Biblio file, 2013-2014

 

Vakunta---Speak-CamfranglaisYou’ve probably never heard of the pidgin language Camfranglais, but it is gradually changing cultural and political life in the west central African Republic of Cameroon, ruled for more than three decades by the same authoritarian president. A combination of French, English, and indigenous languages, Camfranglais plays a central role in two new books by Assistant Professor Peter Vakunta, a native of Cameroon who teaches French in UIndy’s Department of Modern Languages. One work, published in December by the Cameroon-based Langaa Research and Publishing, is an anthology of Vakunta’s poems in the language titled Speak Camfranglais pour un Renouveau Onglais, with translates to “Speak Camfranglais for a Cameroonian Renewal.” “It’s a hybrid language started by high school students who wanted to speak about things that are not entirely polite, so the school officials and their parents would not understand,” Vakunta explains. “This is no longer just a language of the streets. It has now become a language of literature.”It is also a language of resistance, despite its roots in the post-World War I colonization of the area by the British and French. Since surfacing in the 1970s, Camfranglais has become a channel by which artists and activists can evade government censorship and speak to the common people.

Vakunta exploreVakunta---Life-and-Timess the legacy of one such artist in his latest book, The Life and Times of a Cameroonian Icon: Tribute to Lapiro de Mbanga Ngata Man, published in April by Langaa. Lapiro de Mbanga, who died in March, was a guitarist and singer in the local makossa musical style who used his popularity to criticize government policy and corruption. He was imprisoned for three years after his song “Constitution constipée” (“Constipated Constitution”) became the anthem for anti-government protests in 2008. He was released to exile in the United States, and Vakunta traveled to New York in 2012 to interview him. “He was very anti-establishment, hated corruption, hated the rape of democracy,” says Vakunta, who has posted the entire two-hour interview on YouTube. When Lapiro died in March, Vakunta’s publisher asked him to compile his notes and previous writings into a book, which also includes transcriptions of many of the artist’s songs. “I had a ton of stuff,” says Vakunta, whose prolific output also includes short stories and novels. His two latest works, and many others, are available through Amazon.

Real-World-Economics-coverThe global economy has grown so complicated and interconnected that small changes can unleash major shocks and any predictions are likely to miss the mark, according to a new book by Assistant Professor of Business Mark Akers. Only through flexibility and resilience can businesses and communities thrive amid constant change, says Akers, whose long private- and public-sector résumé includes serving as economic development director for the Indiana Department of Commerce. In the aptly titled Real-World Economics: Complex and Messy from the University of Indianapolis Press, he argues that, in an age of global trade and instant communication, traditional mathematics-based economic models have lost much of their value in guiding public policy decisions. “Knowing the difficulty of predicting future economic conditions and movements, we must develop our ability to bounce back from unforeseen negative events,” says Akers, who teaches economics and international business, often for UIndy’s joint-degree programs in Ningbo and Shaoxing, China. “We can build resilience into our economies by investing in communications and technology infrastructure, improving our education systems, and maintaining vital cities and towns with responsive local governments.” A self-described “geek” and voracious reader on economic theory, he says his book is an effort to synthesize the current thinking for a general audience and “just explain this in English.” Akers says his government work, which included managing the state’s economic ties in Europe and Asia, gave him many opportunities to see how top-down economic theory falls short in describing actual events. A guiding metaphor in Real-World Economics is to imagine economic systems as piles of sand that repeatedly collapse and reorganize themselves as new grains are added, a concept Akers borrows from economist and writer Joshua Cooper Ramo. Akers’ previous writings include the 2010 book Indiana (IN) Decision: Hoosiers at an Economic Crossroads, also from University of Indianapolis Press.

Sondhaus---The-Great-War-At-Sea---dustjacket-proofThis year, as the world marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Professor Lawrence Sondhaus is back with a new book on the subject. Due in August from Cambridge University Press, The Great War at Sea: A Naval History of the First World War follows the evolution of ship design, wireless communication, and firepower during campaigns in the Atlantic Ocean and the North, Adriatic, Baltic, and Mediterranean seas. But Sondhaus also brings a broader perspective to his 12th book. “I try to explain not just why navies mattered in the course of the war, but also why the naval dimension of the war mattered in the broader evolution of warfare at sea,” says the chair of UIndy’s Department of History & Political Science. “The book ended up being more than just an account of the action at sea between 1914 and 1918. It is a history of naval power in the era of the First World War, from the prewar arms races through to the postwar naval disarmament treaties.” Sondhaus is known for his expertise in understanding the war from the perspectives of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and other central European nations. In fact, he will be the keynote speaker at an October anniversary conference sponsored by the Austrian and Serbian governments. “In comparison to other general English-language books on the topic, my account places greater emphasis on the strategies and operations of the Central Powers,” he says. “That reflects my broader conclusion that, at sea as well as on land, the First World War may be conceptualized as a series of Allied reactions to the actions of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and my conviction that understanding their actions is key to understanding the war as a whole.” The Great War at Sea is aimed more at general readers than Sondhaus’s previous work, the 2011 textbook World War I: The Global Revolution, also published by Cambridge University Press.

Harris-book---Lean-manufacturingLean manufacturing is something of a family business for Associate Professor Chris Harris, who has just published his fifth book on the subject. Like its predecessors, the new tome—Capitalizing on Lean Production Systems to Win New Business: Creating a Lean and Profitable New Product Portfolio—was co-authored with his father, Rick, owner of a consulting firm. “It’s not the kind you’d sit on a beach and read,” admits Harris, who teaches supply chain management in UIndy’s School of Business. “It has a very specific audience. It is geared toward the practitioner.” Harris had seen the manufacturing industry from various perspectives—including line worker, production supervisor, and purchasing agent—when he joined his father’s firm, Harris Lean Systems, and began sharing his expertise. The job found him teaching and helping to implement lean manufacturing and lean enterprise principles for companies throughout the Americas and Europe.

So what does “lean” mean to him? “‘Lean’ is simply removing wasteful and unnecessary steps from a process while concentrating on adding value for the customer,” Harris says. The Harrises published their first book, Making Materials Flow, in 2003, winning the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research and selling 30,000 copies to date. Their series offers practical advice for managers, with each new release building on the previous work. “The books have kind of followed a progression,” Harris says. “The biggest compliment I get about my books is that they’re readable.” Writing is a lot of work, however. “I’ve written my ‘last’ book five times now,” Harris jokes.