed to a deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations and contributed to the Russian incursion into Georgia.
Cimbala discusses how a post-Bush/post-Putin era could open the door either to improved detente or to increased acrimony over such holdover issues as missile defense and NATO enlargement, the fate of the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) and INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) treaties, and U.S. hegemony in world politics. Russia's improved economy under Putin has raised its political self-confidence and made more resources available for military modernization, compared to the 1990s. Russia's previous willingness to take a back seat to U.S. and allied NATO countries on the world stage has been replaced by an assertiveness that emphasizes Russia's status as a formidable power. Russia's nuclear weapons greatly support their claim to be a world power.
According to the author, Russia considers the U.S.-Russian SORT (Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty) agreement of 2002 an important benchmark for modernizing its long-range nuclear forces. SORT comes into effect on the last day of 2012, and it requires the United States and Russia to decrease their numbers of operationally deployed nuclear weapons on intercontinental launchers to between 2,200 and 1,700 weapons. Cimbala considers how stable the U.S.-Russian nuclear deterrence and arms control relationship might be once these SORT levels are reached. In addition, he evaluates whether the two states could actually reduce their numbers of deployed weapons below SORT levels, even to the level of "minimum deterrence" forces, with hundreds instead of thousands of deployed weapons. If so, movement in the direction of smaller but still highly competent Russian and American nuclear forces could persuade other nuclear powers to reduce their inventories proportionately, making for a safer world.