Today's World Cup post is by Jeffrey Lesser. Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History at Emory University, is the author of Negotiating National Identity, and A Discontented Diaspora and editor of Searching for Home Abroad.
The Brazilian nature of multiculturalism is particularly apparent during World Cup years. This international soccer championship has more viewers than any other single sporting event and in 2006, sixty million people watched Brazil defeat Croatia in the opening week of the championship. More than ten times that number watched the final game in 2010. In Brazil numerous channels broadcast the national team games simultaneously. Yet another phenomenon also takes place in Brazil, a country which has received immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa from the late nineteenth until today.
Some Brazilian fans root for the teams of their ancestors while others take a nationalist position. Ethnic restaurants are often filled with cheering fans, many who root against the team of the country whose food they are ostensibly eating. In São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul you might go to a cantina (a Brazilian version of a trattoria) to root against Italy. When the World Cup was held in Japan in 2002, some Japanese-Brazilians began wearing a t-shirt with an image of the rising sun and the phrase “I will never visit you.” A significant number of fans of the Rio de Janeiro futebol team Flamengo, however, took a different position. Their allegiance was to the team’s greatest player, Zico, who in 2002 was coach of the Japanese national team. As Japanese-Brazilians roared for Brazil, Flamengo’s die-hards screamed for Japan led by their beloved player.
James Joyce set his classic novel, Ulysses, on the 16th of June, 1904. The day, nicknamed “Bloomsday” after the protagonist Leopold Bloom, has since become a commemoration of the life and work of James Joyce. In honor of Bloomsday 2014, sample several recent articles on James Joyce and Ulysses.
Beth Blum’s article “Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual” examines Declan Kiberd’s “Ulysses” and Us, a guide for the common reader of Ulysses, that attempted to “pry Joyce’s masterpiece from the grip of the ‘corporate university.’” Read an excerpt:
‘It is time to reconnect Ulysses to the everyday lives of real people,’ Kiberd declares. Instead of tracing Homeric parallels or poring over skeleton keys, we should, he suggests, approach Joyce’s text as nothing other than a ‘self-help manual.’ Ulysses, he explains, ‘is a book with much to teach us about the world–advice on how to cope with grief; how to be frank about death in the age of its denial; how women have their own sexual desires and so also do men; how to walk and think at the same time.’ Kiberd’s book was received favorably in the popular press and, perhaps unsurprisingly, less so in the academic journals. Scholars appreciated his lucid, jargon-free prose but recoiled at his brash claims, his reliance on ‘anecdotal’ evidence, and the text’s ‘gossipy biographical flourish.’ If Joyce’s goal was really to reach the ‘common reader,’ reviewers wondered why he did not write more simply.
To read more of “Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual,” click here.
In “Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico,” Brian L. Price juxtaposes Mexican authors and James Joyce and considers how Joyce is “assimilated into their own cultural projects as literary object and literary experience.” Read an excerpt:
Non serviam is Lucifer’s declaration that he will not serve the God of heaven. It is a challenge to authority, a declaration of autonomy, and–at least since Blake–it was become a motto for embattled artists. Thus, near the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), James Joyce’s fallen angel, Stephen Dedalus, declares that he will not answer the Church’s call to serve a priesthood to which he had earlier dedicated himself following the spiritual retreat in the third chapter…. Despite Stephen’s explicit declaration that he will not serve either Irish nationalism or the British literary canon, however, he is ‘supersaturated’ with that in which he says he does not believe: Ireland, Catholicism, and Shakespeare plague him throughout A Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses. This tension between the desire for unfettered artistic exploration and the omnipresence of national concern is one of the hallmarks of Mexican cosmopolitan writing.
To read more of “Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico,” click here.
For a comprehensive list of all Duke University Press journal articles on James Joyce, click here.
“Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual? James Joyce’s Strategic Populism,” by Beth Blum in Modern Language Quarterly, volume 74 and issue 1 (March 2013)
“Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico” by Brian L. Price in Comparative Literature, volume 64 and issue 2 (Spring 2012)
This spring Badischer Kunstverein in Berlin is featuring the work of artists Karin Michalski and Sabian Baumann. The Alphabet of Feeling Bad and An Unhappy Archive spotlight the ideas of Duke University Press authors Ann Cvetkovich, Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Mel Chen, Jack Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz.
