Author: Laura Sell

Publicity and Advertising Manager, Duke University Press

Courtney Berger on the Canceled SCMS Conference

spring50_saleapril20_blog-1-1

Our editors look forward to meeting their authors at conferences every year and are sad to be missing out on that this spring. The annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies would have taken place April 1-5 in Denver this year. We know that many of you look forward to stocking up on new books at special discounts at our conferences, so we are pleased to extend a 50% discount on all in-stock books and journal issues through May 1. In addition, if you spend $100 or more, we are offering free shipping to U.S. addresses. Journal subscriptions and society memberships don’t qualify for the 50% discount, but they do count toward the $100 threshold.

CBerger_webInstead of greeting Executive Editor Courtney Berger in person this year, check out her recommendations for new titles in the discipline and a great round up of other ways to learn about all the new scholarship that was to be presented at the conference.

Hello, SCMSers. I’m sorry that I won’t see you all in person this year. In the past couple of months, we have published an amazing range of new books in film & media studies. I was looking forward to showing them off at the conference.  I hope you’ll go to our website to see the new and forthcoming titles and take advantage of the 50% off sale. (I know, I know. It’s not the same as being able to browse books at the exhibit hall, but it’s the best we’ve got right now.) You can learn Her Storiesabout the centrality of the soap opera to the history of American tv production in Elana Levine’s Her Stories, experience the film culture of mid-20th century Paris with Eric Smoodin in Paris in the Dark, or find out about the environmental publics that emerge in India around radiant technologies like cell-phone towers in Rahul Mukherjee’s Radiant Infrastructures.

There were some exciting panels this year that I was hoping to attend that highlight some emerging areas on Duke’s media studies list. Several panels on environment and media feature work related to the new Elements series, edited by Nicole Starosielski and Stacy Alaimo. Some of these panels will be happening in virtual form during the week, so check them out if Wild Blue Mediayou can. Melody Jue’s Wild Blue Media is the latest book in the series. Jue submerges key concepts of media—such as storage and transmission—under water, asking us to reconsider conventional notions of media environment. It’s a must read for folks in media studies, in my opinion.

Also, here’s a heads up about an upcoming book series on gaming and game culture called “Power Play” that will be edited by Jen Malkowski and TreaAndrea Russworm. It’s brand new, so no books yet; but keep your eyes open for new books in this area. And if you are into queer gaming culture, check out Bonnie Ruberg’s volume The Queer Games Avant-Garde, which features interviews with 22 queer video game developers and designers.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Eliza Steinbock, whose book Shimmering Images won this year’s SCMS Best First Book Award. Congratulations, Eliza!

Take care, everyone, and I look forward to seeing you next year.

COB_100_pr

If you were hoping to connect with Courtney or another of our editors about your book project at SCMS, please reach out to them by email. See our editors’ specialties and contact information here and our new online submissions guidelines here.

We’re also excited to welcome liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies to our publishing program next spring. And don’t forget to check out our great new journal issues in film and media studies, including “On Chantal Akerman” from Camera Obscura, “Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema” from New German Critique, “Scenes of Suffering” from Theater, and “Multimodal Media” from Poetics Today.

Once again, we’re sorry to miss you in person but hope the 50% discount with free U.S. shipping on orders over $100 will make it possible for you to pick up some new books and journal issues. Use coupon SPRING50 at checkout and see the fine print on the sale here.

New Titles in Asian Studies

SPRING50_SaleApril20_Blog

Every year we look forward to connecting with scholars at the Association for Asian Studies conference. We will miss meeting with authors and editors and selling books at this year’s conference, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We know that many of you look forward to stocking up on new books at special discounts at our conferences, so we are pleased to extend a 50% discount on all in-stock books and journal issues through May 1. In addition, if you spend $100 or more, we are offering free shipping to U.S. addresses. Journal subscriptions and society memberships don’t qualify for the 50% discount, but they do count toward the $100 threshold.

Here are some of the great titles in Asian Studies that we were planning to feature in our booth at AAS.

Experimental BeijingCongratulations to Sasha Su-Ling Welland, whose book Experimental Beijing: Gender and Globalization in Chinese Contemporary Art is the winner of the AAS’s 2020 Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize.

We also congratulate Juno Salazar Parreñas, whose book Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation received honorable mention for the Harry J. Benda Prize, presented by the Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) of the AAS.

Margaret Hillenbrand’s Negative Exposures: Knowing What Not to Know in Contemporary China is new this month. She explores how artistic appropriations of historical images effectively articulate the openly unsayable and counter the public secrecy that erases traumatic episodes from China’s past.

Harry Harootunian is best known as a scholar of Japanese history, but recently he turned his pen to memoir, writing about his parents’ escape from the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century in The Unspoken as Heritage: The Armenian Genocide and Its Unaccounted Lives.

UnderglobalizationIn Underglobalization: Beijing’s Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy, Joshua Neves examines the cultural politics of the “fake” and how frictions between legality and legitimacy propel dominant models of economic development and political life in contemporary China. See his recent blog post on the coronavirus.

