It’s October and fall is finally, officially, here. We have quite a long list of books coming out this month! This means, of course, lots of new reading material to consume along with a piece of pumpkin pie or mug of apple cider. Here are the (varied, many) books to watch for this month:
Nadia Sablin’s lyrical and evocative photographs in Aunties:The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila capture the small details and daily rituals of her septuagenarian aunts in a small Russian village. 7th winner of the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography, these color photographs document the lives of Sablin’s two aunts, sisters in Northwest Russia. Combining observation and invention, biography and autobiography, and thoughtful meditations on aging and belonging, Sablin’s quiet and lyrical photographs capture the small details and daily rituals of her aunts’ surprisingly colorful and dreamlike days.
In Who Counts? The Mathematics of Death and Life after Genocide Diane M. Nelson presents a complex reading of mathematics and the contested and myriad ways it is used by the Guatemalan state to marginalize indigenous populations as well as its use by indigenous peoples to critique systemic inequalities.
Conversing with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, in Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds, Marisol de la Cadena explores the entanglements and partial connections between indigenous and non-indigenous worlds, and the ways in which indigenous knowing both include and exceed modern and non-modern practices.
In Queer Marxism in Two Chinas Petrus Liu demonstrates how queer Marxist critics in China use queer theory as a non-liberal alternative to Western models of queer emancipation, and in doing so, he revises current understandings of what queer theory is, does, and can be.
addicted.pregnant.poor is an ethnography of addicted, pregnant, and poor women living in daily-rent hotels in San Francisco, Kelly Ray Knight examines the myriad struggles these women face, as well as their encounters with social and medical institutions. She asks: what kinds of futures are possible for these women?
In How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money, a primer on the history of money, Bill Maurer explores the implications of how technology is changing how we use money and argues that understanding and considering how we would like to pay gives us insight into determining how we would like to live.
Gerald M. Sider weaves together stories from his civil rights activism, his childhood, and his experiences as an anthropologist to investigate the dynamic ways race has been constructed and lived in America since the 1960s in Race Becomes Tomorrow: North Carolina and the Shadow of Civil Rights.
Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork and postcolonial theory, in Dilemmas of Difference: Indigenous Women and the Limits of Postcolonial Development Policy Sarah A. Radcliffe centers the experiences of rural indigenous women in Ecuador to show how the efforts of development agencies to reduce social and economic equality fail because they do not reckon with the legacies of colonialism.
The contributors to Speaking of the Self: Gender, Performance, and Autobiography in South Asia, edited by Anshu Malhotra and Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, interrogate the varied ways in which a diverse group of mostly female writers from South Asia—from a seventeenth-century Mughal princess to twentieth century Pakistani novelists—construct and articulate their subjectivity through their autobiographical memoirs, poetry, novels, and diaries.
In The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971, an ethnography of sexual violence during the 1971 Bangladesh War for Independence, Nayanika Mookherjee shows how the public celebration of the hundreds of thousands of rape victims—called “birangonas” by the state—works to homogenize and silence the experiences of these women.
In Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging Minh-ha T. Pham examines the phenomenal rise and influence of elite Asian personal style superbloggers such as Susie Bubble and Bryanboy. Situating blogging within the historical context of gendered racial fashion work and global consumer capitalism, Pham analyzes how race, class, gender, and sexuality affect bloggers’ work, opportunities, and rewards.
Using continental philosophy and critical theory, in Virtual Memory: Time-Based Art and the Dream of Digitality Homay King returns to the original meaning of the virtual—which denotes a potential on the cusp of becoming—to offer a new way to understand how contemporary digital art transcends distinctions between digital and analog, abstract and tangible, disembodiment and lived experience.
In Islam and Secularity: The Future of Europe’s Public Sphere Nilüfer Göle examines the transforming relationship between Islam and Western secular modernity and the impact of the Muslim presence in Europe. She demonstrates that Islam and secularism are mutually constitutive, constantly changing, and that the presence of Islam unsettles dominant narratives of Western modernism.
Making a case for the use of affect theory in religious studies, in Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power Donovan O. Schaefer challenges the notion that religion is inextricably linked to language and cognition, contending instead that religion is primarily driven by affect and that non-human animals have the capacity to practice religion.
In Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area Jerry K. Jacka explores how the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea’s Porgeran highlands struggle to create meaningful lives in the midst of the extreme social conflict and environmental degradation brought on by commercial gold mining.
Providing a lively snapshot of the state of art and social justice today, Entry Points: The Vera List Center Field Guide on Art and Social Justice, No. 1, edited by Carin Kuoni and Chelsea Haines, contains essays that map the field of art and social justice, artist pages, and an in-depth analysis of Theaster Gates’s The Dorchester Projects, winner of the inaugural Vera List Prize for Art and Politics.