Q&A with Monique Moultrie, author of Passionate and Pious

Monique MoultrieMonique Moultrie, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University, is the author of the new book Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality. In the book, she explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women’s sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God.

How would you describe your personal history and relationship with the evangelical church, and especially with the televangelist Juanita Bynum, whose ministry you discuss at length in Passionate and Pious?

I was reared in a conservative Christian church (a Baptist church) in a rural community that was a model of evangelicalism and took quite seriously the Christian message to evangelize. I went to Jerry Falwell rallies as a teen and actively participated in Christian organizations/clubs. When I entered college I first became aware of televangelist Juanita Bynum even though as a teen I had practiced purity as was expected from my evangelical model. What I remember about watching Bynum’s “No More Sheets” sermon for the first time in a small group setting with a group of other women was that I remembered many things clicking from the sermon. It made sense on a very guttural level. I also think the sermon offered voice to a lot of the personal experiences of women in the room. Women were trying to live out their faith lives in ways that came into contrast with their own sexual needs, desires, and actual realities. Later as I watched events in Bynum’s personal life unfold, I began to wonder if Bynum was the model exemplar or if in fact this was a model that others could hold onto and participate in the same way.

After personally following Bynum for years she became the topic of my doctoral dissertation as I set out to explain the sexual dilemmas facing black women of faith and why/how they were influenced by No More Sheets. My dissertation used ethnographic research and cultural analysis to examine the authority of evangelical sexual messages produced in religious media like her televangelism. I continued to follow Bynum through her marriage, divorce, and subsequent ministries beyond her initial No More Sheets ministry although the book really only focused on this first step.

How did your background in the evangelical church—your experience in the community and as a consumer of its messages about sexuality—help (or hinder) you as you conducted research?

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I mention in the book that part of my background in the evangelical church meant that a lot of this rhetoric was something I was used to, as I already knew the lingo and phrases. One of the early book reviewers’ comments was that the book was full of a lot of insider language as I described the communities. I was really such an insider that I needed to go back with the editors to get help determining what words/phrases/categories needed to be defined for those outside of these communities. Thus, in this initial way I had a natural in because I was formed in black church settings. I was also familiar with religious media because I grew up watching televangelism and in many ways the evangelical communities I was studying just made sense to me. It made entering into research much easier as I knew what types of questions to ask to get a response. At times, I could even anticipate responses. I could be understood by my audience and in ways that gave me an advantage since I didn’t have to work as hard to earn trust. Having familiarity in their settings aided my research. I didn’t have to be vouched for in many ways and specifically online this helped when people can’t look at you in your eyes and get a feel for whether you seem authentic or not. Being online in many of these accountability groups and participating online it really helped to know the community’s language, theology, worship, etc.

On the other hand, if my insider status did hinder my research, it was because I was very compassionate towards them. I really spent a lot of time thinking of my research questions. I think a lot of what gets written about evangelicals treats them as if they are cultural dupes. They are written about as if they lack intellect or are overruled by emotionality or that they are not making conscious decisions. I knew that not to be the case so I wanted that to show in my own research. I wanted to highlight the very tough decisions that are being made daily in each of these women’s lives where they embody very complicated contemporary realities where being celibate until marriage for a black woman often means participating in celibacy movements for more than half of their lives. Young girls start in groups in their teen years and they participate in college groups and stats show that black women marry much later; they marry much closer to age 50 so that’s a long time to participate in these movements! I wanted to be compassionate towards this experience because I understood this struggle. I also understood their deep desire for sexual relationship and faith to align. I wanted that to come forward in my research. In some ways, my tenderness towards their plight may have obfuscated my ability to be as critical as I may have wanted to.