In Invisibility by Design Women and Labor in Japan’s Digital Economy, Gabriella Lukács traces how young Japanese women’s unpaid labor as bloggers, net idols, “girly” photographers, online traders, and cell phone novelists was central to the development of Japan’s digital economy in the 1990s and 2000s.

Avian Reservoirs: Virus Hunters and Birdwatchers in Chinese Sentinel Posts by Frédéric Keck is unfortunately very timely right now. Keck Avian Reservoirstraces how the anticipation of bird flu pandemics has changed relations between birds and humans in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, showing that humans’ reliance on birds is key to mitigating future pandemics. Check out his posts on the coronavirus’s impact in Wuhan in The Conversation and Somatosphere.

In his experimental work Ethnography #9, Alan Klima examines moneylending, gambling, funeral casinos, and the consultations of spirits and mediums to predict winning lottery numbers to illustrate the relationship between contemporary Thai spiritual and financial practices and global capitalism’s abstraction of monetary value.

Please check out all the titles we were planning on featuring in our program ad for the meeting. And see a complete list of our Asian Studies titles here.

EAS_new_prWe’re always excited to share our great Asian studies journals: Archives of Asian ArtComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastEast Asian Science, Technology and Society, the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture, the Journal of Korean Studies, positions: asia critique, and Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature. Special issues are included in our 50%-off sale, and subscriptions are always available.

We also offer an Asian Studies e-book collection, which moves beyond traditional area studies to include titles addressing individual Asian countries as well as regional and transnational issues. Ask your librarian to learn more.

If you were hoping to connect with one of our editors about your book project at AAS, please reach out to them by email. See our editors’ specialties and contact information here and our submissions guidelines here.

Once again, we’re sorry to miss you in person but hope the 50% discount with free U.S. shipping on orders over $100 will make it possible for you to pick up some new books and journal issues. Use coupon SPRING50 at checkout and see the fine print on the sale here.

La Grippe à Paris: How Paris Responded to the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, A Guest Post by Eric Smoodin

Smoodin PhotoEric Smoodin is the author of Paris in the Dark: Going to the Movies in the City of Light, 1930–1950, just published this month. He is Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and author of Regarding Frank Capra: Audience, Celebrity, and American Film Studies, 1930–1960, and coeditor of Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method, both also published by Duke University Press. This guest post is reblogged from his own blog, The Paris Cinema Project.

On March 14th, 2020, the French government announced the closing of all restaurants, museums, theatres, and cinemas, a response to the novel coronavirus, possibly the worst global public health crisis since the flu epidemic of 1918-19. But as a comparison, what exactly was the government’s response just over 100 years ago to la grippe espagnole, which killed as many as a quarter of a million people in France? More to the point of my interests here, how did the flu affect the cinema in France, and especially in Paris?

Information can be difficult to come by, largely because the press in France covered the disease only very slowly, perhaps because the government insisted so as not to cause any alarm, or perhaps because journalists simply didn’t understand the severity of the outbreak. Françoise Bouron has provided the most exhaustive analysis of the general attitudes of the press at the time. While the flu seems to have come to France in April, 1918, most newspapers and journals at first avoided it altogether, then reported that France, unlike other European countries, seemed to have been spared, and then only began to cover the national outbreak in the late-summer and early-fall.

pm_speech2

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announcing the closure of all non-essential public places in France, including cinemas, on March 14th, 2020

In any case, and far different from the response of 2020, the governmental actions in 1918-19 seem to have been regional rather than national, and might vary significantly from place to place, with Paris, apparently, always doing less rather than more. In mid-October, 1918, Le Figaro reported that 700 Parisians had died from the flu during the past week, an increase of 300 from the week before. The newspaper indicated that more hospital beds were coming to the city and that schools would be disinfected but would not close. Hinting at the dense Parisian bureaucracy that may have made any decisive action difficult, Le Figaro continued that, anyway, schools could only be closed in Paris by the local government, at the suggestion of the Seine Prefect and in consultation with the Hygiene Council.

That same report in Figaro, however, let readers know that Édouard Herriot, the mayor of Lyon, had acted more decisively. Herriot, of course, was the radical socialist who would later be in and out of office as Prime Minister during multiple revolving-door governments in France during the 1920’s and ‘30’s. In Lyon, Herriot insisted that all corpses be buried immediately, demanded the daily disinfection of post offices, banks, cafés, restaurants, and train stations, and completely closed all theatres and cinemas.

Other locations did the same thing. In Périgueux, in southwestern France, schools were closed and so too were all theatres and cinemas. The Communist newspaper L’Humanité reported on those closings, and added that the ongoing Parisian response involved, yet again, more hospital beds and, in addition, thirteen thousand gallons of rum to be distributed to the city’s pharmacies and sold as a partial cure for flu.

herriot

Édouard Herriot, who as the mayor of Lyon closed all the cinemas there during the epidemic

Assertions of official Parisian inactivity went across ideological lines. In late-October 1918, the far-rightwing newspaper L’Intransigeant wrote, “One thinks…of closing the cinemas, the theatres and even churches, as has been done in Switzerland and some French cities.” Then L’Intransigeant added that, “rather than facing anything that extreme, Parisians have been told to refrain from going anywhere they might be exposed to influenza.”

