Author: Laura Sell

Publicity and Advertising Manager, Duke University Press

Final Day of our Fall Sale

Today is the final day to save 50% on in-stock books and journal issues during our Fall Sale. Use coupon FALL21 and be sure to shop before 11:59 pm EDT.

Customers outside North and South America can use the FALL21 coupon through today at our UK-based distributor Combined Academic Publishers to save on shipping, particularly in Europe.

If you shopped early in the sale, check out our post on new books that came out in early October. And also consider our latest releases, Saturation, a collection edited by Melanie Jue and Rafico Ruiz; The Work of Rape by Rana M. Jaleel; Decay, a collection edited by Ghassan Hage; See How We Roll by Melinda Hinkson; Indirect Subjects by Matthew H. Brown; and The Deconstruction of Sex, the late philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy’s final book, a collaboration with Irving Goh.

See the fine print and FAQs here. Don’t delay, shop now!

Our Fall Sale Continues

fall-sale21-blog

Our Fall Sale continues through October 15. Customers in North and South America can shop our website, and those in the rest of the world may find shipping costs and times to be less if you shop at our UK-based distributor Combined Academic Publishers. At both locations, the coupon code is FALL21.

If you shopped during the first week of our sale, we have some new releases that have just become available. Check them out and save 50%!

CoupletsBrian Massumi’s Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, has become a classic text in cultural studies and affect theory. We’ve just released a twentieth-anniversary edition featuring a new preface and a gorgeous new design. If you’ve been meaning to pick up this important text, now’s the time! Massumi also has a brand new book out, Couplets, which presents twenty-four essays that represent the full spectrum of his work during the past thirty years. Conceived as a companion volume to Parables for the Virtual, Couplets addresses the key concepts of Parables from different angles and contextualizes them, allowing their stakes to be more fully felt.

In To Make Negro Literature, Elizabeth McHenry recovers a hidden genealogy of Black literature by examining African American authorship in the understudied decade following the 1896 legalization of segregation. By prioritizing overlooked archives, McHenry reveals a radically different literary landscape.

Moving HomeMoving Home by Sandra Gunning also draws on lesser-known African diasporic texts, in this case travel narratives, to explore the conditions and possibilities of race, gender, sex, and class that early black Atlantic travel enabled.

Celeste Day Moore’s Soundscapes of Liberation traces the popularity of African American music in postwar France to outline how it came to signify both state power and liberation for Francophone audiences throughout the world.

natures-wildNature’s Wild by Andil Gosine revises understandings of queer desire in the Caribbean, showing how the very concept of homosexuality in the Caribbean (and in the Americas more broadly) has been overdetermined by a colonially-influenced human/animal divide. You have several chances to catch Gosine at events in October!

And don’t forget to add some of our quickest selling journal issues to your order. “Radical Care” and “Sexology and Its Afterlives” from Social Text, “Crip Temporalities” from South Atlantic Quarterly, “The Infrastructure of Emergency” from American Literature, and “Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory at Fifty” from New German Critique are topping our lists right now!

Pick up these new titles and all in-stock books and journal issues for 50% off, but only if you shop now with coupon FALL21! This special offer October 15. See the fine print here.

Author Events in October

Catch our authors at a variety of book talks, keynotes, and conversations both in-person and online this month.

September 30, 12:00 pm CDT: Ronak Kapadia, author of Insurgent Aesthetics, joins Nicole Fleetwood for a conversation about research on carcerality, U.S. imperialism, and visual culture, sponsored by Northwestern Buffett Institute’s New Frontiers in Global Research Initiative.

September 30, 6:00 pm EDT: Rachel Zolf, author of No One’s Witness, gives an online book talk sponsored by Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics.

October 1, 12:00 pm EDT: Andil Gosine, author of Nature’s Wild, appears in conversation with Faith Smith at a virtual event sponsored by Harvard Bookstore.

October 1, 5:00 pm CEST: Yv E. Nay and Eliza Steinbock host a launch event for their coedited issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, “The Europa Issue.” Email transeuropanetwork@riseup.net for a Zoom link.

October 2, 1:00 pm EDT: Christina Schwenkel, author of Building Socialism, participates in an Urban History Association forum entitled “Afterlives of Public Housing: A Comparative Conversation.”

October 7, 12:15 pm EDT: Anna Arabindan-Kesson, author of Black Bodies, White Gold presents a talk entitled “Art Hx: Digital Archiving and Forms of Care” at the Digital Humanities/Exhibitions Seminar.