As a trained academic, I was clear in my goal of illuminating my ethnographic subjects’ experiences while at the same time offering a womanist corrective. My constructive sections are where my critical side shows. In my goal of not just being objective in presenting these various ministries but to humanize them and these women’s experiences I did take a very critical persona. I did mention in the book that my own rearing in a conservative Christian background gave me messages that privileged monogamy and committed relationships as more normative. When I looked back at my questions related to non-monogamous relationships like hook up culture, my own background tainted those sets of questions. I didn’t really presume that non-monogamy would be the norm. Persons talked with me about their experiences with multiple partners, but often it came out as not their own experience but something that they were reporting from others. When I went through the transcripts, I think a large part of that may have been the way that I crafted the question that probably presumed monogamy. If they were in a multiple-partner relationship my questions presumed that this wasn’t what they intended as a mature relationship. Yet, I know for some of the participants that having multiple partners was not a stage or some immature sexual agency. Having multiple partners was deemed as normative as having one partner and so that’s definitely one way when I looked back at the research I saw a hindrance. Thankfully I became aware of this before the book went to print but certainly as I did the interviews I wasn’t as in tune with this unconscious privileging.

Your book discusses the many messages black women receive from the evangelical church: submission, modesty, abstinence outside of marriage, heterosexuality, etc. What tools does your book provide for shifting these messages or encouraging black women to reclaim their sexual agency?

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Flash Sale: Save 50% on all Art & Photography Books

FLASH50_SaleDec2017_200x300_72dpiWe’re excited to announce a special three-day Flash Sale on all of our in-stock art, art history, and photography books and journal issues. To claim the discount, enter the coupon code FLASH50 when checking out.

What are some of the great gift-worthy titles you can get during this sale? All of the the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize winners are included. Check out the latest winner, Test of Faith by Lauren Pond,  a deeply nuanced, personal look at serpent handling in Appalachia.

Or perhaps you’d like to order a gorgeous special issue of NKA_38_prour journal Nka, such as “Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West.” Edited by Cheryl Finley and Deborah Willis, it’s full of fascinating essays and artwork. Or grab a catalog from a recent Nasher Museum of Art show, such as Miranda Lash’s and Trevor Schoonmaker’s Southern Accent, which investigates the many realities, fantasies, and myths of the South that have long captured the public’s imagination, while presenting a wide range of perspectives that create a composite portrait of southern identity through contemporary art.

If art history is more your style, check out Collective Situations, edited by Bill Kelley Jr. and Grant H. Kester, or try Jessica Horton’s Art for an Undivided Earth, about the American Indian Movement generation, or MacArthur “genius grant” awardee Kellie Jones’s most recent book, South of Pico.

Here’s the usual fine print: The discount does not apply to apparel, journals subscriptions or society memberships. You can’t order out-of-stock or not yet published titles at the discount. And you can’t combine multiple orders to maximize the discount. Regular shipping applies and all sales are final.

Hurry and shop now on dukeupress.edu because this sale ends at 11:59 pm on Friday, December 8.

Thomas Carlyle and the London Library

Thomas CarlyleThomas Carlyle’s 222nd birthday was yesterday, 4 December. In his honor, we are sharing several lectures on Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle given by Carlyle scholars Brent Kinser and David Sorensen this June at the Carlyle House in Chelsea. The event focused on Carlyle’s involvement with the London Library, the world’s greatest circulating library. Kinser and Sorensen were joined by Helen O’Neill, Librarian of the London Library.

Read the full versions of the talks from David Sorensen and Brent Kinser by selecting the titles of the lectures. We have included excerpts from the talks below.

AN EXCERPT FROM DAVID SORENSEN’S TALK, “Carlyle and the London Library

This evening we acknowledge one of Thomas Carlyle’s most noble, generous, and enduring acts of civic philanthropy: his founding of the London Library in St. James’s Square, a scheme which he first proposed in a speech that he delivered at the Freemason’s Tavern on June 24, 1840, which was reported four days later in the Examiner newspaper. It is worth rehearsing the circumstances behind this address, because they reveal the unusual combination of both personal and professional factors that prompted Carlyle to launch a campaign for the establishment of a new lending library in the center of London. Carlyle was forty-five years old when he began to formulate this plan: by this stage of his career he was the author of the Sartor Resartus and The French Revolution, a renowned public lecturer, and a committed social activist seeking to awaken the Victorian conscience to what he called “The Condition of England Question.”

