Welcome the beginning of Spring by ditching the heavy coats and checking out some new books. March is a big month for us here at the Press, and we have a plethora of new titles coming out:
Eminent critic Achille Mbembe reevaluates history and racism, offering a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness—from the Atlantic slave trade to the present—to show how the conjoining of the biological fiction of race with definitions of Blackness have been and continue to be used to uphold oppression in his latest, Critique of Black Reason.
In Illegible Will, Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance to examine the absence of black women’s will from that archive, showing that alternative critical imaginings juxtaposed against traditional historical research can help to locate where agency and will may reside.
Tina Campt’s Listening to Images explores a way of listening to photography by engaging with lost archives of state identification photographs of Afro-diasporan people taken between the late 1800s and the present, showing how to hear the quiet refusal emanating from these photos originally intended to dehumanize and police their subjects.
Lalaie Ameeriar, in Downwardly Global, follows the experiences of immigrant Pakistani women in Toronto who—despite being skilled, white-collar workers—suffer high levels of unemployment and poverty and who are advised by government-sanctioned worker programs to conform to an embodied form of multiculturalism that privileges whiteness and erases difference.
Energy without Conscience sees David McDermott Hughes investigate why climate change is not yet a moral issue by examining the history of energy use in Trinidad and Tobago. Drawing parallels between Trinidad’s history of slavery and its oil industry, Hughes shows how treating oil as “ordinary” prevents us from making the moral choice to abandon it.
In Hydraulic City, Nikhil Anand explores the politics of Mumbai’s water infrastructure to demonstrate how citizenship and the rights through which to make demands on the state for public services emerges through the relations between residents, plumbers, politicians, engineers, and the 3000 miles of pipe that bind them.
Providing an overview of Japanese media theory from the 1910s to the present, Media Theory in Japan introduces English-language readers to Japan’s rich body of theoretical and conceptual work on media for the first time, challenging media theory’s Eurocentric formation and perspective and redefining its location and practice.
In Mothering Through Precarity, Julie A. Wilson and Emily Chivers Yochim explore how working- and middle-class mothers of young children negotiate difficulties of holding a family together during difficulties such as job loss, health scares, and weakening social services through their everyday engagement with digital media.
In Afro-Atlantic Flight, Michelle D. Commander traces how black American artists, intellectuals, and travelers envision literal and figurative flight back to Africa through speculative literature and film and travel to cultural heritage sites as means to create a sense of homecoming, belonging, and connection with their ancestors, spiritual realm, and Africa.
Attiya Ahmad, in Everyday Conversions, examines the practice of conversion to Islam by South Asian migrant domestic workers in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region and how these women’s conversions stem from an ongoing process rooted in their everyday experiences as migrant workers rather than a clean break from their preexisting lives.
Addressing a diverse set of improvised art and music forms—from jazz and cinema to dance and literature—Improvisation and Social Aesthetics traces how the social, political, and the aesthetic relate within the context of improvisation.
The War on Sex‘s contributors outline the current war on sex, in which—despite the expansion of sexual liberties in the United States—sex has become the target of ever-expanding regulation and control, from sex offender registries to the criminalization of HIV.
The edited collection Crumpled Paper Boat is an exploration of the possibilities and limits of a literary anthropology that bends the conventions of ethnographic voice and form to engage with writing as a material practice rather than a transparent representational medium.
Noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans and artist ADÁL analyze the selfie and its role in contemporary life by exploring it in the context of the history of Western self-portraiture, mythology, literature, art, and philosophy, in I Love My Selfie.
With a mix of ethnography and social theory, the contributors to Competing Responsibilities challenge contemporary understandings of responsibility in political, social, and ethical life by showing how neoliberalism’s reification of the “responsible subject” masks the myriad forms of individual and collective responsibility that people engage with in their everyday lives.
The contributors to Critique and Postcritique evaluate literary critique’s structural, methodological, and political potentials and limitations while assessing the merits of the post-critical turn and exploring a range of alternate methods of literary criticism that may be better suited to the intellectual and political challenges of the present.
In Revolutionary Nativism, Maggie Clinton traces the history and cultural politics of the fascist organizations operating under the umbrella of the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) in the 1920s and 1930s, showing how the GMD’s rightward shift was based on a nativist discourse that emphasized Confucianism’s compatibility with industrial modernism.
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