October 8, 11:00 am EDT: Join us for the first of several virtual events celebrating the Black Outdoors series. Editors Sarah Jane Cervenak and J Kameron Carter host a virtual reading with authors La Marr Jurelle Bruce, Chris Finley, R.A. Judy, Kevin Quashie, and Maya Stovall, concluding with a brief Q&A.

October 8, 7:00 pm EDT: Andil Gosine, author of Nature’s Wild, appears in person at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art.

October 13, 10:00 am PDT: micha cárdenas, author of the forthcoming book Poetic Operations (January 2022), speaks at the Augmented Senses virtual symposium.

October 13, 5:30 pm EDT: Monica Huerta, author of Magical Habits, begins Personal Limits, a virtual conversation series about contemporary experiments in personal writing. Her first conversation with Sarah Chihaya and Merve Emre is sponsored by Labyrinth Books.

October 15, 10:00 am EDT: Max Liboiron, author of Pollution is Colonialism, gives the keynote address at the Expanding Communities of Sustainable Practice symposium, sponsored by Leeds Arts University.

October 20, 10:00am PDT: Join an online book launch for Sara Ahmed’s Complaint! featuring panelists Sirma Bilge, Heidi Mirza, Tiffany Page and Leila Whitley, and chaired by Chandra Frank. The event is hosted by UC San Diego’s Critical Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies

October 25, 3pm EDT: William Craft Brumfield, author of Journeys through the Russian Empire and Architecture at the End of the Earth, begins a five-lecture series sponsored by the 92nd Street Y. The series is entitled “20th Century Russia: The Land and History of the Empire and Soviet Union Through Photography,” and continues weekly through November 22.


October 25, 5:30pm HST: Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez and Hōkūlani K. Aikau, editors of Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai’i, speak at the Hawai’i Book and Music Festival.

October 25: Dana E. Powell, author of Landscapes of Power, will be a keynote speaker at the Energy Ethics conference

Introducing Black Outdoors, a New Series

In 2020 we launched Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study, a new series edited by Sarah Jane Cervenak and J. Kameron Carter. Now that nine books are available in the series and two are shortly forthcoming, we invite you to learn more about the series and perhaps submit your own project.

Black Outdoors is dedicated to the study of alternative ecologies and socialities beyond logics of property, sovereignty, and propertied self-possession. It points to forms of social life exceeding the racial, sexual, gendered, economic, and neurological protocols of self- and civic administration and of the normatively human. Indeed, Black Outdoors attends to figurations of the outdoors as “black,” where blackness exceeds regulation.

Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker says, “I love when a series reconfigures our landscape in a profound way, putting work in relation that might have previously seemed disparate. From the beginning Black Outdoors has been just that kind of series, offering a home that expands what kind of writing is possible, calling more of it into being. Jay and Sarah have a genius for identifying brilliant writers and theorists who may not have previously met but are producing the conversation we all need.”

The series editors are seeking new projects for the series. It envisions books that imagine form itself as an occasion of reimagining language and relation without the enclosures dividing people from each other and from the earth and the universe. Black Outdoors invites a range of approaches to blackness and out(doors)ness, to what black outdoors as potential and possibility could mean to imaginations of being and relationality.

Sarah Jane Cervenak is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. J. Cameron Carter is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. Potential authors can contact the series editors directly.

Cervenak says, “We’re so excited about how the series has reached people, how different thinkers have engaged Black Outdoors as a way to think about relationality, about symbolic and actual places, about unenclosed Black living. Every book is a beautiful offering and we’re thankful to be part of the conversations they engender together.”

The published books in the series are all 50% off during our Fall Sale. Pick them up using coupon FALL21 through October 15, 2021.

Beyond Man: Race, Coloniality, and Philosophy of Religion, edited by An Yountae and Eleanor Craig (2021)

How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, by La Marr Jurelle Bruce

Black Gathering: Art, Ecology, Ungiven Life, by Sarah Jane Cervenak

Maroon Choreography, by fahima ife

Sentient Flesh: Thinking in Disorder, Poiesis in Black, by R. A. Judy

Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness, edited by Tiffany Lethabo King, Jenell Navarro, Andrea Smith

Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being, by Kevin Quashie

Liquor Store Theatre, by Maya Stovall

No One′s Witness: A Monstrous Poetics, by Rachel Zolf

Forthcoming titles include Toward Camden by Mercy Romero (December 2021) and Black Trans Feminism by Marquis Bey (January 2022). 