In 1839 he was preparing to embark on another great historical quest, this time an edition of the letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell. His experience with the French Revolution had taught him the urgent need of a high-class lending library which would provide him with the works that he required at hand in his quiet study upstairs in this house. He was embarrassed by the want of standard reference sources, and of the difficulty of working quietly in the British Museum. At Cambridge friends procured him copies of Clarendon and Rushworth, but as journeys from Chelsea to Bloomsbury became more laborious, he was determined to try what could be done to found in London a permanent lending library of standard literature. In a letter to his mother of 13 January 1839 he wrote, “Another object that engages me a little in these last weeks is the attempt to see whether a Public Library cannot be got here in London; a thing scandalously wanted, which I have suffered from like others. There is to be some stir made in that business now, and it really looks as if it would take effect.”

AN EXCERPT FROM BRENT KINSER’S TALK, “Carlyle, Gladstone, and the Neapolitan Candidate

On 4 May 1852, the first librarian of the London Library, J. G. Cochrane (b. 1780), breathed his last. The next Day Thomas Carlyle wrote to his brother Jack with a mixture of real sadness and practical exigency: “Poor old lumbering good-natured soul, I am sad to think of him, and that we shall never see him more.— [John Edward] Jones will summon a Comee Meeting so soon as the funeral is over: I know not in the least what they mean to do; but suppose they will find it good to be in no haste, but to pause well and to examine” (CLO: TC to JAC, 5 May 1852). There would be little pause in the effort to replace Cochrane, and the drama surrounding the appointment of his successor offers fascinating insights into the relationship between two of the London Library committee’s most important and influential members: Carlyle and William Ewart Gladstone.

In May 1852 Carlyle found himself incapacitated with the flu, which greatly reduced his ability to be directly involved with the discussions surrounding the choice of the next librarian, but greatly, and for us fortunately, increased his need to negotiate the choice in letters. Because of his illness, he sent Jane to see John Forster to relay his wishes: Carlyle wanted a complete accounting of the condition of the library before any move was made to choose Cochrane’s successor. As he had told his brother, Carlyle wanted a patient, careful process to unfold. Jane returned to report a “revolution,” which Carlyle relayed to his brother on 10 May:

Forster as I knew he wd, patronised all these salutary notions, ready to swear for them on the Koran if needful; but at the same time said, there was not the least hope of getting them carried; or anything but one carried, viz. the Election of Gladstone’s Neapolitan,—whh G. and his Helpers “were stirring Heaven and Earth to bring about; and which from the prest composition of the Committee (Milman, Lyttelton, Milnes, Hallam &c, a clear majority of malleable material, some of it as soft as butter, under the hammer of a Minister in posse [with that capacity]) they were “perfectly certain” to do it. . . . Gladstone, I think with Forster, will probably succeed: but he shall not do it without one man at least insisting on having Reason and common Honesty as well as Gladstone and Charity at other men’s expense, satisfied in the matter; and protesting to a plainly audible extent against the latter amiable couple walking over the belly of the former.— Such protest I am clearly bound to; and that, I believe, will prove to be all that I can do. Of Gladstone’s Neapolitan no man, Italian or other, has ever heard the name before: from G.’s own acct to me, I figured him as some ingenuous bookish young advocate, who probably had helped G. in his Pamphlets underhand,—a useful service, but not done to the Ln Library particularly. (CLO: TC to JAC, 10 May 1852)

The underlying reason for Carlyle’s dismay seems apparent enough. As if it were not bad enough dealing with one Neapolitan librarian, Anthony Panizzi of the British Museum, Gladstone had put forward a second one to take charge of Carlyle’s beloved London Library.

 

drs-bek-ho london 2017Stay connected! Learn more about Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle and to read their many letters, visit the Carlyle Letters Online. Follow @carlyleletters for daily tweets from these prolific writers.

American Anthropological Association 2017

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Booth staffers ready to go on the first day

The 2017 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., was a great chance for us to meet authors and editors, sell books and journals to excited customers, and celebrate prize-winning books!

