Duke University Press is pleased to partner with nonprofit scholarly journal publishers and societies to provide journal services including subscription management, fulfillment, hosting, and institutional marketing and sales in a collaboration called the Scholarly Publishing Collective (SPC).
Beginning in 2021, the SPC will provide subscription management and fulfillment services, in partnership with Longleaf Services, to Cornell University Press, Texas Tech University Press, and the University of North Carolina Press. The SPC online content platform will launch in 2022, hosting journals and fulfilling digital access on behalf of Michigan State University Press, Penn State University Press, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the University of Illinois Press.
“Finding a powerful hosting platform for our eighty scholarly journals, as well as securing the expert sales and marketing services of the SPC, will transport our journals to new levels of impact,” said Patrick Alexander, director of Penn State University Press. “We’re thrilled about offering enhanced services to our societies, journal editors, and libraries, and we are eager to work with colleagues at Duke University Press, one of the most talented teams in university press publishing.”
Through the SPC, publishers will have access to resources that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, such as a best-in-class web platform, proven customer relations and library relations teams, and a network of global sales agents with insight into university press content.
“We are honored to be working with this prestigious group of publishers,” said Duke University Press director Dean Smith. “The SPC gives us an opportunity to support a healthy ecosystem for nonprofit, mission-driven publishing and to help ensure that these publications and organizations remain vital to the communities they serve.”
Duke University Press is a nonprofit scholarly publisher with a focus on the humanities, the social sciences, and mathematics. The Press publishes approximately 140 books annually and more than 50 journals, as well as offering several electronic collections and open-access publishing initiatives.
For more information, contact: Allison Belan Director for Strategic Innovation and Services allison.belan [at] duke.edu
What makes “Left of Queer” unique or essential? What does it do that no other collection has done before?
When we first started to conceive “Left of Queer” almost three years ago, we did not think it would be feasible to publish a “state of the field” assessment akin to the special Social Text issue “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” That earlier issue, published in 2005, became a classic statement of sorts by queer-of-color scholars attempting to assert the centrality of race, empire, and diaspora in queer studies. In the intervening years, the field has expanded and become so multifaceted that much of what we might call queer studies today would not have necessarily been recognized as such in the 1990s, when the field first emerged, or even in the aughts, as it was becoming more institutionalized. Instead of reiterating the centrality of work that already enjoyed broad readership, we decided to explore the peripheries of queer studies: What were the latent issues that could be elaborated in greater depth? Who did we think was underread? Who was writing scholarship that might be considered as part of the broader theoretical and political commitments of queer studies, but rarely taught or read in this manner? In short, we sought to amplify less obvious connections.
For instance, we mark an ongoing, decades-long debate about geopolitical exceptionalism in queer theory. This concern emerged in the 1990s with critical attention to the imperial travels of the term “queer,” for instance in rights discourses and tourism. It sparked a lively interrogation of the ongoing tensions—the convergences and divergences—between queer studies and area studies, and between queer studies and anthropology, but it did not sufficiently recognize the ways in which the field itself was driven by an unmarked politics of location. While the 2005 special issue brought a specific uptake of the global, the transnational, and the real-politik effects of the 9/11 war on terror as well as US occupation, “Left of Queer” explicitly focuses on this geopolitical exceptionalism by provincializing a version of queer studies that tends to function as American area studies. All the essays in this special issue open up problems of area in relation to materiality—whether land, bodies, labor, subjects, or objects.
What is one article that stands out to you from the issue?
We think all the articles are exceptional, but let us talk about two in relation to the interventions described above.
One strong example of the peripheries of queer studies—of scholarship that should be considered as part of the broader theoretical and political commitments of the field and as amplifying geopolitical exceptionalisms in the field—is the fantastic roundtable on safe space and securitization, edited by Christina Hanhardt and Jasbir. Here, the participants, many of whom are not thought of as queer studies scholars per se, connect recent debates about safe space, trigger warnings, campus alert systems, and Title IX that largely focus on sexual and racial traumas on US campuses to broader questions about securitization and militarization globally. Jennifer Doyle’s trenchant Campus Sex, Campus Security inspired in part the questions for the roundtable. Safe space for whom? And how does one’s safety and security potentially threaten the safety and security of others? How do we think of safe space on campus and in the gayborhood in relation to border walls and checkpoints as well as to problems of occupation and trespass more broadly?