At least according to the press, aggressive actions by Herriot and others worked. In early-November, Le Journal reported that closing theatres—and it’s unclear whether this included cinemas—in Limoges, Dijon, Cherbourg, Orléans, and elsewhere had stopped the spread of flu. Le Temps wrote that “the efforts in Lyon had had their effect,” and theatres and cinemas would now reopen.

But Paris still did nothing comparable, and there was even some debate in the city about the usefulness of closures and the severity of the epidemic. On November 11th, 1918, the day that World War One ended, La Presse, a Parisian daily, devoted its front page to the Armistice. On page two, however, La Presse ran two stories about the flu. One of them insisted that the illness had declined considerably in the Parisian population (La Grippe décroit). In the other, a reporter for the paper, Lucile Laurence, wrote that city officials had given some thought to closing all cinemas and other public places, including schools. She went on, though, that even if they did, “public health would still be menaced” because of all the men who spit on streets, their germs then going into the air and onto the food that Parisians ate. On the same page, La Presse announced the opening of one of the most anticipated films of the season, Bouclette, at the very fashionable Palace-Aubert cinema in the ninth arrondissement. Bouclette featured one of the great French stars of the era, Gaby Deslys, who would die of influenza in February, 1920.

deslys

An undated publicity photograph of the great French star Gaby Deslys, the star of Bouclette and a victim of the flu epidemic

Deslys’ film, which had a scenario by Marcel L’Herbier, was one of the great cultural events in the city just after the war. But there were also many, many others, in cinemas and in the city’s theatres. Reporting on the flu on February 23rd, 1919, Le Matin put the grim numbers next to the masthead at the top of the front page. La grippe à Paris had claimed 900 lives in the last week, an increase of 350 from the week before. Le Matin never listed the movies in Paris, but it did offer information for plays, music halls, and café-concerts, and the list is astonishing, both in terms of how much was going on and how little the city’s entertainment industry seemed to have been touched by the epidemic. Had they wanted to, Parisians could have seen Les Noces de Figaro at the Opéra-Comique, where it alternated with Carmen, or Cyrano de Begerac at the Porte-St. Martin, or Sacha Guitry’s Pasteur at the Vaudeville. The Folies-Bergère featured a lion tamer for its family matinee and then more adult entertainment in the evening. The great music hall stars Mistinguett and Max Dearly appeared at the Casino de Paris, along with 200 Jolies Femmes, and Raimu, the stage actor soon to become a great movie star, performed in Le Cochon qui sommeille at the Théâtre Michel. There was also much, much more.

le-matin-2-23-19

On the upper right, on the masthead from February 23rd, 1919, Le Matin announces that week’s death toll of La Grippe à Paris

Parisian entertainment continued as usual for the duration of the epidemic, as the death toll mounted and city leaders kept all venues open while supplying pharmacies with more and more rum for the afflicted. A century later, French officials were slow to react to the coronavirus, as were governments in Italy, Spain, the United States, and elsewhere. They had, however, apparently learned something from the earlier public health crisis. Spitting on streets may still be a difficult problem and still a means of spreading disease. But Mayor Herriot’s example in Lyon, closing theatres, restaurants, and other public spaces, including cinemas, has now become the French model for containing the epidemic, even in Paris.

Read the introduction to Paris in the Dark free online, and now through May 1, save 50% on a print copy using coupon code SPRING50.

New Role for Ken Wissoker at Duke University Press

Wissoker, KenWe are pleased to announce that Ken Wissoker, who has been Editorial Director at Duke University Press since 2005, will now serve as our Senior Executive Editor.  As we announced recently, he will be succeeded in his former role by Gisela Fosado, who will now be leading our Book Acquisitions team. As Senior Executive Editor, Wissoker will be moving on from departmental management responsibilities to focus his full attention on continuing to build his interdisciplinary list of titles and working with new and returning authors.

“Ken Wissoker is among the leading scholarly editors in the world and his impact on academic  publishing has been profound and far-reaching,” said Dean Smith, Director of Duke University Press. “Over the last three decades, his editorial vision has been indispensable to the success of Duke University Press. He will continue to thrive in this new role.” 

“I’m excited for Gisela’s leadership and for the Press’s future.  After more than twenty years as department chair, I’m welcoming this change, and happy to have more time to focus on authors and manuscripts,” Wissoker commented.

Wissoker joined the Press as an Acquisition Editor in 1991; became Editor-in-Chief in 1997; and was named Editorial Director in 2005. In addition to his duties at the Press, he serves as Director of Intellectual Publics at The Graduate Center, CUNY, in New York City. He speaks regularly on publishing at universities in the US and around the world.