Our authors racked up quite a few awards at this year’s conference:

Metabolic Living by Harris Solomon and Tell Me Why My Children Died by Charles Briggs and Clara Mantini-Briggs were co-winners of the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology.

Sareeta Amrute’s Encoding Race, Encoding Class won the Diana Forsythe Prize from the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology & Computing. Plastic Bodies by Emilia Sanabria received honorable mention for this prize.

Emilia Sanabria’s Plastic Bodies also won the Michelle Rosaldo First Book Prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology. Downwardly Global by Lalaie Ameeriar was a finalist for the same prize.

Aimee Meredith Cox’s Shapeshifters won the Delmos Jones & Jagna Sharff Memorial Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of North America.

The Look of a Woman by Eric Plemons won the Ruth Benedict Prize in the Single-Authored Monograph category from the Association for Queer Anthropology.

Yolanda Covington-Ward’s Gesture and Power won the Elliott P. Skinner Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology.

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João Biehl toasts new edited collection Unfinished

Reel World by Anand Pandian won second place for the Victor Turner Prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and David McDermott Hughes’s Energy without Conscience received honorable mention for the same prize.

Everyday Conversions by Attiya Ahmad received honorable mention for the Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

Congratulations to these outstanding authors!

On Friday we enjoyed a wine reception for the new collection Unfinished: The Anthropology of Becoming with its editors João Biehl and Peter Locke.

It was exciting to see so many of our authors and editors in person. Check out the photo gallery:

 

Did you miss AAA this year? Not enough room in your luggage to carry all the books and journals you wanted? You can still take advantage of our 30% conference discount—just use coupon code AAA17 on our website through January 15.

New Books in December

It’s the season for great new books! Check out what we have coming out in December.

978-0-8223-7017-8In the beautifully illustrated Aerial Aftermaths, Caren Kaplan traces the cultural history of aerial imagery—from the first vistas provided by balloons in the eighteenth century to the sensing operations of military drones—to show how aerial imagery is key to modern visual culture and can both enforce military power and foster positive political connections.

In Biopolitics of Feeling Kyla Schuller unearths the forgotten, multiethnic sciences of impressibility—the capacity to be affected—to expose the powerful workings of sentimental biopower in the nineteenth-century United States, uncovering a vast apparatus of sensory regulation that aimed to shape the evolution of the national population.

Through the lives of religious women in colonial Lima, Nancy van Deusen explores a new understanding of the ways in which pious Catholic women engaged with material and immaterial notions of the sacred or were themselves objectified as conduits of the divine in spiritual narratives in her book Embodying the Sacred.

978-0-8223-7020-8Challenging the academic and cultural stereotypes that do not acknowledge the rhetorical capabilities of autistic people, in Authoring Autism Melanie Yergeau shows how autistics both embrace and reject the rhetorical, thereby queering the lines of rhetoric, humanity, agency, and the very essence of rhetoric itself.

Coming from a number of fields ranging from anthropology, media studies, and theology to musicology and philosophy, the contributors to Feeling Religion, edited by John Corrigananalyze the historical and contemporary entwinement of emotion, religion, spirituality, and secularism, thereby refiguring the field of religious studies and opening up new avenues of research.

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In Considering Emma Goldman Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker Emma Goldman for contemporary feminist politics, showing how the contradictory and ambivalent aspects of Goldman’s thought for feminism can be used to open new avenues for theorizing gender, sexuality, and race.

In Landscapes of Power Dana E. Powell takes an historical and ethnographic approach to understanding how a controversial coal power plant slated for development in the Navajo (Diné) Nation was defeated and, in the process of its destruction, generated the conditions for new understandings of indigenous environmentalism to emerge.

In Unthinking Mastery Julietta Singh challenges the drive toward the mastery over self and others by showing how the forms of self-mastery advocated by anticolonial thinkers like Fanon and Gandhi unintentionally reproduced colonial logic, thereby leading her to argue for a more productive human subjectivity that is not centered on concepts of mastery.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

 

Now Available from Duke University Press: T-Shirts!