Another strong example of how “Left of Queer” provincializes queer studies can be found in Petrus Liu’s brilliant contribution, “Queer Theory and the Specter of Materialism.” Petrus’s essay troubles so much of queer studies “proper” because it situates a genealogy of the field in China rather than embedding it in a western origin narrative. Instead, he conceives both queer studies and Marxism as materialist theories foregrounding the constitutive sociality of the self, and he places them in a Chinese politics and history that does not replay the unresolved schisms of queer studies and Marxism animating the field in the ’90s. In this manner, the essay displaces the problematic developmentalism of homonationalism—what a relief!—giving us an alternate starting point for what queer theory is and, indeed, what queer studies could be.
To this end, our introduction marks out an important shift from interrogating the politics of (neo)liberal inclusion and progress fueling the ongoing march of rights and recognition on the global stage to fighting white supremacy, authoritarianism, fascism, and militarization. It moves from the critique of human rights that animates a shift from “the woman question” to “the homosexual question” today and focuses instead on abolitionist, anti-nationalist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist forms of resistance and insurgency.
How do you imagine “Left of Queer” could be used in courses?
In terms of the lower-division classroom, we hope that our two very readable roundtables on safe space and on trans will be both critically useful and easily accessible for undergraduates. These roundtables speak directly to pressing debates and concerns on campus: the movement to abolish the carceral state, the policing of black and brown bodies on campus, the attack on non-binary genders. The volume as a whole, we think, is also perfect for graduate seminars exploring both the history of sexuality and topic matters that are connected to but also complicated sexuality as a focal point: courses on global labor, on political theory and economy, on indigeneity, on areas studies. The broad interdisciplinarity of “Left of Queer,” plus our expansion from subjectless critique (problematizing “proper” queer subjects) to objectless critique (moving away from subject positions altogether and illuminating the biopolitical and necropolitical aspects of disaster capitalism) is an additional heuristic for cutting across our various themes.
We have mentioned several of the contributions already. In light of Christina Crosby’s recent and sudden passing, we wanted to end with a special mention of the incredible article that Christina and her partner Janet Jakobsen contributed, “Disability, Debility, and Caring Queerly.” [This article is freely available through the end of April.] One of the final pieces of published writing from Christina’s acclaimed career as a Victorianist, feminist, queer studies, Marxist, and critical theory scholar, this article delves into the messy materialities of queer care and kinship underpinning networks of disability—chains of labor, care work, racial and economic privilege, and affect that are often managed or concealed under the rubric of “independence” (and sometimes even “interdependence”) but without which the disabled subject of rights discourse would neither cohere nor be recognizable as a political actor. That these complex life-sustaining but also debilitating networks must now be transformed to mourn Christina’s tragic loss is a bittersweet testament to the possibilities of queer worldmaking. Christina was unflinching in her exploration of chronic pain—of a body undone—and what it means to live a disability all the while owning the grief of a life once lived. As her friends, colleagues, students, and readers, we honor Christina’s indelible legacy.
The prize committee offered this praise for the winning essay: “Carlos Alonso Nugent’s remarkable article addresses two generations of artists whose work stages environmental struggle in the US-Mexico borderlands. Moving between the imagined environments of the Precarious Desert of Adelina Otero-Warren and Fabiola Cabeza de Baca of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and the Alianza Federal de Mercedes’s Pueblo Olvidado revival in the 1960s and 1970s, Nugent constellates an archive of environmental writing that is shaped by its complex relationships to colonial power and land claims. Throughout, we not only see exquisite and nuanced readings but an approach to ecology, media, and archival work that should transform how we frame accounts of the borderlands in the twentieth century.”
The honorable mention for this year’s Foerster Prize was Blake Bronson-Bartlett’s “Writing with Pencils in the Antebellum United States: Language, Instrument, Gesture” (vol. 92, issue 2; the essay is freely available through April here). The committee had this to say about the honorable mention: “Blake Bronson-Bartlett’s account of writing in the nineteenth century tells a surprising and highly original story about materiality and writing in the period. The article challenges materialist studies of nineteenth-century archives to take up scenes of writing with media-historical rigor and trains its focus on the case of the pencil as a convincing model for an analysis that can capture the interlaced relationships among instrument, language, and gesture. Bronson-Bartlett reimagines the subject of writing with a refreshing intimacy.”
Congratulations to Carlos Alonso Nugent and Blake Bronson-Bartlett!
Congratulations to Zong-qi Cai, who won the Distinguished Editor Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) this year, and to Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, which won Best Digital Feature! The CELJ announced the awards this past Saturday at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention.