A “Roadrunner” Playlist: Guest Post by Joshua Clover

RoadrunnerThis is a blog post to accompany a playlist to accompany a book, Roadrunner. The book is about the song “Roadrunner” but about never gets it right. I’ll try to say something more useful in a minute but before I forget, some notes on the playlist. There are in truth two. Faster Miles an Hour is the bare bones version featuring songs central to the book’s ideas. Faster and Then Some  includes all those songs and numerous others that come up over the course of the book, more or less in the order they appear, not every single title mentioned, but every song that gets a gloss, even if it is just a sentence. Well, almost every song. Some songs are missing from Spotify and some are misnamed. There is a track correctly labeled “Roadrunner (Twice)” but the track called “Roadrunner” should rightly be titled “Roadrunner (Once)”; this distinction is at the heart of Chapter 2. A live version released as a B side in 1977, discussed at the outset of Chapter 3, cannot be found on Spotify but here it is: “Roadrunner (Thrice).” That chapter concludes by revisiting “Johnny B. Goode” and mentions in passing the Sex Pistols cover, which as many will recall, they assay as part of a catastrophic two-song medley with the book’s title song: “Johnny B Goode/Road Runner.” Chapter 4, oriented by a Cornershop song secretly recasting “Roadrunner” from the Global South, culminates with discussion of an extended mix; the playlist has the radio edit, but not the miraculous “Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook Remix Extended Version).” Finally, the last chapter returns to the title song via a later Jonathan Richman track of profound sweetness, also absent: “Chewing Gum Wrapper.

modern loversThis book is not about any of these songs. And if it is about “Roadrunner” that is because “Roadrunner” is about much more than it lets on. It can’t help it, that is how songs work, drawing some portion of the everything into themselves whether they mean to or not. The book claims early on, “it is the greatest rock song of all time, or the greatest American rock song of all time, or the greatest American rock song of that era.” But it continues, “I offer those specifications not to diminish the claim but because ‘American’ and ‘rock’ matter to the song and to this book, and ‘that era’ matters.” If the book is about the song, this is because it is trying to understand what America is, and where it is going, and it approaches this by trying to think about the world that the song makes available, that thing of which it cannot help but be a trace — trying to think about the situation in the United States in and around 1972 when the song was recorded. Or some fraction of that situation. I am especially interested in that relatively recent phenomenon that has transformed the life of pretty much everyone on the planet: capitalism, a disaster that, across the globe and the centuries, took its most pure form with the industrial boom in the United States after World War II, during the exact years that would mark the rise & peak of rock & roll. These two things are, I think, inseparable, and that inseparability is the book’s topic, and how that allows for a revised history of the genre. Or maybe it is about the largely unremarked story that rock & roll can’t stop telling from the very start, what I call the ur-story, which contains a great paradox and yet is made of simple pieces that snap together into that astounding and finally awful thing called rock music, a story which will never be told more magically than in “Roadrunner.” Or maybe it is just about driving around.

But now I am at risk of summarizing a book that is already itself a summary, of explaining a book that is an effort at explanation, of revising a book that is already a revision. So I will turn away, which is ironic, since if you are driving along a ring road, as the song does and as the book does, the ring road outside the Boston metropolitan area, the ring road of global history, then you are always turning away, just as you are always turning toward. I will turn for a minute toward a personal story. This is the inaugural title in Singles, a series which I co-edit, each book about a single song. We made a few agreements when we were just starting out, my co-editor Emily J. Lordi and I. For example, we agreed that we would limit the number of classic rock titles in the series, though I was granted an exception as a founding editor. As a corollary we decided to avoid Bob Dylan books, not because there were no good ones left out there but because there were surely quite a few, and yet it was not clear that the world needed our help in churning them into the open air. We agreed to leave them in the ground. And we also agreed that the books should be very limited in their autobiographical scope. There can be little doubt that there is something deeply personal in how we come to love songs, but that is not the same as what is interesting about a song, what a song can know about the world, and that finally is where our commitments lie. So I have tried to leave almost all of that out, save the fact that I happened to be a kid in Boston during the period when the song was recorded and released and recorded and released and recorded and released — it kept happening, in very confusing ways — and that no doubt shapes my attachment.