We are excited to announce that in addition to all our great books and journals, you can now purchase two new t-shirts from Duke University Press.

Show the world your support for transgender rights and our journal TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly by wearing a shirt featuring artwork from the journal’s very first issue cover.

TSQ Group

You can also show the world that you know that to expose a problem is to pose a problem by wearing a Feminist Killjoy t-shirt inspired by Sara Ahmed’s book Living a Feminist Life.

Feminist Killjoy Group

We even have limited numbers of Feminist Killjoy shirts in kids’ sizes.

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The shirts come in sizes Small through 2-XL. They are a soft cotton-polyester blend. They are $20 each for adult sizes and $15 for kids. They make a great gift, but be sure to order in the next week to ensure Christmas delivery. We regret that we are currently unable to ship t-shirts outside of the United States. The shirts will also be available at many of the academic meetings we attend including AAA, MLA, and AHA.

50th Anniversary Issue: Thinking Through Novels

The 50th anniversary issue of Novel, “Thinking Through Novels,” a collaborative effort from the editorial and advisory boards of the journal, is now available.

ddnov_50_3_coverContributors to this special issue consider the most important events in the history and theory of the novels during the past three to five decades and then reconsider how that history, and how current novels produced for an international readership, challenge scholars to rethink how to read the novel.  They examine topics from world literature to race, gender, and the novel to how the rise of social media has impacted the novel’s role in imagining personal identity and social affiliation. This issue was partially inspired by a forum previously published in Novel volume 44, issue 1, “Futures of the Novel.”

Learn more about the issue and browse the table-of-contents here.

 

A Busy Conference Weekend

This weekend our staff were busy attending three different academic conferences: the National Women’s Studies Association, the African Studies Association, and the American Academy of Religion. We enjoyed selling books and meeting authors and editors at all three.

Borders of DominicanidadAt the National Women’s Studies Association, a number of our authors were honored with book awards. Congratulations to Lorgia García-Peña, whose The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction won the Gloria Anzaldua Prize for groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that makes significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship. Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life and Lalaie Ameeriar’s Downwardly Global: Women, Work, and Citizenship in the Pakistani Diaspora were both finalists for that prize. Congratulations also to Eunjung Kim, whose book Curative Violence: Rehabilitating Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern KoreaCurative Violence won the new Alison Piepmeier Book Award for a groundbreaking monograph in women, gender, and sexuality studies that makes significant contributions to feminist disability studies scholarship. And we also celebrated Attiya Ahmad’s Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait which received Honorable Mention for the Sara A. Whaley Prize.

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Ramah McKay at the African Studies Association meeting with the proofs for her book Medicine in the Meantime, out in January.

Miller Young at NWSA

Mireille Miller-Young at the National Women’s Studies Association meeting with her book A Taste of Brown Sugar, winner of the 2015 Sara A. Whaley Prize

Red Emmas at NWSA

While at NWSA, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Spill and the forthcoming M Archive, and Robyn C. Spencer, author of The Revolution Has Come, participated in Black Feminist Friday, an event at Red Emma’s bookstore in Baltimore.

Schmidt at AAR

Jalane Schmidt in the booth at the American Academy of Religion meeting, with her book Cachita’s Streets.

Casselberry at AAR

Judith Casselberry at AAR with her book The Labor of Faith. Judith also made an apperance at our NWSA booth a few days earlier!

If you missed any of these conferences, or if a book you really wanted sold out before you could get it, you can still save 30% when ordering from our website. Use coupon codes NWSA17, AFSA17, or AAR17.

Three New Journal Partnerships for 2018

In 2018, Duke University Press will begin publishing three journals: the Journal of Korean Studies, English Language Notes, and Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. Read on to learn more about these new journal partnerships.

ddjks_22_1The Journal of Korean Studies, edited by Theodore Hughes, is the preeminent journal in its field, publishing high-quality articles in all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences on a broad range of Korea-related topics, both historical and contemporary. Korean studies is a dynamic field, with student enrollments and tenure-track positions growing throughout North America and abroad. At the same time, the Korean peninsula’s increasing importance in the world has sparked interest in Korea well beyond those whose academic work focuses on the region. Recent topics include the history of anthropology of Korea; seventeenth century Korean love stories; the Chinese diaspora in North Korea; student activism in colonial Korea in the 1940s; and GLBTQ life in contemporary South Korea. Contributors include scholars conducting transnational work on the Asia-Pacific as well as on relevant topics throughout the global Korean diaspora. The Journal of Korean Studies is based at the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University.