The Alphabet of Feeling Bad is an experimental film that features Ann Cvetkovich, author of Depression and An Archive of Feeling, sitting on a rumpled bed. Cvetkovich explains everyday negative emotions – like the idea to be at an impasse, to feel paralyzed, to be overwhelmed by demands or not to meet – and provides them with new meanings. The performance is based on conversations between her and the filmmaker Michalski and follows in the tradition of activist initiatives such as the Socialist Patients' Collective Heidelberg (SPK) of the 1970s and the more recent Public Feelings groups in various American cities.
An Unhappy Archive assembles texts, books, posters, drawings, and other materials that call into question the social norm of “happiness.” The term was coined by theorist Sara Ahmed in her book The Promise of Happiness She describes the “unhappy archive” as a collective, feminist-queer, and anti-racist project. The archive was initiated in 2013 by Andrea Thal at Les Complices in Zurich and is now being reactivated and expanded in a new spatial context. Some of the featured books include Lauren Berlant's Cruel Optimism and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Touching Feeling, pictured above.
The exhibit runs through June.
We're excited to kick off our series of World Cup guest posts with this by Bryan McCann, author of Hard Times in the Marvelous City and Hello, Hello Brazil. McCann is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University.
I have long been skeptical of FIFA and critical of the notion of using international mega-events to stoke local economies. In the final pages of my recent book, Hard Times in the Marvelous City, I argue that preparations for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics threaten to undermine improvements in security and popular housing underway in Rio de Janeiro over the last decade. As a result, I have not been surprised by growing resentment of the World Cup within Brazil. Even I, however, have been surprised by how bad things have gotten—World Cup planning has been inept, heavy-handed and anti-popular.
Neither FIFA, nor local organizers, nor municipal government in host cities has made any serious attempt to incorporate local populations in World Cup planning or festivities. It has been clear from the start that the games are being put on for international tourists and the executive class. Ordinary local residents are welcome to watch on TV, or at best in front of large screens in open-air plazas, but will be cordoned off from any personal interaction with the games or the players. Locals are subject to jacked-up prices of food and services, waylaid by security guards and construction barriers and, if they happen to live in the path of a Cup-related infrastructural project, to eviction. Cup organizers seem to expect them to smile and dance anyway. A rhetorical question on banners often seen at recent protests asks Copa Para Quem? (World Cup For Whom?) The answer is clear: not for ordinary Brazilians.
There have been several problems with World Cup preparations. First, obligatory photos of favela children playing soccer notwithstanding, Brazilians don’t love soccer the way they used to. As the country has grown more culturally pluralistic, other pastimes have risen to challenge the preeminence of futebol. In terms of international success, Brazilian volleyball has far outperformed soccer over the past twenty years. Soccer is now something Brazilians love to complain about more than they love to celebrate it.
Second, Brazil won its bid to host the World Cup during a period of economic growth and rising employment, but growth has stagnated while the cost of living has continued to rise. Cup-inflated real-estate prices in host cities only exacerbate that. Brazilians are angry about the billions being spent on the World Cup while other public needs go unmet. This makes them sympathetic towards those who are truly threatened by the Cup, like favela residents subject to eviction or harrassed by police (a phenomenon exponentially intensified in Rio by Olympic preparations).
Third, Brazilians love to party but hate being told what to do, and hate even more being played for fools. As one of my friends from the Pelourinho, the vibrant neighborhood at the heart of Salvador da Bahia memorably put it to me, “no Pelourinho, ninguêm é otário,”—in the Pelourinho, no one is a sucker. It is clear that FIFA has been playing Brazilians for suckers, expecting them to foot the bill for a party they are not invited to attend.
