Author: Jessica Castro-Rappl

Trans*/Religion

In “Trans*/Religion,” new from TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, editors Max Strassfeld and Robyn Henderson-Espinoza stage a long-overdue conversation between trans studies and religious studies. Read their introduction to the issue, freely available.

Contributors consider trans identity alongside Mizrahi (Arab-Jewish) identity, examine concepts of gender and spirit possession in Cuban Santería through a trans lens, present a trans analysis of the beginnings of revival preaching in evangelical Christianity, braid crip theory with trans theory and phenomenological theology, and more.

The issue also includes art, book reviews, and more. Check out the full table of contents.

Make sure you’ve signed up to receive email alerts about new issues of TSQ, and ask your library to subscribe to the journal if it doesn’t already!

Our Professor: A Toni Morrison Memory

Houston A. Baker Jr. is Distinguished University Professor of English and African American Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. He was the editor of American Literature from 1999 to 2006. Here, he remembers Toni Morrison from his time at Howard University.

The fortunes of being rejected by selected white colleges and universities during my senior year of high school manifested themselves when I received, and accepted, a handsome scholarship offer from Howard University in Washington, DC. It was 1961. I was leaving my home in Louisville, Kentucky, for the “Capstone of Negro Education.”

On a sweltering late summer afternoon, with a small cohort of other African American (then called “Negro”) high-school matriculants, I boarded a train from Louisville’s Union Station to Washington, DC. Louisville’s station still boasted the readable sign and signature of racial segregation: “Colored Waiting Room.” I wondered if I would find the same at the other end of my journey.

To enter Howard University’s campus in 1961 was to encounter a neatly maintained greensward sentineled by the classical cathedral design of Founders Library. Drew Hall (the new men’s dormitory) was a wonder in its impeccable hospitality. And as we young men sat on the short wall outside the Ira Aldrige Theater, we were confirmed in our first impressions that we were indeed occupants of a brave new world. We marveled at a slow parade of abounding beauty, pristine grace, and assured self-possession as young women of color made their way past us. These young women were simply mesmerizing. They seemed so far beyond our country selves. They left us breathless.

There was no ease in this beautiful Zion when we entered our first classes a few days later. The Howard professoriate was unstinting in its demand for excellence. All courses required commitment to black achievement grounded in a proud legacy of historically black colleges and universities. During the first week, we were challenged to serious intellection and adept manners of scholarly exchange.

Toni Morrison, 1970. Photo by Bert Andrews.

The foregoing variables were energized by the uproarious revolts of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The direct address—the praxis—of that radical assault on centuries of black abjection and exclusion in America was everywhere near at hand. Black resistance and revolutionary projects were the temper of the times at 1960s Howard, despite administrative injunctions for the student body to maintain a traditional decorum of colored amiability. A crowning moment of my freshman year was enrollment in a required course whose title I forget but whose import was something on the order of “Great Books of the World.” I do not recall a syllabus, but there was a reading list that did not (I believe) include African American authors.

The first day of class, students filed respectfully into the room. I took a seat on the front row as an earnest demonstration of my consummate interest in everything the professor might have to say. The professor’s chair was one of those yellowish, hard wooden strongholds that signify scholarly austerity. The chair sat at the back of the desk.

The moment of arrival unfolded when one of the most arresting presences I have ever encountered in the academy floated into the classroom. She moved to the desk, slipped around and past its back, seated herself atop the front of the desk, and sat eloquently at ease before us. She flashed a welcoming and serious smile. “Good morning. My name is Toni Morrison. I am your professor for this course. This is a required course and we will accept no excuse for absence or failure to do the work.” I was rendered breathless—not so much by her undeniable poise and gesture as by her calm equanimity of presence and intellectual authority.

Our text was William Faulkner’s “The Bear,” to be taken up at the next class meeting.

The following class session, I had nothing to say, having been completely mystified by Faulkner and his bear. Professor Morrison began to unfold for us an extraordinary explication of the Faulkner story, when all at once a hand shot up just down the front row from me, and a loud mellifluous voice commanded: “Black people in the United States are being beaten and dying. The capitalist system is corrupt. Why are we reading this racist old white man who said he would defend Mississippi against any civil rights intervention with a shotgun in hand?” He continued: “We should be reading Chairman Mao and Che Guevara. We should be learning the sober dialectics of revolution.”