ELN-54.2-cover-bleedA respected forum of criticism and scholarship in literary and cultural studies since 1962, English Language Notes (ELN) is dedicated to pushing the edge of scholarship in literature and related fields in new directions. Broadening its reach geographically and transhistorically, ELN opens new lines of inquiry and widens emerging fields. Each ELN issue advances topics of current scholarly concern, providing theoretical speculation as well as interdisciplinary recalibrations through practical usage. Offering semiannual, topically themed issues, ELN also includes “Of Note,” an ongoing section featuring related topics, review essays or roundtables of cutting-edge scholarship, and emergent concerns. Edited by Laura Winkiel, ELN is a wide-ranging journal that combines theoretical rigor with innovative interdisciplinary collaboration.

Meridians15Meridians, an interdisciplinary feminist journal, provides a forum for the finest scholarship and creative work by and about women of color in U.S. and international contexts. The journal, edited by Ginetta E. B. Candlario, engages the complexity of debates around feminism, race, and transnationalism in a dialogue across ethnic, national boundaries, and disciplinary boundaries. Meridians publishes work that makes scholarship, poetry, fiction, and memoir by and about women of color central to history, economics, politics, geography, class, sexuality, and culture. The journal provokes the critical interrogation of the terms used to shape activist agendas, theoretical paradigms, and political coalitions.

Visit dukeupress.edu/journals to subscribe to these journals.

Duke University Press to Bring James Baldwin’s Only Children’s Book Back Into Print

LittleManLittleManLittle Man, Little Man is the only children’s book by acclaimed writer James Baldwin. Published in 1976 by Dial Press, the book quickly went out of print. Now, at a time when Baldwin is more popular than ever, and readers, librarians, and booksellers are clamoring for more diverse children’s books, Duke University Press is proud to bring the book back into print. It will be available in August 2018.

In the book, four-year-old TJ spends his days on his lively Harlem block playing with his best friends WT and Blinky and running errands for neighbors. As he comes of age as a “Little Man” with big dreams, TJ faces a world of grown-up adventures and realities. Little Man, Little Man celebrates and explores the challenges and joys of black childhood. In it we not only see life in 1970s Harlem from a black child’s perspective; we gain a fuller appreciation of the genius of one of America’s greatest writers.

James Baldwin called Little Man, Little Man a “celebration of the self-esteem of black children.” In their brief introduction to the book, Baldwin scholars Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody explain that the illustrations and text invite readers to “look again and experience the social ills represented in the book—violence, economic disparity, alcoholism and drug abuse, and the distortions of mass media—from the perspective of a black child, and one, it is important to note in closing, who is not innocent.” They suggest that audiences at the time were not ready for this perspective, which might explain the book’s initial reception.

Duke University Press’s new edition of Little Man, Little Man retains the charming original illustrations by French artist Yoran Cazac and includes a foreword by Baldwin’s nephew Tejan “TJ” Karefa-Smart (the inspiration for the title character) and an afterword by his niece Aisha Karefa-Smart.

Booksellers wanting more information or wishing to place an order for the book can contact Sales Manager Jennifer Schaper at jennifer.schaper@dukeupress.edu.

All other inquiries: Laura Sell, Publicity, lsell@dukeupress.edu or 919-687-3639.

Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood
By James Baldwin. Illustrated by Yoran Cazac.
Edited and with an introduction by Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody
With a foreword by Tejan Karefa and an afterword by Aisha Karefa-Smart
ISBN: 978-1-4780-0004-4
Hardcover, 128 pages, $22.95
Fully illustrated in color
August 2018