Wissoker has published over a thousand books that have won over 150 prizes. Among the authors whose books he has published are Stuart Hall, Donna Haraway, Achille Mbembe, Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jack Halberstam, Charles Taylor, Elizabeth Povinelli, Lisa Lowe, Brian Massumi, Fred Moten, Chandra Mohanty, Christina Sharpe, Greg Tate, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Cherríe Moraga. In addition he has published the work of artists including Randy Weston, Horace Tapscott, Fred Wesley, Mira Schor, and Renée Green.

In the next year, Wissoker has new titles coming out by Jack Halberstam, Ian Baucom, Katherine McKittrick, artist Lorraine O’Grady, Lesley Stern, and a posthumous book by José Esteban Muñoz, among many others. He also contributes a chapter to the new edition of The Academic’s Handbook

Ken’s team includes Joshua Gutterman Tranen, who was recently promoted to Assistant Editor, and is now acquiring his own titles in  gender and sexuality studies, queer history, cultural studies, and anthropology. Wissoker is also assisted by Editorial Associate Kate Herman and by Editorial Associate Ryan Kendall, who started at the Press this winter.

Our esteemed Executive Editor Courtney Berger continues to acquire titles in disciplines ranging from political theory to American studies to native and indigenous studies. She is assisted by Assistant Editor Sandra Korn, who also acquires her own titles in Middle East studies and religion. Editor Elizabeth Ault acquires books in African Studies, Urban Studies, Middle East Studies, Geography, and Theory from the South, among other disciplines. Associate Editor Miriam Angress acquires books in religion, world history, women’s studies, and creative non-fiction and supervises the World and Latin America Reader series. Editorial Associate Alejandra Mejía will continue to work with Gisela Fosado in her new role. 

Together, the Books Acquisitions team brings in about 140 new titles per year that share the ideas of progressive thinkers and support emerging and vital fields of scholarship across the humanities and interpretive social sciences. 

Gisela Fosado Named Editorial Director of Duke University Press

Gisela FosadoGisela de la Concepción Fosado has been named Editorial Director of Duke University Press after a nationwide search. As Editorial Director she will establish the editorial vision for the Press and set the overall direction for the Books Acquisitions team to ensure excellence across all subject areas. She will also play a major role in moving the Press to become an industry leader in cultivating and sustaining an inclusive organizational culture.

Ed Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University says, “As Duke University Press’s second century beckons, Gisela Fosado is exactly the right person to lead book acquisitions.  She brings distinctive talents, perspective, and expertise to the role—a remarkable intellectual curiosity about new directions in scholarship, wonderful instincts for publishing strategy, an impressive track record of national leadership on the issue of how academic presses can embrace diversity and inclusion, and the sort of vision and interpersonal skills to sustain excellence in career development throughout the book acquisitions team.”

Fosado has been with Duke University Press since 2010, acquiring books in a wide range of areas in the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, sociology, American and Atlantic World history, gender and sexuality studies, race and ethnicity, African American and Africana studies, environmental studies, and Latin American and Latinx Studies. She has acquired both award-winning monographs and bestselling general interest titles for the Press, working with many prominent authors including Patricia Hill Collins, Renato Rosaldo, Arturo Escobar, Marisol de la Cadena, Walter Mignolo, Catherine Walsh, Enrique Dussel, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Barbara Weinstein, Gilbert M. Joseph, Laurent Dubois, Charles E. Cobb Jr., Margaret Randall, Lynn Stephen, Joanne Rappaport, and Ruth Behar.  She has also published posthumous books by Gloria Anzaldúa and C. L. R. James.

In the past several years, Fosado has co-led Duke University Press’s Equity and Inclusion Task Force, a staff-created effort that has encouraged press-wide training and conversation to help ensure all staff are valued and supported professionally at every level. She has also served on the AUPresses Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and facilitated AUPresses inclusion in the 2019 Lee and Low Diversity Survey. She will bring her strong commitment to inclusion and collaboration, and her skills in careful listening, supportive mentorship, and adaptive and responsive learning that she has built in that work to her role as Editorial Director.

Gisela Fosado says, “Being entrusted to lead books acquisitions at Duke University Press, and to build upon the bold and urgent work done by those before me, is the greatest honor of my life. Everything I know about publishing I learned through my brilliant, generous, and hard working colleagues at the Press.  I look forward to many more years of learning and collaboration.” 

Fosado holds an A.B. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. She began her career at Duke University Press as Editorial Associate in 2010. Before coming to the Press, she served as the Associate Director for the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Once an undocumented immigrant, Fosado will be the first Latinx leader of Duke University Press’s Books Editorial program.

Dean Smith, Director of Duke University Press says, “Gisela Fosado is an extremely talented publisher and a transformative leader who is helping to change the face of scholarly publishing with an expansive editorial vision and a fierce  commitment to equity and inclusion. She practices equity in all of her interactions and embodies our mission to effect positive change in the world. I look forward to working with her and to building on our legacy of introducing bold and innovative scholarship to a global audience.” 