It was, indeed, the voice of Stokely Carmichael. His face was swollen, and he had a bandage over his right eye from participation in a civil rights action in neighboring Maryland just a few days before. He looked weary and incredulous that something as seemingly inane as a Faulkner story should ever occupy the mind of any black student.

Without so much as a small readjustment of her professorial posture, Professor Morrison answered: “Mr. Carmichael, scripture tells us there is a time and place for every occasion. For today, the time before us is reserved for Faulkner’s masterpiece “The Bear.” Please, let us continue, in season, with Faulkner’s astonishing creative achievement.”

Silence fell. Professor Morrison’s lucid and brilliant explication recommenced.

As class was adjourning, I found the courage to say hello to a young woman who had returned my friendly nod during the prior class session. I ventured an opinion: “That was pretty terrific of Professor Morrison to put Faulkner and his complicated book ahead of the civil rights movement, wasn’t it? I’m Houston.”

She said: “Hi, I’m Charlotte. And, yes, I think Professor Morrison was astonishing in her handling of Mr. Carmichael’s interruption.”

Toni Morrison became my ever-loved genius of the humanities and authorship.

Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Touré) still represents my best exemplar of what it means to be young, brilliant, and daringly committed to the global struggle for black liberation. Charlotte eventually became my wife. And in the late ’90s, Charlotte’s publisher sent Toni Morrison a draft copy of her book Surviving the Silence: Black Women’s Stories of Rape. Toni Morrison called Charlotte of a winter’s evening and lauded her book: “This,” she said, “is a love story.” Toni Morrison befriended my academic career and writing at many a turn of life’s wheel. News of our professor’s passing is very, very hard to bear in these most awful of times in America.

Remembering Toni Morrison with American Literature

Groundbreaking, beloved author Toni Morrison’s literary legacy will continue to reverberate long beyond her lifetime. In the wake of her death, we are honored to offer a small tribute: a reading list of American Literature articles that study her work, all made freely available through the end of November.

Signifyin(g) on Reparation in Toni Morrison’s Jazz
Marjorie Pryse, 2008

Toni Morrison’s Paradise: Black Cultural Citizenship in the American Empire
Holly Flint, 2006

Houses of Contention: Tar Baby and Essence
Susan Edmunds, 2018

What The Bluest Eye Knows about Them: Culture, Race, Identity
Christopher Douglas, 2006

The Literary Afterlife of the Korean War
Joseph Darda, 2015

Ruins Amidst Ruins: Black Classicism and the Empire of Slavery
John Levi Barnard, 2014

“what Is Your Mother’s Name?”: Maternal Disavowal and the Reverberating Aesthetic of Black Women’s Pain in Black Nationalist Literature
Meina Yates-Richard, 2016

Disorienting Disability

Disorienting Disability,” the latest issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly, edited by Michele Friedner and Karen Weingarten, is available now.

This special issue examines the stakes of orienting toward or away from disability as a category and as a method. Building on Sara Ahmed’s conceptualization of “orientation” as the situating of queer and raced bodies, the contributors ask how the category of disability might also change how we think of bodies orienting in space and time. Are all paths, desire lines, objects, and interpellations equally accessible? How do we conceptualize access in different spaces? What kind of theoretical and empirical turns might emerge in disorienting disability?

Drawing on feminist studies, critical race studies, and queer studies, the contributors probe the meanings of the term disability and consider disability in relation to other categories of difference such as race, gender, and class. Essays challenge the historicity of disability; push disability studies to consider questions of loss, pain, and trauma; question the notion of disability as another form of diversity; and expand arguments about the ethics of care to consider communities not conventionally defined as disabled.

The issue’s Against the Day section, “Contentious Crossings: Struggles and Alliances for Freedom of Movement across the Mediterranean Sea,” brings together researchers and activists to reflect on struggles against the European border regime. All articles in this section are freely available for six months.

Browse the issue’s contents here, or read the introduction, freely available.

You might also find these recent books in disability studies of interest:

In this revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

In Black Madness :: Mad Blackness Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

Jane Gallop explores how disability and aging are commonly understood to undermine one’s sense of self in Sexuality, Disability, and Aging. She challenges narratives that register the decline of bodily potential and ability as nothing but an experience of loss.

Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, in Bodyminds Reimagined, Sami Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability, showing how the genre’s exploration of bodyminds that exist outside of the present open up new social and ethical possibilities.