But the personal story I want to sneak into this note happens in Berkeley in 1981. It goes like this. One afternoon I was walking across campus, something I did quite often as someone who was neither enrolled nor employed and was mostly on acid. It was a good walk and it stood between some friends on northside and the bookstores on southside. So I was walking across campus high on acid and looking for street performers to help kill some of the time I was trying so relentlessly to annihilate. I had a few regulars I visited with, if they were around: the extremely delightful “Hate Man,” an interesting poet known as the “Bubble Lady,” numerous religious ranters, a rather dull political comic named Stoney Burke. If things broke right it could take me a couple hours to make my way from north to south, a journey of some 800 yards. Even longer if someone tried to induct me into a cult. I never wanted it to end because I never wanted to arrive anywhere. But on this particular day I was perilously close to reaching the southern edge of campus, having already passed through Sather Gate into the holy land of Upper Sproul Plaza, when I saw a few people standing around in a circle, no more than ten, and I heard from within that small circle what might have been the sound of singing. It was hard to tell, as I was at a bit of a distance, there was no singer in sight, and I was pretty high.

As I approached over the course of what seemed like a very long and distended time, it must have been about 120 feet, the mystery abated only slightly. There was definitely singing — sweet, labored, cheerful — but still no singer. When I drew pretty near I saw that one person was holding an acoustic guitar but really just holding it, like hold this for me for a minute, his hand on the headstock, its end pin resting on the dirty ground. The singing seemed to be coming from the ground as well? And indeed this turned out to be the case. There was some guy, he looked to be a teenager or maybe 40ish, and within this small circle of onlookers he was crawling on the dirty plaza just a few feet and a few years from Mario Savio and that police car and he was giving it his all.

Berkeley in 1981 not yet having fallen to the Buddhist billionaires and still being stocked with zanies just then showing their age, this was certainly within the range of local customs. But still, this is one of the moments where you check in with yourself to see if you can figure out how high you are really, and I believe I mentioned I was pretty high but I was pretty sure that this was really happening, an incredibly happy busker was crawling around on all fours, frolicking really, periodically looking up and singing in a pretty adorable a cappella, “I’m a little dinosaur.” It’s a song about an entire category of animal and how they have to go away and the children are sad and plead for the dinosaur to return and it does. And that was the first time I saw Jonathan Richman live, more than a decade after he wrote the greatest American rock song of the era, nearly a decade after he recorded it, about the same amount of time after he very carefully, very thoughtfully, utterly implausibly threw it all away. This is a book most of all about why someone might do such a thing.

Joshua Clover is the author of Roadrunner, the first book in the new series Singles. He is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. Read the introduction to Roadrunner for free and save 50% on the book with coupon code FALL21.

Save 50% During Our Fall Sale

We’re excited to announce the start of our Fall Sale. Today through October 15, you can save 50% on all in-stock books and journal issues with coupon code FALL21.

Everyone interested in making change in academe will want a copy of Sara Ahmed’s Complaint! Other hot new titles include Birthing Black Mothers by Jennifer C. Nash, Philosophy for Spiders by McKenzie Wark, Magical Habits by Monica Huerta, and Reckoning with Slavery by Jennifer L. Morgan.

Our distributor in the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific, Combined Academic Publishers, is pleased to extend the same 50% off discount to our customers there. Since overseas shipping is very slow these days, we highly encourage everyone in their territory to order directly from them using the same FALL21 coupon code.

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.

If you have any difficulty ordering via our website, you can call our customer service department at 888-651-0122 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8-5 Eastern Time).

The sale ends Friday, October 15 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. A number of new titles will be released between now and then so shop now and be sure to check back later as well!

Save on Great Academic Advice Titles

The Academic's HandbookAs the fall semester gets underway, you may be looking for advice on being more productive, or writing or teaching better. We invite you to check out some great books featuring advice for teachers, administrators, advisors, and graduate students and to save 40% on them using coupon ADVICE40.

For decades The Academic’s Handbook has been a trusted guide to navigating the academy. Now in a revised and expanded fourth edition, more than fifty contributors from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds offer practical advice for academics at every career stage, whether they are first entering the job market or negotiating the post-tenure challenges of leadership and administrative roles. The new edition is edited by Lori A. Flores and Jocelyn H. Olcott

Putting the Humanities PhD To WorkAnother book full of advice for everyone from graduate students to the faculty who supervise them is Katina L. Rogers’s Putting the Humanities PhD to Work. It grounds practical career advice in a nuanced consideration of how graduate training can lead to meaningful and significant careers beyond the academy. Writing in the LSE Review of Books, Kristen Vogt Veggeberg says, “this book does something special—it empowers, if not emboldens, the humanities doctorate, and encourages them to see the world in a way that is deserving of their time and hard work.”