About Duke University Press: Each year Duke University Press publishes about 140 new books, almost 60 journals and multiple digital collections that share the ideas of progressive thinkers and support emerging and vital fields of scholarship across the humanities and interpretive social sciences. It is also well known for its mathematics journals, sophisticated graphic design and integration of technology platforms.

Q&A with Matt Brim

MattBrimDuke2Matt Brim is Associate Professor of Queer Studies in the English Department at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York; author of James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination; and coeditor of Imagining Queer Methods. His newest book, Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University, shifts queer studies away from sites of elite education toward poor and working-class students and locations, showing how the field is driven by those flagship institutions that perpetuate class and race inequity in higher education.

In what ways did your own institutional journey among universities of varying prestige incite your desire to write this book? 

Higher education in the U.S. is incredibly stratified. As a matter of course, colleges are divided into class-based tiers and sorted by wealth-based rankings. Though the top of the academic hierarchy is visible thanks to the power of money and status to shine a spotlight on well-resourced academic people and places, much of the university world exists in a kind of educational shadow. Looking across tiers—and especially looking down tiers—becomes extremely difficult. You have to be a bit lucky to escape the aspirational, upward-looking vision created by the misconception that our models for good academic work come from high-status colleges and well-placed scholars.

Poor Queer StudiesMy own educational trajectory has taken me through tiers, up and down. I want to stress that this movement was fortuitous rather than intentional. I attended Wabash College, a small rich liberal arts college in Indiana, because Wabash paid most of my way. I earned my Ph.D. in English at Indiana University, a flagship state school, because that’s the only graduate program that accepted me. And then I taught freshman academic writing as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University. I got that job because I’d taught so much composition at I.U. and because I’d been given the freedom by my mentors there to bring Queer Studies into the composition classroom. Duke was another world, even compared to the other relatively well-resourced schools I’d attended. The privilege it draws on and the privileges it affords are just staggering. Duke, not at all coincidentally, is one of the birthplaces of queer theory. After three years at Duke, I applied for a job at the College of Staten Island (CSI), a school I’d never heard of, a school that was largely invisible and unknowable from the outside, from above. Yet this off-the-radar, massively underfunded, open admissions, public school was advertising for an assistant professor of Queer Studies. This was strange to me because I’d only heard of Queer Studies happening at colleges I’d heard of. Yet only because I ended up at CSI, only because I’ve traveled from high to low in the academy, have I been able to conceive of this book. Poor Queer Studies tells the story of my re-education in Queer Studies at a place where the field is not known, not seen, not imagined to be.

You draw out a tension between Queer Studies’ identity as site of radical thinking, anti-normativity, and as a “disruptive cog in the system” of the university and its actual entanglements in a system of higher education that actively reproduces class stratification. Is this tension unique to Queer Studies? Does it play out in Queer Studies in a way distinctive than in other identity studies fields that have similar progressive desires? 

That such a tension exists means there is potential for change, and indeed Queer Studies has changed the academy in meaningful ways that have benefited several generations of students and scholars. At the same time, Queer Studies has been shaped by the two dynamics that have inarguably defined the true mission of the university for the past 30 years: class stratification and race sorting. Complicit in this structure, Queer Studies has found any number of ways to ease rather than confront queer-class tensions. I suspect that Queer Studies’ investment in radicality—which is perhaps our uniquely dominant field impulse—has contributed to such an easing of queer-class tensions. It’s not polite to ask what a radical idea costs to make, and it’s surely impossible to know all the ways some of our most radical queer ideas have been buoyed by institutional prestige, privilege, and material resources. It may also be true that the energy of powerful new ideas can make them seem self-sustaining, and we’d rather let them float free than weigh them down with the receipts from their production.

Nevertheless, powerful and even radical queer ideas get made on the cheap as well, and that fact is my entry point for this book. But because Queer Studies at schools such as CSI and other CUNY colleges endures within a thick web of class-based compromises, our queer radicality operates within palpable contexts of queer-class constraint. Needless to say, compromised queer radicality makes for a weak rallying cry, and so queer radicality tethered to and marked by class constraint makes Poor Queer Studies seem far afield from the visionary field of Queer Studies. If we want to keep the various class incarnations of the field in touch with each other—and that is one of my goals in this book—we might be more candid about the materiality of the production of all of our queer ideas. Put differently, Poor Queer Studies argues that queer scholarship ought be thought of as a workplace report, which is to say a localized record of material resources and queer resourcefulness.

In the book, you mention that you think of “poor” as a dimension of experience that informs your pedagogy at the College of Staten Island. Can you elaborate on what possibilities– linguistic, pedagogical, or theoretical– you find in the language of “poor”? 