“The global impact of Cai’s editorial work is signaled by his efforts to bridge the work of North American and Chinese sinologists. For example, he has consistently promoted and published English translations of key essays by Chinese scholars. Moreover, Cai is committed to publishing interdisciplinary work by early career and senior scholars that brings new theoretical perspectives to Chinese literature and culture. … In sum, Cai’s simultaneous work on three journals shows a deep commitment to editing,” the CELJ wrote.
Meridians was co-winner of the inaugural Best Digital Feature award for its “On the Line” component. The CELJ wrote, “The range of multimedia offered on the website—which complements the print journal—was commended for the ways in which it uses digital technology to give women of color a voice. ‘On the Line’ was cited as a particularly effective example of a print journal using digital features to complement journal content and grow audience engagement. The feature’s collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit was praised by judges, as was its commitment to reaching new readers with urgently pressing content.”
Demography, the flagship journal of the Population Association of America, will become platinum open access in 2021 as it joins Duke University Press. Since its founding in 1964, Demography has mirrored the vitality, diversity, high intellectual standard, and wide impact of population studies. It is the most cited journal in its field and reaches the membership of one of the largest professional demographic associations in the world. Libraries and institutions, learn how you can support Demography’s conversion to open access.
“In moving Demography from a traditional paid subscription model to open access, we’re thrilled that the worldwide community of population researchers will have access to its content, especially at this moment when access to reliable, peer-reviewed information is critically important,” said Dean Smith, Director of Duke University Press.
liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies carves out a place for aesthetic theory and the most radical agenda of Black studies to come together in productive ways, with the goal of attending to the aesthetic work of blackness and the political work of form. In this way, the journal develops innovative approaches to address points of convergence between the exigencies of black life and the many slippery ways in which blackness is encountered in contemporary sonic and visual culture. The journal showcases a variety of scholarly modes, including audio-visual work and experimental and traditional essays. Read an interview with founding editors Alessandra Raengo and Lauren McLeod Cramer.
While the American Dialect Society has chosen a Word of the Year for three decades now, this year’s selection was—to use a popular word these days—unprecedented. Like so much else in 2020, the deliberations were moved online, and in the first-ever virtual vote, held on Thursday, Dec. 17, the winner of the Word of the Year honors was Covid. It was a highly appropriate choice, given how Covid—short for COVID-19, the name given by the World Health Organization for the disease caused by novel coronavirus—has become a stand-in for the pandemic and all the ways it has shaped our lives.
The ADS first picked a Word of the Year, or WOTY as it’s known to its friends, at its annual meeting in December 1990, after the society’s long-time executive secretary Allan Metcalf proposed making a selection modeled on Time’s “Person of the Year.” For the first time since then, the ADS was unable to meet in person for its conference, and so plans were made to turn WOTY into a virtual event that would be open to all who wanted to participate. Ultimately, more than three hundred attendees joined a Zoom webinar, where they actively participated in the discussion and cast their votes.
As the sponsor of the event, Duke University Press was essential in making the virtual WOTY a reality. The Press has had a longstanding relationship with the ADS as the publisher of the society’s quarterly journal American Speech. As part of my duties as chair of the New Words Committee, I oversee “Among the New Words” in American Speech, a feature that has run in the journal since 1941. When I took on the role in 2011, I reflected on the history of “Among the New Words” in a post on this blog, and the eighty-year tradition continues in the forthcoming Feb. 2021 issue of American Speech. The next installment, which will debut a new format for the feature, is co-authored by Charles E. Carson, managing editor for American Speech, and Kelly E. Wright, a doctoral student in sociolinguistics at the University of Michigan. Word of the Year nominees always provide fertile ground for the neologisms covered in “Among the New Words.”
When the ADS made the decision over the summer to cancel its annual meeting, which was scheduled to be held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America in early January 2021, that opened up the possibility of holding the WOTY vote as a free-standing event. In devising plans with ADS executive director Julie Roberts of the University of Vermont, we hit upon the idea of live-streaming WOTY and moving the date up to December. As part of the registration process, we fielded nominations for words that people wanted to see in contention. Duke University Press graciously offered to sponsor the proceedings and hosted the webinar on Zoom. The live-stream went off without a hitch, as hundreds of participants were able to join in a lively debate over which words should be recognized as best capturing the zeitgeist of 2020.