Every Day I Write the BookIf you’re looking to improve your academic writing, you won’t have a better guide than Amitava Kumar in his recent book Every Day I Write the Book: Notes on Style. Kumar is an award-winning novelist as well as a professor of English. Alongside his interviews with an array of scholars whose distinct writing offers inspiring examples for students and academics alike, the book’s pages are full of practical advice about everything from how to write criticism to making use of a kitchen timer. John Francisconi says, “Kumar’s writing guide/commonplace book is a salve. Reading his newest is like having office hours—no, better; a drink and bookish conversation, in a bar—with your smartest, kindest teacher, or friend.” 

If you’re just starting out teaching history, or if you’re an experienced teacher hoping to reinvigorate your courses, check out the Design Principles for Teaching History series. Edited by Antoinette Burton, the series offers primers each featuring ten principles for designing a course in a variety of historical disciplines, including world history, African history, Pacific histories, environmental history, and gender history. A forthcoming volume will address digital history.

We hope these titles will help you be a more successful student, professor, or administrator. They’d also make great gifts for your students or advisees. Save 40% on any of them with coupon ADVICE40

Events in September

Several of our authors are giving talks online and even in person this month. Hope you can catch them! Please note the local time zone in each listing.

September 10, 1:00 pm EDT: Brown University Center for Middle East Studies sponsors a talk by Hagar Kotef, author of The Colonizing Self.

September 10, 3 pm EDT: Join the authors and editors of Meridians’ new issue, Transnational Feminist Approaches to Anti-Muslim Racism, for a conversation.

September 16, 6:30 pm EDT and September 17, 11 am EDT: The journal liquid blackness celebrates their first three issues with an online event, Atonal Symphonies: Conversations on Blackness and Liquidity at the Threshold of Thinking and Making.

September 20, 6:00 pm PDT: Joshua Clover, author of Roadrunner, will be in conversation with Justin Desmangles in an event sponsored by City Lights Bookstore.

September 23, 1:00 pm EDT: The CUNY Center for Place, Culture, and Politics sponsors a conversation between Kareem Rabie, author of Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited and Mezna Qato and David Harvey. 

September 25, 2:45 pm EDT: Amitava Kumar appears in person at the Albany Book Festival, in conversation with Ayad Akhtar and Joe Donahue. Kumar is the author of several books, including A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, and, most recently, Every Day I Write the Book.

September 28, 6:15 pm EDT:  The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University sponsors a talk by Kevin Fellezs, author of Listen But Don’t Ask Question

Scholars of Color First Book Award

We are excited to congratulate the first cohort of books receiving the new Scholars of Color First Book Award. The award supports innovative and important books authored by scholars of color, as indicated through the review process. This fund supports and exemplifies our commitment to publish works by rising stars and to celebrate books with exceptional promise by scholars of color who might otherwise not receive recognition and support from their institutions. On average, we publish 36 first books each year, many of which are written by scholars of color, and we select several per season for the award.

Duke University Press Director Dean Smith says, “The Scholars of Color First Book Award enables us to support innovative and emergent voices at the beginning of their careers and create open spaces for experimentation and risk-taking—and it further reinforces our commitment to the centering of marginalized perspectives from scholars at every stage in their careers.”

The Scholars of Color First Book award is made possible by Duke University Press authors who donate their book royalties to help support innovative work by junior scholars of color. Many reviewers have also donated their honoraria. As part of this award, the Press covers the costs of indexing. 

Editorial Director Gisela Fosado says, “Every first book we publish is usually tied to a happy tenure story.  Supporting first books by scholars of color is therefore essential to fundamental changes we need in higher education. It’s been heartening to see the wave of support for this initiative both by folks who have donated to the fund and also by the award recipients and our many dedicated book readers.” 

Like most scholarly book publishers, our books program is not self-supporting. You can now donate to the award, as well as to other Press funds, on our website.

Check out the inaugural award winners below. A few of them are out now and the rest will be published over the next few months.