I chose to use the word “poor” because it offers both a precision and a capaciousness and because it’s a word that people tend to quickly reject. The precision comes from its direct reference to the economic realities of life at CUNY, for “poor” sets the material baseline for teaching and scholarship at most of our campuses. Many CUNY students and their families live below the poverty line or are low-income or have precarious housing and food insecurity. Many of our campuses are crumbling because the State of New York refuses to fund repairs that it can, in fact, afford. Even with recent raises, our adjuncts are dramatically underpaid when compared to adjuncts at local public and deep-pocketed private universities. Coalescing in the term “poor,” these material conditions are the starting points for our intellectual work at CUNY, including the work of Queer Studies. You can’t go around them or set them aside. They preface and infuse all we do.

Appearing in so many forms, “poor” also becomes a conceptual baseline and a discursive construct, as well as a material reality. One interesting consequence is that in theory many CUNY community members try to reject “poor.” We are incentivized to turn away from “poor” because, on the one hand, it situates students too statically at the wrong end of an educational narrative that pins its hopes on social mobility, while on the other hand it deflates what I call the “aspirational mood” that characterizes the work of administrators and faculty alike at lower tier schools. Rather than reject “poor,” however, I try to integrate it into an analysis that asks about how Queer Studies actually happens at sites where “poor” is perhaps the primary coordinate by which we locate our “queer” work. And because “poor” evokes “rich,” I am also able to pursue a very differently located, comparative class analysis, setting Poor Queer Studies schools in relation to Rich Queer Studies schools—a relation the field very rarely pursues or acknowledges.

At non-elite institutions, faculty are expected to develop curricula that are both intellectually rigorous and train students for the workplace. What is the role of Queer Studies in improving and changing work? What kinds of queer labor can Queer Studies prepare students for?

Unlike most students at elite colleges, most students at non-selective four-year colleges and at community colleges already work for money, many of them full time. Insofar as Queer Studies has longstanding, field-defining associations with the wealthiest and most privileged higher education institutions rather than schools that serve non-traditional and working students, the field has been unprepared to think about the intersection of queer knowledge production and worker/working-class education. We haven’t asked very much about how Queer Studies classes can prepare students for the workforce; indeed, that question seems pretty unqueer given Queer Studies’ frequent critiques of the neoliberal university’s insinuations with capital. Also, the question of how to make better queer workers is not a liberal arts-friendly question, and Queer Studies is a liberal arts field. But it is the question in front of us at CSI, in night school, on weekends, after or before students’ workdays begin, or on their days off.

My students are interested, in other words, in how to use the language, ideas, and politics of Queer Studies on the job—not only their future careers but the jobs they’re headed to after class. We talk about breakrooms and bus rides to work and customer service roles and student-teaching classrooms, and we translate “high queer theory” to those local worksites. We think about how Queer Studies can make work life a bit better. On a personal level, doing this kind of queer-class integration has enabled me to reorient my own work life toward other kinds of labor and to appreciate the impoverishment of Queer Studies classrooms where the only queer career modeled is the Queer Studies professor’s own.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from Poor Queer Studies? What kind of future research do you hope it might inspire? 

I recently organized a panel at MLA on “Queer Studies and Its Class Locations.” The other panelists, Longoria and Eric Solomon, blew me away. Longoria works on queer issues in teacher education with a particular focus on queer immigrant youth and those with UndocuQueer identities, and Eric works at the intersection of poverty, the American South, and higher education. While each generously suggested that a poor queer studies framework had helped them conceptualize their work, they’re actually doing incredibly unique and groundbreaking research that recasts poor queer studies in ways I never would have imagined or predicted. That’s exciting to see. Moving ahead, just how many ways can we answer the question, “What’s poor about Queer Studies now?”

I end Poor Queer Studies by suggesting that we need more “queer ferrying” between non-peer institutions and, especially, between rich and poor colleges. We need more cross-class, cross-institutional sharing of opportunity, resources, and place-based knowledges and pedagogies. We need to train graduate students to do Queer Studies in its many institutional locations, not just in its class-based holding pattern at R1 and top tier schools. For me, working at CUNY, Queer Studies has become inseparable from open access public education. I hope Poor Queer Studies not only gives a name and a framework to a set of ideas that are imminent or nascent but also paves the way for the anti-elitist queer ferrying of those ideas around the many queer places of the academy.

Read the introduction to Poor Queer Studies free online and save 30% on the paperback edition with coupon code E20BRIM.

Cruise Ships Confront Coronavirus: Passing Panic or Depressing Portent? A Guest Post by Eric Paul Roorda

diamond-princess-death-virus-web

The Diamond Princess docked in Yokohama

There is a talented band named Wookie Foot, whose lyrics are quirky and insightful. Their song “Cruise,” from 2003, skewers the cruise ship experience with deft sarcasm. The closing words were prophetic:

“And in the end, you’re just a virus wearing shoes,
on a cruise.
A virus!”

(The whole hilarious tune can be heard here.)

