August is off to a great start, and we’ve got a lot of new books to look forward to this month. Here is a quick preview of what to keep an eye out for:
In his ethical autobiography, Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values, James A. Joseph—who was active in the Civil Rights Movement, an executive of a Fortune 500 company, the Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa—shares the development of his philosophies of morality and leadership.
An original theory of power, Brian Massumi explains in Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception how the logic of preemption governs U.S. military policy in the War on Terror. Threats are now felt into reality, which makes preemptive action necessary. The logic of preemption’s working out creates the self-sustaining force of ontopower.
Collecting almost four decades of writings by feminist activist Ann Snitow, The Feminism of Uncertainty: A Gender Diary includes well-known essays, such as “A Gender Diary,” along with pieces appearing here for the first time.
In Gut Feminism, Elizabeth A. Wilson shakes feminist theory from its resistance to biological and pharmaceutical data and urges that now is the time for feminism to critically engage with biology. Doing so will reanimate feminist theory, strengthening its ability to address depression, affect, gender, and feminist politics.
Jalane D. Schmidt’s Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba shows how the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, discovered in 1612 and known as Cachita, is a potent and contested symbol of Cuban national identity. The book analyzes the five times over the last eighty years Cachita has been celebrated in Cuba’s urban streets. Schmidt provides a comprehensive treatment of Cuban religions, history, and culture, interpreted through the prism of Cachita.
Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Henri Bergson is a great commentary written on philosopher Henri Bergson. Jankélévitch’s analysis covers all aspects of Bergson’s thought, from metaphysics, emotion and temporality, to psychology and biology. This edition also includes supplementary essays on Bergson by Jankélévitch, Bergson’s letters to Jankélévitch, and an editor’s introduction.
In Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers, and Excitable Matter, Natasha Myers shows in this ethnography how scientists who build three-dimensional models of proteins use their senses and bodies to create, represent, and evaluate otherwise imperceptible molecules. These modelers often consider matter to be made up of living, moving, and sometimes breathing entities, and Myers’ study of them rethinks the objectivity of science.
In Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation, Nicholas Sammond argues that early cartoons are a key components to blackface minstrelsy and that cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat are not like minstrels, but are minstrels. Cartoons have played on racial anxieties, naturalized racial formations, committed symbolic racial violence, and help perpetuate blackface minstrelsy.
Nadia Ellis theorizes the experience of belonging to the African diaspora as living within the space between the land and the soul in Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora. She uses a utopian concept of queerness and analyses of African American and Caribbean writers, musicians, and artists to show how diaspora is a mode of feeling and belonging.
The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism, an ethnography by Liisa H. Malkki, reverses the study of humanitarian aid, focusing on aid workers rather than aid’s recipients. She shows how aid serves the needs of its recipients and providers.