Interview with Jonathan Oberlander, New Editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

We sat down with Jonathan Oberlander, the new editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (JHPPL), to discuss his vision for the journal, what sets JHPPL apart, and what he’s looking for in submissions. Oberlander is Professor and Chair of Social Medicine, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What is your professional background, and what brought you to JHPPL?

I’m a political scientist by training, and I actually started out studying Middle Eastern politics before moving into health care. I must be drawn to irresolvable conflicts. When I applied to graduate school, I applied half to universities in Middle Eastern politics and half in health care politics. I wound up going to graduate school in American politics, with a focus on health care, and as a PhD student, I worked with Ted Marmor, who was one of the founders of the field of health politics in the United States and a former editor of JHPPL.

I grew up on JHPPL, and I’ve known other editors—Ted Marmor, Colleen Grogan, Eric Patashnik, Mark Peterson, Mark Schlesinger, Michael Sparer, Larry Brown, Jim Morone—they’re all colleagues and friends of mine. It was the first journal I ever published in as a graduate student, and it has remained the core journal in my professional life. I’ve been involved in one way or another with the journal for a long time.

What is your vision for JHPPL? What do you hope to accomplish as editor, and how do you see the journal evolving under your leadership?

I think Eric has been an excellent editor, and I want to build on what he’s done. This is an exciting time in health care policy and reform, a time of tremendous volatility and change, and JHPPL has much to say about that change and about what’s going on in health care reform.

I want the journal to be an influential voice in commenting on the direction of health care policy both in the United States and abroad. We’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act; the journal has had a lot to say about the ACA, and we will have a lot to say marking the 10th anniversary of its enactment.

I want the journal to publish not just on health care reform but to deepen our engagement in the politics of public health, and to publish on a wide variety of issues, from the politics of reproductive health to the opioid epidemic to tobacco regulation and much more. I want us to be capacious in thinking about the kind of work we’re going to publish, and to think about health care politics as a very broad area that includes health care reform, insurance, and financing but is actually much broader than that.

Are you planning any special issues?

Nothing is final, but I have a few things in mind. Certainly the Affordable Care Act at 10 is one. I’d like to do a special issue on prescription drug costs and pricing, and one on the future of Roe v. Wade and reproductive health policy in this country. Immigration and health is certainly an issue that JHPPL should pay attention to, and the future of tobacco regulation is another one. These are all ideas swimming around, and we’ll see which ones get to the surface.

What qualities set JHPPL apart from other journals in the field?

I think the articles that JHPPL publishes have a substantive depth to them that’s singular. Health policy is a changing field; there’s a lot in health care policy that is fleeting, of the moment. I think JHPPL has always been committed to publishing articles that have intellectual rigor, scholarly depth, and a half-life beyond the next week’s headlines.

We’re also highly interdisciplinary. The journal has published political scientists, economists, health services researchers, lawyers, public health researchers, sociologists, and more, and I think that interdisciplinary nature is core to JHPPL’s identity. We want to publish articles that are of interest and accessible to our myriad disciplinary audiences.

What are you looking for in submissions?

We’re looking for pieces that speak to the core issues and themes that JHPPL is known for. We’re going to be looking broadly—we want submissions from authors who haven’t written for JHPPL before. We want more submissions from fields that JHPPL has published in but perhaps not yet in great quantity. Ultimately, what we’re really looking for is quality, and articles that have depth, accessibility, and that are compelling and engaging no matter what the discipline is.

Scenes of Suffering

Contributors to “Scenes of Suffering,” out now from Theater, explore representations of pain, suffering, and trauma in contemporary American theater and performance. All articles are freely available for 3 months: read them here.

Topics include:

and more. Browse the table of contents, and be sure to sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss an issue.

Duke University Press Joins the NC LIVE HomeGrown Collection

Duke University Press and NC LIVE have partnered to add thirty of the Press’s e-books to the NC LIVE HomeGrown Collection, making them freely available to more than 200 libraries across the state with unlimited, simultaneous use: no holds, checkout limits, or waitlists.

Titles include bestsellers such as Living a Feminist Life, Vinyl Freak, Exile and Pride, and Spill, among others. The list also features several books in the World Readers and Latin America Readers series, such as The South Africa Reader, The Dominican Republic Reader, and The Chile Reader.