Passenger ships have always had to contend with the danger of a disease breaking out onboard. Vessels packed with people on the high seas are like powder kegs for spark-like contagions, and potential vectors for pandemics, such as the plague known as The Black Death, which arrived in Europe from Asia by ship in 1347, then spread rapidly around the Mediterranean. In the 19th century, a single incipient case of typhus or cholera among the immigrants crowded on a ship could grievously sicken and kill hundreds of them during the voyage. For this reason, quarantine regulations are among the oldest laws in human history.

In recent years, the cruise industry has had to fight Noro-virus, a highly contagious malady that causes a week of awful symptoms. But while Noro-virus is rarely fatal, the newest bug, Coronavirus, is a killer; about 2% of those who contract it succumb to its severe pneumonia. For cruise ships, and perhaps the entire industry, Coronavirus is a lethal threat.

The plight of two mega-vessels owned by Carnival Cruises is causing worldwide worry. Holland America Line’s Westerdam became a 21st century Flying Dutchman for two weeks, turned away from one port after another because the Coronavirus has stowed away, until Cambodia welcomed the ship, allowing a thousand possible carriers to disperse across the globe. Worse, Princess Cruise Line’s Diamond Princess arrived in Yokohama with the Coronavirus raging among the ship’s company of some 3,600 passengers and crew, where Japanese authorities subjected them to a badly botched quarantine. According to a full-page exposé in the New York Times on February 23, Diamond Princess has become a “Petri dish” for the pathogen. While passengers gained egress one way or another, the crew remained in their densely packed quarters below the waterline, without meaningful efforts to segregate those who exhibited symptoms, working merciless hours to succor the paying guests, who were isolated in their suites. Only two cruise ships out of the 314 in the worldwide pleasure fleet have made the headlines—so far. But the dangers that Coronavirus present to the cruise ship could be general.

An observer may draw two tentative conclusions.

978-1-4780-0696-1First, when transformational phenomena reach and disperse onto the Ocean, the Ocean exponentially amplifies the range of the changes. Examples of this include the spread of the new species H. sapiens after they learned to build boats; the impact of the new religion of Islam, which Arab traders brought to Indonesia and the Philippines, and which drew worshippers by sea to Mecca; the imposition of the culture of violent conquest that the new nation-state of Spain exported to the Western Hemisphere beginning in 1492; invasive organisms, which degrade the environments and damage the economies of the places they go; and viruses.

Second, cruise ships are like crowded pods of change. They impact the infrastructures, economies, environments, and cultures of ports of call, big and small, wherever they wander. The Coronavirus moment provides a lethal example.

The question remains, will the unfolding Coronavirus pandemic kindle suspicions about the whole cruise ship industry, which generates an estimated $126 billion in global economic activity and employs about a million people? Could it complicate the sans souci atmosphere that veteran cruisers expect and demand? Will it cause potential passengers to spend their vacation dollars some other way? Moreover, will the terrifying spread of Coronavirus, which is dragging down stock markets around the world as I write, trigger a series of agonizing re-evaluations of the cost/benefit ratio of the cruise industry’s impact on destinations around the world?

Eric Paul Roorda is the editor of The Ocean Reader: History, Culture, Politics. He is a Professor of History at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he specializes in the diplomatic and naval history of  the Caribbean Sea. During the summer, he directs the Munson Institute graduate program in Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. He regularly lectures on cruises on the Regent Seven Seas Voyager.

Save 30% on The Ocean Reader on our website with coupon code E20RORDA.

Farewell to Joanna Frueh

We were sorry to learn of the death of artist Joanna Frueh on February 20, 2020. We published Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert): Performance Pieces, 1979–2004, a collection of  eighteen of her essential performance texts, in 2008. Her work also appears in M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Theory, and Criticism.

Frueh’s work has been called trailblazing, inspiring, seductive, innovative, liberating, and playful. In 1976 The Feminist Art Journal published Frueh’s first piece of art criticism, and in 1979 she presented her first performance at the Deson Gallery in Chicago. In Chicago during the 1970s Frueh was the director of Artemesia Gallery, one of the first women’s galleries. As a professor of art history, contemporary art was her area of expertise, and she taught studio courses in performance art. Between 1997 and 2006 she was Professor of Art History, and then in 2007, Professor Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. Frueh received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art in 2008.

978-0-8223-4040-9_prAlong with Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert), her books include Erotic Faculties (1996), Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love (2001), Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure (2006), The Glamour of Being Real (2011), A Short Story about a Big Healing (2013), and Unapologetic Beauty (2019). In 2005 the exhibition Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective, curated by Tanya Augsburg, was at Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV.

In a cover endorsment for Clairvoyance, (For Those in the Desert),  James Elkins of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote, “There is a lot of talk in academia about innovation and independence, but there is also a lot of what Nietzsche called ‘herd mentality.’ For those searching for an independent voice, here it is. Joanna is everything academic critics like: theoretically sophisticated, complex, ambiguous, experimental. She is also a lot of things academic critics don’t trust: openly sexual, oblivious of convention, dreamy, ecstatic, wild beyond classification.”

