Our Fall Sale continues through Monday, October 1. Still thinking about what you want to buy for 50% off? Check out some of our editors’ recommendations.
Courtney Berger, Senior Editor & Editorial Department Manager
Bianca Williams’s The Pursuit of Happiness is a beautifully written ethnography of African American women who travel to Jamaica in search of the love, friendship, happiness, and spiritual connection that they isn’t readily available to them in the U.S. She traces the complex transnational affective ties that these women develop through their connections to Jamaica and to one another.
In Atmospheric Things Derek McCormack uses a commonplace object—the balloon—to think about how atmospheres are rendered knowable, both in their material and affective forms. Moving from hot air balloons to Disney Pixar’s Up to Google’s Project Loon, McCormack considers the balloon as a technology of captivation and as means for giving shape to feelings, experiences, and conditions that often just at the edges of our perception.
Moving from air to sea, Across Oceans of Law traces the saga of the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying Punjabi migrants that was refused entry to Vancouver Harbour in 1914. Renisa Mawani deftly uses the story of the ship, of the enigmatic anticolonialist Gurdit Singh who chartered the ship, and of the legal battles that ensued to illustrate the ways that imperial power—and the forms of racism and anti-immigration policy it engenders—is formulated and enacted in the juridical space of the sea.
And, finally, back to land, Brenna Bhandar’s Colonial Lives of Property discloses the ways that property law has served as a foundation for colonial appropriation of land. Bhandar shows how modern formulations of private property have been mobilized to legitimate indigenous dispossession, to install racialized regimes of ownership in settler colonies, and to promote ongoing forms of racial capitalism.
Gisela Fosado, Editor
Murder on Shades Mountain by Melanie S. Morrison is a gripping must-read for anyone who wants to understand the perversity of white Southern racial culture and resistance to Jim Crow injustices. The story is a testament to the courageous predecessors of present-day movements for Black lives.
Arturo Escobar’s new path-breaking book Designs for the Pluriverse presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design’s world-making and life-changing capacity toward ways of existing that are in line with grass-roots social movements towards justice.
Reclaiming the Discarded by Kathleen Millar is a beautifully written ethnography of Jardim Gramacho, a sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where roughly two thousand self-employed workers known as catadores collect recyclable materials. Millar shows how the way of life of these catadores calls into question normative assumptions of wage labor and what it means to live a good life. This prize-winning book is super accessible and great for teaching.
Sandra Korn, Assistant Editor
In these times of political turmoil, I’ve been feeling how important it is to turn to our ancestors for inspiration and guidance. Jane Lazarre’s memoir The Communist and the Communist’s Daughter resonates with my own family history. She writes of her father, born Itzrael Lazarovitz in the Yiddish-speaking old country, who spent his adult life in the US as a Communist Party activist. Even while Lazarre grapples with her father’s radical ideology, she honors his principled internationalism—he fought fascists in the Spanish Civil War—and his tireless anti-racist and pro-labor union activism.
Stephen Dillon’s Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State brings into view some other inspirational ancestors: queer activists in the 1970s who challenged the rising wave of incarceration. Dillon looks at cultural work by Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, the Weather Underground, and other groups of women and queers, often while they were in prison themselves. These activists used writing, art, and films to understand and resist the neoliberal-carceral state.
I am also drawn to two new books that consider emergent conservative religious communities, both now defunct due to leadership scandals. In Desire Work, Melissa Hackman presents an ethnography of an ex-gay Pentecostal ministry in Capetown, South Africa, where men labored to discipline themselves into heterosexual masculinity in an effort to confirm to Christian values. And Jessica Johnson’s Biblical Porn interrogates how evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll used the affective power of his teachings on biblical sexuality and gender roles to build up a mass following for the Mars Hill Church.
Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director
If one hasn’t already, this is the perfect time to pick up Fred Moten’s brilliant and capacious “consent not to be a single being” trilogy, most recently hailed by New York magazine (and Vulture) as one of 100 books in a “A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon” – a list otherwise centered on literary fiction. If you only picked up Black and Blur, then you need the complementary but differently focused Stolen Life and The Universal Machine.
Imani Perry has just published a trifecta of her own (from three different publishers) and I’m very excited about our contribution, Vexy Thing, a feminist rethinking of the persistence and forms of patriarchy as it persists through so many different intersectional moments of modernity.
I’m also thrilled about the long-awaited publication of Dionne Brand’s The Blue Clerk, at once an embodied conversation of author and self-editor, and a reflection of Black Atlantic and colonial histories.
One of those Black and colonial histories is portrayed in complex and gorgeous fashion in Victorian Jamaica, edited by Tim Barringer and Wayne Modest. The story of Jamaica from the moment of emancipation through to the early 20th century told in pieces by contributors including Catherine Hall and Krista Thompson with 270 full color illustrations.
Finally, I wanted to mention Juno Salazar Parreñas’s Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation. I think of this brilliant book as a model for future studies the way it seamlessly brings together colonial histories, histories of science, interspecies relations, gender, and possible planetary futures in one engaging study.
Now that you have all these great recommendations, get shopping! Enter coupon code FALL50 at checkout. All in-stock books and journal issues are on sale, but journal subscriptions, t-shirts, and society memberships are not. The sale ends Monday, October 1 at 11:59 pm Eastern time.