In the overall WOTY category, Covid won out over such nominees as social distancing, unprecedented, pandemic, and even 2020, which has become its own lexical item to sum up all the feelings inspired by this particularly chaotic year. Additionally, votes were made in ten other secondary categories. These included the Digital Word of the Year (doomscrolling, for the obsessive practice of scanning social media and websites for bad news), Most Useful (Before Times, for the time before the beginning of the pandemic), and Most Likely to Succeed (antiracism, the practice of actively working to prevent or combat racism).
There was no shortage of creativity in the nominated words. My personal favorites included oysgezoomt, a word formed in Yiddish that means “Zoomed out” or fatigued from exposure to Zoom, and Blursday, a useful term for when you don’t quite know what day of the week it is (a common affliction in the pandemic era). Despite—or perhaps because of—the hardships of the past year, it was a vibrant time for the creation of new words, especially in the arena of what I’ve called “coronacoinages.” While Covid, a word that was unknown to anyone a year ago, may best encompass what we have collectively gone through in 2020, it represents only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the pandemic has transformed the lexicon. The diverse set of nominated words provides ample evidence for this flurry of linguistic activity in a year like no other.
The 2020 Word of the Year nominees will be considered in a future installment of “Among the New Words” in the Duke University Press journal American Speech. In the meantime, you can peruse the full list of nominated words in the press release on the results of the WOTY voting. Additionally, the entire live-stream has been archived on the American Dialect Society’s YouTube channel.
Amid the many challenges of 2020, the Duke University Press staff took solace in—what else?—reading. Here are some of our staffers’ favorite books they read over the past year. We hope you’ll find a few picks for yourself to enjoy in the coming months.
Copywriter Chris Robinson recommends The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin. “I started this massive illustrated collection of all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels and stories at the start of October, when I needed some good escapism from the election. It did the trick. Her language is comforting, like a warm blanket. Wizards and dragons? Yes please.”
Dan Ruccia, Marketing Designer, enjoyed the first two books in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy. Her debut, Gideon the Ninth, “was the first book I was able to successfully read during the panicked early days of the pandemic, devouring it in a matter of days,” he writes. “Muir’s tale of necromancers is equal parts gothic fantasy, space opera, and whodunnit, all cast in nacreous, sepulchral tones with more words for ‘bones’ than you can shake a gnarled, ossified pile of knucklebones at. It’s also absurdly hilarious. The second volume (Harrow the Ninth) takes everything you learn in the first book, rips it apart, and reassembles it into some horrifying skeletal construct that is totally befuddling and somehow even more satisfying. I’ve read them both twice already, and I’m sad that I have to wait until 2022 for the series’ concluding volume (Alecto the Ninth) to be released.”
Michael McCullough, Senior Manager for Books Sales and Marketing, recommends The Summer House by Alice Thomas Ellis. “Three very different women—the bride-to-be, her mother’s old friend, and her prospective mother-in-law—tell the story of an ill-advised wedding. If I kept a commonplace book, it would be filled with quotations from The Summer House, because the writing is brilliant.”
Digital Content Manager Patty Chase writes, “The most enchanting book I read this year was Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. I was drawn into its surreal landscape immediately, and I let the uncertainty of what was happening wash over me. The unwinding of the story was entirely satisfying all the way through. This book was a welcome escape during these trying times.”
Book Designer Aimee Harrison’s favorite book this year was Masande Ntshanga’s Triangulum. “A blend of near-apocalypse science fiction and post-apartheid South African coming-of-age novel, Triangulum propelled me into history books and debates about whether change comes from destroying the machine or manipulating it, while I was still sitting beside the ghosts of the very real characters Ntshanga has created. This is Ntshanga’s second novel, and draws on elements of research and triptych friendships developed inThe Reactive, but pushes language and genre even further to tie together disparate conspiracies and revolutions, environmental and governmental catastrophes, and histories of friendships and families.”
Charles Brower, Senior Project Editor, writes, “I think it’s fitting for 2020 to pick a horror novel as my read of the year: Stephen Graham Jones’s The Only Good Indians, which is tragic, funny, blood-curdling, and illuminating and sharp in its portrayal of contemporary Indigenous life on and off the reservation. And it climaxes with the most suspenseful basketball game between a Native teenage girl and a vengeful elk demon that you’ll ever read.”
Journals Marketing Manager Jocelyn Dawson’s pick is The Housekeeper by Natalie Barelli, a psychological thriller that she listened to as an audiobook. “It’s definitely better to read in print, because the last third of the book is impossible to put down and there’s only so much time that you can politely spend walking around with headphones in when you live with other people. If you like suspense, this is one to add to your list.”