Porto Alegre offers an example. The Beira Rio stadium, host to several Cup games, has been beautifully refurbished, but ticket prices are beyond the reach of most residents. The other effects of Cup preparations have been negative. The enlarged stadium juts into an adjacent roadway, cutting off the sidewalk in a small but clear example of the privileging of elite convenience over public interest. Weeks before the first game, the area surrounding the stadium is a barren, muddy wasteland, as municipal government and private investors feud over who is responsible for aborted landscaping. In the meantime, residents of a nearby vila (as favelas are known in Porto Alegre) were evicted to make way for a construction staging area. Promised transportation improvements have been delayed or, worse, left half-finished, choking traffic rather than facilitating movement.
And Porto Alegre is a relatively small city with a history of participatory government, a deep love for soccer, and clear transportation corridors between the airport, the city center and the stadium that would be easy to upgrade. If Cup preparations have been a flop here, imagine Manaus, a large city of oppressive heat, negligible soccer tradition and great environmental vulnerability.
Cup organizers took it for granted that citizens in this festive, hospitable country would inevitably catch the fever and celebrate colorfully. That may still happen—if the Brazilian team goes deep into the tournament and plays with joy and passion, Brazilians will fall for them—as will I—regardless of how we denounce FIFA now. But the joy and passion will have to be real and tangible to overcome the current skepticism. In the new Brazil, ninguêm é otário.
We start off the series tomorrow with Bryan McCann's critique of the idea that the World Cup will bring economic prosperity to Brazil. The following week, on June 18, Jeffrey Lesser writes about multiculturalism and football in Brazil. On June 25 we present an excerpt from Seth Garfield's book Indigenous Struggle at the Heart of Brazil, in which he remembers watching the 1994 World Cup with a group of Xavante Indians. On July 2, John Gledhill writes about how preparations for the World Cup have affected the poor. And finally, on July 9, Marc Hertzman writes about gender and the World Cup. We hope you'll check in each week to read these posts and get a deeper understanding of how the World CUp is affecting Brazil.
This summer marks twenty-seven years since I started at the Press. Why have I stayed? It isn’t because of the allure of publishing, the mission of the Press, the pizzazz of its list, the prestige of its parent institution, or the proximity of its offices to downtown Durham eateries. It’s because I get to spend my days among people whom I admire and whose company and minds I like, and because I get to work with language. My job is a hodgepodge: proofread marketing copy and parts of the Press’s website, draft style guides, design copyediting and proofreading exercises, trade pointers with coworkers, attend blessedly few meetings, oversee the copyediting and proofreading of a set of Duke journals, write postmortems for freelancers. But I feel most fully in my element when I do some copyediting myself. Word usage, grammar, and the practice of bending them toward clarity fascinate me. Someone told me once that I might have missed my calling as a teacher, and it’s true that there is a pedagogical side to a copyeditor’s work. Editing copy means, as probably everyone knows, ironing out typographical and grammatical wrinkles—“Culler, Jonathan. 1975. Sturcturlaist Poetics”; “Satan’s (and God’s, despite himself) speeches expose”; Columbus’s “1942 arrival in the Caribbean”—but it also means applying stylistic standards, checking facts, picking out inconsistencies, filling holes, calming tics, untying knots, and trimming hedges (“Perhaps in Germany—and this is only a theory—opulence is possibly also something that functions somewhat as a deterrent”), all with the assistance or at least, you hope, the assent of the author. Sometimes it calls for restraint, sometimes for the most active engagement. One day you find that the vessel the author has crafted sails itself; another day you must point out—gently yet directly yet tactfully—that the argument whose keel the author extravagantly thanks others for laying is not seaworthy and that its leaks cannot be caulked out of dry dock. More prosaically, copyediting means sparing the reader as much head-shaking and head-scratching as you can by doing the shaking and scratching yourself. Now and then authors experience copyediting and the review of it as punitive, and now and then their pique is justified. What copyeditor has not sometimes done the job badly or overdone it? But more frequent are the authors who, on surveying the ground, find that thorns no more infest it, or at least that they have been loosened enough to be pulled out easily. For me, the work is satisfying, and so, when offered, are the plaudits.
We were so excited to welcome TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly with an official launch at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians in Toronto last week. The inaugural double issue, "Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a 21st Century Transgender Studies," features nearly ninety keyword contributions that "showcase the breadth and complexity of the field." You can subscribe to the journal here.