Subject areas include African American studies, Latin American studies, cultural studies, gender studies, art history and criticism, American studies, music, and poetry. All titles are currently accessible online through NC LIVE or via local NC library catalogs.

“Having our content be broadly available and easily accessible has always been a main focus of Duke University Press’s mission. We are thrilled to partner with NC LIVE to share our books with the people of North Carolina and can’t wait to hear how folks use them in their book clubs and classrooms,” said Kim Steinle, Library Relations and Sales Manager at Duke University Press.

“NC LIVE’s HomeGrown e-book collection grows every year thanks to the generous donations of North Carolina’s libraries,” said Rob Ross, Executive Director of NC LIVE. “This year we are particularly excited to add e-books from a distinguished publisher partner in Duke University Press.”

NC LIVE is a statewide cooperative of 205 libraries that provides access to online articles, e-books, streaming videos, and digital newspapers. This content is freely available to all NC residents through their local library. The HomeGrown Collection contains more than 3,600 e-books from a variety of local publishers.

Duke University Press is a nonprofit scholarly publisher best known for publishing in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. The Press publishes approximately 140 books annually and over 50 journals, as well as offering several electronic collections and open-access publishing initiatives.

2020 Pricing Now Available

Duke University Press 2020 pricing for individual journal titles, the e-Duke Journals collections, the e-Duke Books collection, our six e-book subject collections, Euclid Prime, and MSP on Euclid is now available online at dukeupress.edu/libraries.

We are also pleased to announce a new pick-and-choose e-book model, providing customers with volume discounting starting with the purchase of 25 titles. Learn more at dukeupress.edu/pickandchoose.

New titles join the Duke University Press journals list

Duke University Press is pleased to announce the additions of History of the Present and the Romanic Review to its 2020 journals list. Both journals will be included in the e-Duke Journals Scholarly Collection: Expanded.

History of the Present, a biannual journal founded in 2011, offers articles that approach history as a critical endeavor, pressing the boundaries of history’s disciplinary norms.

The Romanic Review, a triannual journal sponsored by the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University, has published a broad diversity of critical approaches to literature published in French, Italian, and Ibero-Romance languages since its founding in 1910.

New e-book subject collections

Duke University Press is now offering libraries new e-book collections: Art and Art History and Asian Studies.

The Art and Art History e-book collection includes over 150 titles that span the discipline, with books in art theory and criticism, performance art, African American art, African and Black Diaspora art, architecture, visual culture, Asian art, Latin American art, Native American and indigenous art, Latinx and Chicanx art, photography, LGBTQ and feminist art, and museum studies.

The Asian Studies e-book collection includes over 300 titles ranging across memoir, theory, cultural studies, film, TV and popular culture, history, politics and political theory, activism, gender studies, LGBTQ studies, art, science studies, music, religious studies, fiction, poetry, environmental studies, sociology, and anthropology, among others.

These new offerings join our existing e-book subject collections in Gender Studies, Latin American Studies, Music and Sound Studies, and Religious Studies.

Black Sacred Music digital archive

Duke University Press is pleased to make the complete archive of Black Sacred Music: A Journal of Theomusicology available digitally for the first time. Edited by Yahya Jongintaba (formerly known as Jon Michael Spencer), the journal was published from 1987 to 1995. The nine-volume archive will be available for purchase beginning in summer 2019.

Black Sacred Music sought to establish theomusicology—a theologically informed musicology—as a distinct discipline, incorporating methods from anthropology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy to examine the full range of black sacred music. Its scope included black secular music, the early days of rap, soul, jazz, civil rights songs, the religious music of Africa and the African diaspora, spirituals, gospel music, and the music of the black church.

Project Euclid welcomes the African Journal of Applied Statistics

Project Euclid now hosts the African Journal of Applied Statistics, which publishes original articles on applied sciences, often using African data. This journal joins Euclid Prime in 2020, with free preview access for current 2019 subscribers.

Tusi Mathematical Research Group journals exit publishing program

After the publication of their 2019 volumes, Duke University Press will no longer publish Annals of Functional Analysis and Banach Journal of Mathematics, both owned by the Tusi Mathematical Research Group (TMRG). Both journals, along with Advances in Operator Theory, owned and published by TMRG, will exit Euclid Prime in 2020. Springer will begin publishing all three journals starting in 2020. Subscribers to Euclid Prime will retain access to previously purchased content published through 2019 for all three journals.

For more information about 2020 pricing, please contact orders@dukeupress.edu.