Joanna Frueh’s personal archives are at Stanford University. She is survived by her beloved spouse Kathleen Williamson of Tucson, Arizona, and her sister Renee Wood, of Willow Springs, Missouri. We at the Press send them our condolences.

 

 

January Events

As we start a new year and a new semester, we hope you’ll be able to get out and see some of our authors at events around the U.S. You can also catch us at the MLA conference in Seattle and the AHA in New York City.

978-1-4780-0653-4January 11: Marsha Gordon and Allyson Nadia Field, co-editors of Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film, show films and discuss their book at UCLA’s Film and Television Archive.
7:30 pm, Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

January 12: E. Patrick Johnson is joined by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Dub, to discuss Johnson’s new book Honeypot at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.
3:00 pm, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

January 22: Alexis Pauline Gumbs again joins E. Patrick Johnson, this time at Durham’s Regulator Bookshop, to discuss Honeypot. This event is sponsored by Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics.
7:00 pm, 720 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

January 23: E. Patrick Johnson heads west to Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe to read from Honeypot.
55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801

Work!.jpgJanuary 23: Elspeth Brown lectures about her book Work! A Queer History of Modeling at UCLA’s LGBTQ Studies department.
4:00 pm, Charles E. Young Research Library, 280 Charles E Young Dr N., Los Angeles, CA 90095

January 29: E. Patrick Johnson, author of Honeypot, will appear at Harvard Book Store.
7:00 pm, 1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

January 30: Elspeth Brown speaks about Work!at USC Libraries ONE Archives. A reception follows.
6:30 pm, 909 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007

A Decade of Duke University Press

_MG_4948

As we enter a new decade, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at what was happening at Duke University Press ten years ago, in 2010, and consider how we plan to move forward in the 2020s.

Director of Duke University Press in 2010: Steve Cohn
Director in 2019: Dean Smith

We are excited to be starting a new decade at the Press with a new director. After serving as director for twenty-five years, Steve Cohn retired in June 2019 and Dean Smith took over our helm. Dean plans to continue our commitment to open access, deepen our partnerships with other units on campus, develop new products and business models, and expand into new subject areas.

Number of Employees
2010: 93
2019: 120

As we expand the number of books and journals we publish, we need more staff to acquire, edit, produce, and market our products. We’ve also been expanding our efforts to become a more inclusive workplace through the efforts of our Equity and Inclusion group. In 2019 over half our staff participated in initiatives sponsored by that group. Think you’d make a great addition to our team? Check out our job openings.

Number of Books Published
2010: 120
2019: 140

We’ve increased the number of titles we publish each year and expect to continue expanding as we enlarge our editorial team with a new Editorial Director in 2020.

Bestselling Books

978-0-8223-4798-9_pr

2010: African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston
It’s bittersweet to revisit our bestselling title of 2010, as jazz great Randy Weston passed away in 2018. Booklist called his autobiography “a moving testament to a life well lived.”

Living a Feminist Life2019: Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
Our bestselling book of 2019 is also our bestselling book of the decade. Living a Feminist Life was called “an instant classic” by Bitch Magazine. And check out Sara Ahmed’s latest book What’s the Use?, published this October.

Top Selling Books of the Decade

Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway
Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett
The Mexico Reader edited by Gilbert M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson
Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant
The Affect Theory Reader edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth
The Queer Art of Failure by Jack Halberstam
Liquidated by Karen Ho
The Cuba Reader edited by Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr, Alfredo Prieto, and Pamela Maria Smorkaloff
Meeting the Universe Halfway by Karen Barad

Number of Open-Access Books
2010: 0
2019: 80+

We are pleased to participate in several open access programs, including TOME (where we have more open-access titles than any other university press) and Knowledge Unlatched. You can find most of our open access books on the OAPEN platform.

Number of Open-Access Journals

2010: 0
2019: 2

Our efforts to make scholarship widely available also include the publication of two fully open-access journals: Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory and Environmental Humanities.

Number of Journals Published

2010: 40
2019: 54

In 2020, we look forward to adding two more journals to our publishing program: History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History and the Romanic Review. We’ve enjoyed expanding our list in subject areas including Asian studies, gender and feminist studies, language and literature, mathematics, and more.

Most Popular Articles on Social Media

Published in 2010: “Creaky Voice: A New Feminine Voice Quality for Young Urban-Oriented Upwardly Mobile American Women?” by Ikuko Patricia Yuasa, American Speech 85:3

Published in 2019: “The Trump Effect: Postinauguration Changes in Marketplace Enrollment” by David Anderson and Paul Shafer, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 44:5

Social Media

Twitter (@DukePress) Followers
2010: 3200
2019: 33,800

Facebook (Duke University Press) Page Followers
2010: 1000
2019: 12,828

Social Media was still pretty new in 2010, but the Press has been on Twitter since 2008 and Facebook since 2007. Over the decade we’ve added presences on YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. Please join us on all these sites!

In the next decade, we will celebrate our centennial (2026) and we look forward to continuing our work publishing bold, progressive scholarship for many more decades.