New books by Janette Sadik-Khan '82 professors Movindri Reddy and Xiao-huang Yin, and John Engle '72 M'75. Also: Rachel West '15 pursues her "wildest dreams" of a music career on L.A.
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, by Janette Sadik-Khan '82 and Seth Solomonow (Viking; $28; ebook, $14.99). As New York City's transportation commissioner, Sadik-Khan transformed the streets of one of the world's greatest, toughest cities into dynamic spaces safe for pedestrians and bikers. Her approach was dramatic and effective: Simply painting a part of the street to make it into a plaza or bus lane not only made the street safer, but also lessened congestion and increased foot traffic, which improved the bottom line of businesses. Breaking the street into its component parts, Streetfight demonstrates, with step-by-step visuals, how to rewrite the underlying "source code" of a street, with pointers on how to add protected bike paths, improve crosswalk space, and provide visual cues to reduce speeding. Sadik-Khan includes examples of how this new way to read the streets has already made its way around the world, including pocket parks in Mexico City and Los Angeles; more pedestrian-friendly streets in Auckland and Buenos Aires; and innovative bike-lane designs and plazas in Indianapolis and San Francisco.
Social Movements and the Indian Diaspora, by Movindri Reddy (Routledge; $160; ebook, $54.95). With the elevation of Islam and Muslim transnational networks in international affairs—from the rise of Al Qaeda to the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East—the study of diasporas and transnational identities has become more relevant. Using case studies from Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad, and South Africa, Reddy explores the diaspora identities and impact of social movements on politics and nationalism among the indentured Indian diaspora. It analyzes the way in which diasporas are defined by themselves and others, and the types of social movements they participate in, showing how these are critical indicators of the threat they are perceived to pose. The book examines the notions of national and trans-national identity, and how they are determined by the placement of diasporas in the transnational locality. Reddy joined the Oxy faculty in 1996 and is associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs.
The China Path to Economic Transition and Development, by Yinxing Hong; translated by Xiao-huang Yin (Springer; $179). After experiencing a remarkable economic rise over the last 30 years, China now faces the challenge of switching the drivers of its economic growth. The path has not been an easy one, and many challenges lie ahead. Is there a specific Chinese model? How did the country transition from a Soviet-style economic structure to one that is more open to market influences and the global market? In 15 essays, Hong (a renowned Chinese scholar) provides insights to these and other key questions. The essays cover the challenges involved in transition and how the market-oriented reforms progressed; what the consequences of the transition were for public goods provision; and how China opened up its economic system. The essays in Part 2 address the remaining challenges facing rural areas trying to develop a more consumer-driven economic base, and how to effectively modify the model of economic development. This book provides a sound basis for policymakers and scholars alike, as well as anyone who wants to get an insider's view of the progress and challenges faced by China's economic development. Xiao-huang Yin is professor and chair of American studies at Occidental.
Surfing in the Movies: A Critical History, by John Engle '72 M'75 (McFarland; $39.95; ebook, $24.95). Surfing has fascinated filmmakers since Thomas Edison shot footage of Waikiki beachboys in 1906. Before the 1950s surf craze, surfing showed up in travelogues or as exotic background for studio features. The arrival of Gidget (1959) on the big screen swept the sport into popular culture, but surfer-filmmakers were already featuring the day's best surfers in self-narrated two-reelers. Hollywood and independent filmmakers have produced about three dozen surf films in the last half-century, including the frothy Beach Party movies, Point Break (1991), and Chasing Mavericks (2012). From Bud Browne's earliest efforts to The Endless Summer (1966), Riding Giants (2004), and today's YouTube videos, over 1,000 movies have celebrated the stoke. This first full-length study of surf movies gives critical attention to hundreds of the most important films. Engle is a professor of literature and film at the University of Toulon.
"Run Run," by Rachel West '15 (available at iTunes and streaming platforms). After taking the stage at Springfest 2015 (alongside headliner Tinashe) and graduating from Oxy as a critical theory and social justice major, West is pursuing her "wildest dreams" of a music career in Los Angeles. The Portland, Ore., native started writing her own songs at age 10 and was recording music in a classmate's garage as a high school senior. After getting a taste of studio life recording demos, she started working on her debut EP, Aurum, in 2014 with producer Tadjh Brooks. As her debut single, "Orange," rippled across the Oxy campus, she created an online campaign to fund a music video for the EP's title song (released in November 2014). West has since performed live with such artists as Young Thug, Wale, and Lupe Fiasco. "Run Run" is the lead single from West's second EP, which is due later this year (rachelwestofficial.com).