And lastly, Editor Elizabeth Ault writes, “Two books that hit my quarantine sweet spot of exceptional writing, settings and characters I hadn’t seen a million times before, and just sheer joy in reading were Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors and Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks. Both told deeply emplaced stories (Washburn on Hawaiʻi and Oahu, Barry on the North Shore of Massachusetts) about places very unlike Durham, NC, so that certainly helped!”
Our Elections in Global History Syllabus, new today, features scholarship on historical elections. Topics include the study of past election events, voting inequity, election quotas, media politics, protests during election times, and more.
All journal articles in this syllabus are freely available through January 31, 2021. Book introductions are always free.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected work and has amplified existing labor issues. We asked Leon Fink, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago and editor of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, how the journal is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and what role labor history scholarship plays in conversations about the pandemic.
As the leading journal in our field and intellectual representative of the Labor and Working Class History Association, we have indeed taken note of the pandemic’s relevance to labor history. COVID-era headlines inevitably invoke many different workers and occupations. In the forefront of the nightly cable news roundup are the medical professionals—doctors and nurses and their virtual army of supporting role players: EMTs, ambulance drivers, aides, janitorial and dietary staff, etc. Also suddenly prominent are a host of service occupations—such as grocery clerks, home health care workers, nursing home aides, restaurant staff, and delivery drivers.
Less noticed, but equally relied upon and designated by their state governments as “essential workers”—i.e., those working at critical infrastructure operations required to remain open—are the warehouse workers from Amazon, Walmart, and Target filling in otherwise-broken supply chains. Also deemed essential, upon a direct order from the president, are the meatpacking and food processing plants.
Two other professions have also received heightened attention. Especially as parents attempt to cope with the still-uncertain trajectory of the current school year, the central role of teachers (and day care providers) to the national economy is highlighted. Finally, of course, we have all been reminded of the impact on our civic health of the actions of the municipal police—not to mention special forces deployed on presidential orders—in either containing or exacerbating social conflict.
If together composing a ‘public’ workforce—not by source of employment, which encompasses both public and private employers, but by common impact on the public welfare—this parade of workers is otherwise highly differentiated. Quite apart from issues of pay, itself a subject of vast differentiation, a considerable disparity—one might even say a vast chasm—separates these work groups on a spectrum of workplace authority. Each of these groups faces not only a distinct micro-environment based on the product or service rendered but is governed by different sets of industrial relations, whether shaped by collective bargaining contracts, government laws and regulations, or one-sided employer determination.
Given the tensions accentuated by pandemic conditions, the inequalities of workplace voice—quite apart from the material disparities of economic reward—take on enhanced prominence and wider public repercussion. How much voice and/or control, we are obliged to ask, should employees themselves have over their jobs, their health and safety on the job, and their employment security? These are all issues which will inevitably help to compose the coming generation of labor history research and scholarship.
The journal has already responded to the current crisis in two significant ways. First, and fortuitously, we were able to move a magnificent article by Liz Faue and Josiah Rector on an SEIU nurses campaign for protections from needlestick injuries during the HIV crisis into our next issue (vol. 17, issue 4). But we also quickly decided to go for broke with a future special issue on Pandemics and Labor History, for which we’ve recruited a most distinguished group of contributors. They include Samuel Cohn (University of Glasgow), an authority on the Black Death; Aditya Sarkar (University of Warwick) on the bubonic plague in Bombay 1896–1901; Gabriela Soto Laveaga (Harvard University) on Mexico City health politics; Laura Goffman (University of Arizona) on the colonial Middle East; and Jacob Remes (New York University) with a summary piece connecting the COVID-19 pandemic to the North American working-class history of disaster. Although still in a formative stage, we expect this issue to be one of our most important yet.
This long run of issues allows for students and researchers alike to trace the development of key themes in Latin American historiography across time.
Founded in 1918, HAHR pioneered the study of Latin American history and culture in the United States. Today, HAHR publishes rigorous scholarship on every facet of Latin American history and culture. It is edited by Martha Few, Zachary Morgan, Matthew Restall, and Amara Solari.
“[HAHR] has been central now for a hundred years in helping establish the field and really point to the absolute best scholarship within Latin American history,” said Gisela Fosado, Editorial Director at Duke University Press and member of the HAHR Board of Editors. “It’s always going to be pushing the field, defining the field, bringing out a really wide range of voices.”