Farewell to Lauren Berlant

berlant1We are deeply sorry to learn of the death of theorist Lauren Berlant following a long illness. Berlant was the author or editor of six books with us. They were also a founding editor of the series Writing Matters! and Theory Q and a contributor to many edited collections and journal issues. 

Berlant was George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where they taught since 1984. Their first title with us was The Queen of American Goes to Washington City (1997), which Judith Butler called “a keen and disarming book.” They followed it up with The Female Complaint (2008) and then with Cruel Optimism (2011), which became their most popular book, reaching outside the academy and inspiring art and even a punk song. Writing in The Progressive, queer humorist Kate Clinton said, “If you are looking for some new language to use to describe the current crisis of hope, read Cruel Optimism. . . . It is a wild, deeply witty examination of our attachments to food, love, politics, family, and pop culture.” Berlant’s most recent book was Reading Sedgwick (2019), an edited collection on the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.

978-0-8223-5111-5_prCruel Optimism was the winner of the American Comparative Literature Association 2012 Rene Wellek Award. In 2019, Berlant received the  Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Literature Section of Modern Language Association. They were also a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Berlant contributed to a number of our journals, including Social Text, SAQ, the minnesota review, and Public Culture. We have made their 2012 interview in Qui Parle freely available until September 2021.

Berlant especially liked working collaboratively and published two co-written books with us, Sex, or the Unbearable (2013), with Lee Edelman, and The Hundreds (2019), with Kathleen Stewart. In an interview with UChicago News, Berlant said, “Other people’s minds are amazing. Collaboration is like a super-intensified version of teaching, where you and somebody else are working something out, and you’re building on each other—but you’re also just missing each other. There’s the complete joy of the ‘not me.’ Seeing somebody else at work, seeing somebody else’s generativity and seeing how, together, you can compose things that neither of you could have done by yourself.” Stewart says of Berlant, “Lauren held a door in the world open for so many of us. Now we shoulder on, in gratitude. The outpouring of love from everywhere is the biggest testimony to Lauren’s beauty and impact.”

The HundredsNot long after the publication of The Hundreds, Berlant was profiled by Hua Hsu in The New Yorker, an unusual honor for an academic, and a testament to the huge reach of Berlant’s work. Writing about The Hundreds, Hsu says, “In Berlant and Stewart’s hands, affect theory provides a way of understanding the sensations and resignations of the present, the normalized exhaustion that comes with life in the new economy. It is a way of framing uniquely modern questions.” 

Around the Press, those who worked with Berlant are deeply mourning the loss. Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker said, “I’ve known Lauren since shortly after they arrived at the University of Chicago in the mid-1980s. Lauren had a singularly brilliant mind, questioning their own thoughts mid-sentence in pursuit of a better account.  In book after book Lauren advanced a fully connected project, one with deep political commitments, but one that could never be fully known in advance. One of the greatest theorists of their generation— someone always generously reaching out to smart younger scholars—it was the greatest privilege to be their publisher and friend.”

Design Manager Amy Ruth Buchanan designed many of Berlant’s books, including the now iconic cover for Cruel Optimism. She says, “Lauren Berlant was one of the kindest, smartest, and most appreciative and generous authors a publisher could hope to work with. I am so sad to learn of their passing.”

Executive Editor Courtney Berger says, “Lauren was a fierce intellectual who relentlessly challenged our assumptions about gender, sex, nation, and feeling. Lauren was also an incredibly generous collaborator who sought out opportunities to think alongside and in conversation with others. Even as they dwelled on the structural violence and difficulties of thriving in a world dominated by capitalism, racism, and sexism, Lauren saw the potential for us to radically transform our relationship to the world and to ourselves. Lauren was a wit, who liked to share and hear new jokes. They loved cats, silly cat photos, and elaborate cat furniture. And they could always direct you to the best vegan food in town. Above all, Lauren was a friend and a comrade, and I will miss them terribly.”

Berger has been working with Berlant on their final book, On the Inconvenience of Other People. Berlant turned the manuscript in just a few weeks before their death and we expect to publish it in Fall 2022. In the new book Berlant considers how we might “loosen” our relations to the objects and situations that we are unhappily attached to in a way that might transform our political conditions and create new life worlds.

For three decades, we have been honored to publish the groundbreaking work of Lauren Berlant. We will miss them as a scholar, a collaborator, and a friend. Our condolences go out to all of Lauren’s friends, family, and colleagues, and especially to their partner Ian Horswill.