Editors Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker, along with editorial board membors A. Finn Enke and Frank Galarte, participated in a roundtable on TSQ that included information about the initial conception of the journal, current calls for papers, ideas for special issues in the future, the necessity (and difficulty) of the book review section, and how fashion would be an exciting part of the journal with Frank Gallarte acting as the Fashion Editor. It was thrilling to have an engaged audience participating in the conversation surrounding the bright future of the journal.
Following the roundtable, we had an official launch reception for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly in the beautiful Croft Chapter House. We were happy to toast the journal with so many interested scholars, contributors, fans of the field, and conference organizers!The temporary tattoos we gave away with the TSQ asterisk were a big hit and it was fun to see so many attendees rocking the tattoos for the rest of the conference.
Check out the photos below for some highlights from the official launch. We hope that everyone will continue to contribute to the conversation on social media using the #TSQjournal hashtag.
We had a great time selling books and meeting authors at the 2014 annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association.
We were excited to congratulate Marc Hertzman for winning an Honorable Mention from the Bryce Wood book award committee for his book Making Samba. The award is for an outstanding book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities published in English.
Peter Wade, co-editor of the new collection Mestizo Genomics.
Gabriela Ramos is co-editor of Indigenous Intellectuals.
Claudia de Lima Costa and Sonia E. Alvarez, two of the co-editors of the new collection Translocalities/Translocalidades.
Editor Cynthia Milton with two contributors from Art from a Fractured Past.
Marcia Ochoa with her new book Queen for a Day.
Myrian Jimeno, author of Juan Gregorio Palechor.
Heidi Tinsman, author of Buying into the Regime.
See even more photos on our Facebook page. And if you couldn't make it to LASA, don't worry, you can still buy all the great books we featured there at 30% off. Check out the program ad, and use coupon code LASA14 when you order on our website.
In celebration of what would have been Rachel Carson’s 107th birthday tomorrow, we are happy to honor her legacy with a post including several journal articles that relate to her life and work. Famous for Silent Spring (1962) among many other projects, Carson is credited with influencing the modern environmental movement and inspiring a change in national pesticide policy and a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses.
Attempting to discredit Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson wrote to Dwight D. Eisenhower and asked ‘why a spinster with no children was so concerned about genetics.’ Benson’s attack, its misogyny at best thinly veiled, makes legible one of the central challenges to developing a queer ecocritical practice: the status of futurity. Contemporary environmentalism, especially given the recent emphasis on sustainability, tends to be future-oriented, its rhetoric predicated on matters of inheritance and procreation alike…. Much recent queer theory, by contrast, insistently resists futurity, marked as it often is by heteronormative imperatives. What does it mean, then, to develop a queer ecocriticism?
To read more from “Spinster Ecology,” click here.
“The New York School of Urban Ecology” by Jamin Creed Rowan argues that Rachel Carson’s ecological voice helped change the tone of the New Yorker and “helped solidify a literary and intellectual tradition that infused the city’s social networks with social value.” Read an excerpt:
Although Rachel Carson is perhaps best remembered for dramatizing the environmental consequences of pesticide in Silent Spring (1962), many readers first discovered here in the New Yorker writing about the sea–not DDT. Edith Oliver, a staff editor at the New Yorker, recommended Carson’s manuscript for The Sea Around Us to editor-in-chief William Shawn in 1950. Shawn was even more enthusiastic about this relatively unknown naturalist and offered to buy nine of the book’s fourteen chapters. He then condensed these chapters and published them, rather unusually, as a three-part series in June 1951 under the magazine’s “Profiles” rubric. While recognizing the significance of Carson’s New Yorker publications for her subsequent career, critics have found it difficult to explain her appearance in a magazine targeted, according to founder Harold Ross, at ‘persons who have a metropolitan interest.’
To read more from “The New York School of Urban Ecology,” click here.
“Spinster Ecology: Rachel Carson, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Nonreproductive Futurity,” by Sarah Ensor in a special issue of American Literature, “Ecocriticism,” volume 84 and issue 2 (June 2012).
“The New York School of Urban Ecology: The New Yorker, Rachel Carson, and Jane Jacobs,” by Jamin Creed Rowan in American Literature, volume 82 and issue 3 (September 2010)