New Books in December

As the weather gets chilly, it’s the perfect time to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and curl up with a good book. Consider adding some of these December releases to your winter reading list:

The Rio de Janeiro Reader

Spanning a period of over 450 years, The Rio de Janeiro Reader traces Rio’s history, culture, and politics. It contains a mix of primary documents—many appearing in English for the first time—that present the “Marvelous City” in all its complexity, importance, and intrigue. Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Rio’s hosting of the 2016 Olympics make this an especially timely volume.

In Zhang Hongtu: Expanding Visions of a Shrinking World, leading Chinese experts review the life, career, and artistic development of the pioneering Chinese artist Zhang Hongtu, whose diverse works speak to China’s past and present, the relationship between Asia and the West, and canonical Western art.

What Is a World?In What Is a World? Pheng Cheah draws on accounts of the world as a temporal process from Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Arendt, and Derrida, and analyzes several postcolonial novels to articulate a normative theory of world literature’s capacity to open up new possibilities for remaking the world.

Published in English for the first time, Michel Chion’s Sound addresses the philosophical questions that inform our encounters with sound, stimulating our thinking about being open to new sounds and to explore the links between language, technology, culture, and hearing.

In Waking from the Dream, David L. Chappell provides a sweeping history of the fight to keep the civil rights movement alive in the decades following Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Junot Diaz and the Decolonial ImaginationThe interdisciplinary collection Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination considers how Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz’s aesthetic and activist practice reflect an unprecedented maturation of a shift in American letters toward a hemispheric and planetary culture. Career spanning, the essays examine the intersections of race, Afro-Latinidad, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, and power in Díaz’s work.

In Negro Soy Yo Marc D. Perry explores how Cuban raperos (black-identified rappers) in Havana craft notions of black Cuban identity and racial citizenship in the face of continuing racism and marginalization during an era in which the Cuban economy, society, and nationhood have been under constant flux.

A Nervous StateNancy Rose Hunt tells the affective history of the convergence of biopolitics and colonial violence in the Belgian Congo in A Nervous State. By showing how the shifts and interactions between the biopolitical state and the nervous state drove the colonial government’s actions toward the Congolese, Hunt provides a new model for theorizing colonialism.

In Gesture and Power Yolanda Covington-Ward examines the everyday embodied practices and performances of the BisiKongo people of the lower Congo to show how their gestures, dances, and spirituality are critical in mobilizing social and political action.

Paul Kockelman, in The Chicken and the Quetzal, tells the cultural history of a village in Guatemala’s highland cloud forests and its relation to conservation movements and eco-tourism to create a theoretical framework for understanding the entanglement of values as they are created, interpreted, and reconfigured.


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