Our Fall Sale continues through Monday, October 2. Still thinking about what you want to buy for 40% off? Check out some of our editors’ recommendations.
Courtney Berger, Editor
I highly recommend Michelle Murphy’s The Economization of Life. This is a short and incisive critique of the mechanisms by which populations have been economized and the value of lives have been calculated—logics that allow certain lives to thrive while others are devalued, contained, or destroyed. Murphy helps us to see the connection between forms of large-scale economization—such as the invention of the Gross Domestic Product in the 1940s and 50s—and initiatives like recent “invest in a girl” programs that link financial investment in and control over marginalized girls’ and women’s reproductive abilities to global economic prosperity.
For folks in American studies, take a look at Brian Russell Roberts and Michelle Ann Stephens, Archipelagic American Studies. The editors and contributors to this volume seek to “decontinentalize” American studies by shifting our perspective away from the continental space of the Americas to the islands, oceans, and shorelines that have frequently been regarded as its periphery, but which have been central to the ways that empire has been formulated, consolidated, and resisted.
And, speaking of oceans. I can’t surf, but nevertheless I was absorbed by the essays in The Critical Surf Studies Reader, edited by Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman. The collection looks at surfing, not just as a sport, but as a practice shaped by racial, colonial, gendered, and indigenous histories. For academically minded surf enthusiasts and scholars alike.
Gisela Fosado, Editor
Keith Gilyard’s Louise Thompson Patterson: A Life of Struggle for Justice is a beautifully written biography of an extraordinary woman who was a central cultural and political figure of the black Left. Adding to other recent biographies of important African-American activists, that book underscores the centrality of Black women within the most powerful social revolutions of the twentieth century.
Susan Coutin’s Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence builds on Coutin’s decades-long work with undocumented immigrants from Latin America. Exiled Home centers the experiences of youth from El Salvador, including many DACA recipients, and others who were eventually deported after living most of their lives in the United States.
Mark Becker’s The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Case Files offers a fascinating view into the FBI’s surveillance in Latin America during the Second Word War, offering unique documentation of local leftist movements that otherwise left little documentation of their clandestine activities and opening a window to the nature of US imperial ambitions in the area.
Everyone should know by now that they need the books by Christina Sharpe, Stuart Hall, Ann Stoler, Donna Haraway, and Achille Mbembe. And Greg Tate, John Corbett, Kellie Jones, and Tim Lawrence. Here are some new books you might have missed:
Eric Plemons’s The Look of a Woman: Facial Feminization Surgery and the Aims of Trans- Medicine is a smart book that changes how we think about trans and gender, by bringing theory out of a practice.
Listening to Images by Tina Campt is a beautiful short book that teases theory, politics, and futurities out of lost and buried photographs.
In The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen: Reconstructing Native Hawaiian Intellectual History, the brilliant Hawaiian theorist Noenoe Silva asks what might intellectual history look like, if thought from an indigenous point of view?
Competing Responsibilities, edited by Susanna Trnka and Catherine Trundle, represents a new turn in the conversation about self-governance sparked by Foucault’s understanding of neoliberalism and biopolitics. This set of essays, mostly ethnographic, help us think about how we can be responsible to and for each other. It’s an important critique of neoliberalism that moves beyond nostalgia for the welfare state to imagine care and accountability together.
Louise Meintjes knows how to listen. In her beautiful book Dust of the Zulu, full of pictures by South African photographer T.J. Lemon, she provides a full sensory account of Zulu men (and women!) making community through the competitive dance/performance of ngoma. Meintjes traces how performers and audiences reimagine post-apartheid masculinity through sound and performance.
Michelle Commander’s Afro-Atlantic Flight moves through film, literature, and ethnographic accounts of tourism to show the many ways that members of the Black diaspora have imagined and enacted freedom through literal and figurative flights back to Africa. While the book shows how individual returns have often been unsatisfying, it also shows the revolutionary possibilities of pan-diasporic speculation.