Illinois Journal of Mathematics Now Available

We are pleased to announce the publication of Illinois Journal of Mathematics (IJM) volume 63, issue 1, the first issue of IJM published by Duke University Press. Browse the issue’s contents on Project Euclid.

Founded in 1957, IJM featured in its inaugural volume the papers of many of the world’s leading mathematicians. Since then, IJM has published many influential papers, including the proof of the Four Color Conjecture, and continues to publish original research articles in all areas of mathematics. The journal is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The editorial board comprises a mix of preeminent mathematicians from within its host department and across the mathematical research establishment.

“We are proud to be associated with the outstanding Duke University Press mathematics publishing program and its flagship journal, the Duke Mathematical Journal,” said Steven Bradlow, Editor-in-Chief of IJM.

“We look forward to providing our expert mathematics publishing support to the editors as they and we work together to ensure that IJM continues to be a valuable resource to the entire mathematics research community,” said Rob Dilworth, Journals Director at Duke University Press.

Individual print-and-online subscriptions to IJM are available, or ask your librarian to subscribe.

Popular Protests in Venezuela

This spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history. This week, HAHR offers a thematic reading list curated by Scott Doebler. All articles are freely available online through the end of August.

Venezuela’s ongoing political drama, popular protests, sustained humanitarian crisis, and growing diaspora have captured the world’s attention. The starkness of the current crisis contrasts markedly with what was until recently a wealthy economy buoyed by colossal oil reserves.

The current political convulsions are far from singular in Venezuela’s history; HAHR has published numerous articles about popular protests throughout Latin America, including many in Venezuela’s history. Presented here are four such articles that explore different outpourings of popular protest in Latin America against the powers that be—some violent, some peaceful, and some a complicated mixture.

The authors investigate the individual conditions that provoked the contestations, often placing them within larger national and global contexts. The articles not only showcase varied local situations spaced over centuries, thus transcending the “colonial” and “modern” divide, but they also represent changing interpretations of popular protests themselves and their role in society.

Civil Disorders and Popular Protests in Late Colonial New Granada” by Anthony McFarlane (1984)
Written as the social history turn was in full swing, McFarlane investigates who participated in “civil disorders” and why by focusing on lesser-known (at the time) challenges to aspects of colonial rule.

Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780–1800” by Rebecca Earle (1993)
This study of two rebellions at the turn of the nineteenth century looks at the weakness of state control over distant populations and their continued expectation of autonomy.

Public Land Settlement, Privatization, and Peasant Protest in Duaca, Venezuela, 1870–1936” by Doug Yarrington (1994)
Focusing on understudied Duaca, Venezuela, Yarrington follows changing land ownership patterns and its consequences.

‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978–1983” by Alejandro Velasco (2010)
This article examines how popular sectors held democracy accountable for representing their interests by hijacking public property.

For additional background reading on Venezuela, check out some of our books on its history and politics. We Created Chávez by George Ciccariello-Maher tells the history of Venezuelan politics from below, explaining how militants, students, women, Afro-indigeneous peoples, and the working-class brought about Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and, ultimately, brought Hugo Chávez to power. In Channeling the State, Naomi Schiller explores how community television in Venezuela created openings for the urban poor to embrace the state as a collective process with the potential for creating positive social change. Looking beyond Hugo Chávez and the national government, contributors to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, edited by David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger, examine forms of democracy involving ordinary Venezuelans: in communal councils, cultural activities, blogs, community media, and other forums. The Enduring Legacy by Miguel Tinker Salas is a history of the oil industry’s rise in Venezuela focused especially on the experiences and perceptions of industry employees, both American and Venezuelan.

We also have some titles on Venezuela’s culture. Marcia Ochoa’s Queen for a Day considers how femininities are produced, performed, and consumed on the runways of the Miss Venezuela contest and on the well-traveled Caracas avenue where transgender women (transformistas) project themselves into the urban imaginary. Sujatha Fernandes’s Who Can Stop the Drums is a vivid ethnography of social movements in the barrios, or poor shantytowns, of Caracas, Venezuela. And The Fernando Coronil Reader is a posthumous collection of the Venezuelan anthropologist’s most important work that highlights his deep concern with the global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach.

Top image: A protester wearing an Anonymous mask and lifting a Venezuelan flag, March 16, 2014. Photo by Jamez42. Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. (Find the original here.)