Author: Laura Sell

Publicity and Advertising Manager, Duke University Press

Summer Reading Recommendations from our Staff

Heading on vacation soon? Or just retreating inside to read on these hot days? Our staff love to read and we’re happy to offer some of their suggestions for your summer reading list.

WordsonBathroomWallsCustomer Relations Representative Camille Wright recommends Julia Walton’s Words on Bathroom Walls. “This is a young adult novel bringing awareness to mental illnesses and warming hearts with an interracial love story. Adam’s journey sheds light on what it might be like to deal with the diagnosis and symptoms of schizophrenia as a teenager in high school. As he begins his junior year at a new school, St. Agatha’s Catholic School, he attempts to keep his schizophrenia a secret from his classmates and friends. A clinical trial medication helps him determine if people, objects, and voices are real or hallucinations but the secret becomes harder to keep once the medication begins to fail. Adam’s story is told through his coping mechanism – extremely honest, sarcastic, and funny journal entries to psychiatrist.”

TrulyMadlyGuiltyJournals Marketing Manager Jocelyn Dawson says, “If you enjoyed the television series Big Little Lies, check out Truly Madly Guilty, also written by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty is an Australian author with a gift for compelling plots (crucial for summer reading) and realistic characters. I found myself still thinking about the people in the book days after I finished it.”

WhatItMeansEditor Elizabeth Ault’s summer reading is Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. She says, “I’d slept on the collection, which came out last spring and is now out in paperback, because I’m not normally a fan of short stories, but hearing a couple of the pieces from this book on LeVar Burton’s podcast intrigued me. I’m finding a lot of literary fiction novels too heavy right now and Arimah’s stories, blending Nigeria, Minneapolis, family, work, romance, and an occasional dose of magical realism, all framed with a wry sense of humor are hitting the spot. The stories are deep and wise, but also super YouThinkItIllSayItfunny and just the right length (which means they sometimes feel too short).”

Journals Publicist and Exhibits Coordinator Katie Smart also recommends a story collection: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. “Much like everything else that Sittenfeld has written—I couldn’t put it down. Each short story in this book is linked to a game that two characters play in ​a  story in the collection. The “You Think It, I’ll Say It” game is all about passing judgement on people from observation only, not from actual interactions. Time and again we see the main characters of each short story building false narratives and limiting beliefs in their mind (and in many cases becoming consumed by them) before discovering that all along things weren’t as they had initially seemed. Sittenfeld is an excellent storyteller, and each set of characters and situations is unique and refreshing. I appreciated her attempts at humanizing her characters while also unapologetically displaying their flaws.​ This collection was so good that I found myself quickly starting the next story, even when I intended to set the book down for the day.”

FlashSenior Project Editor Charles Brower is looking forward to reading: Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous, by Christopher Bonanos, the first full-length biography of the great noir photographer (“If I can hold off a month before digging into it, he says.) “Probably my most eagerly anticipated novel of the year, Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, in which the main character is serving two consecutive life sentences in a California women’s prison for killing a man that was stalking her. Perfect for the beach!”

Publicity and Advertising Manager Laura Sell HighSeasonsuggests a beach read that actually takes place at the beach: The High Season by Judy Blundell. She says, “This is a gossipy book poking fun at the super-rich who head for the Hamptons every summer and a fun skewering of the art world and its rich board members whom many nonprofit toilers will recognize. Suspenseful and well-written, I breezed through it in two days.”

FireontheMountainEditorial Associate Sandra Korn says, “I’ve been listening to Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown’s podcast about apocalypse called How to Survive the End of the World (my summer listening recommendation!) and thinking a lot about the role of science fiction in imagining different futures. So I’m reading Terry Bisson’s 1988 utopian novel Fire on the MountainPM Press published a new edition in 2009 with a powerful introduction from Mumia Abu-JamalThe story is set in 1959 in Nova Africa, the independent socialist country that was founded after John Brown and Harriet Tubman led a successful raid on Harper’s Ferry. Nova Africa is about to make its second Mars landing and one of the main characters, a teenager named Harriet Odinga, has incredible space-age ‘living shoes’ from Africa that conform to her feet as she wears Venusiathem.”

Copywriter Chris Robinson also suggests some speculative fiction, but leans toward the dystopian: “Venusia by Mark von Schlegell is one of the most absolutely bonkers books I’ve read. Imagine China Mieville and Jean Baudrillard getting really stoned and co-writing a postmodern dystopian sci-fi pulp novel: set in a 23rd century totalitarian colony on Venus where the residents only eat hallucinogenic flowers, sentient plants are telepathic, and a junk dealer, psychiatrist, and secret agent explore the meanings of reality, perception, and consciousness. At least that’s what I think is going on.”

PalisadesParkProject Editor Sara Leone says she read Palisades Park by Alan Brennert a few years ago and loved it so much she recently re-read it. “The author evokes Dickens in his detailed descriptions of daily life and dreams from the 1920s through the 1970s. The novel has a broad range of characters, including wanderers willing to take on any job to survive the Depression, women dreaming of daring careers like high diving, courageous citizens battling to end segregation in swimming pools, and of course the workers in the park whose lives connect and change with each new summer season. Salt water, New York/New Jersey culture, and the evolving perception of amusements in America are the backdrop. Plus it’s a fun read if, like me, you were a kid hearing the Palisades Park jingle on the radio every summer on the NY stations!”

Stay cool and happy reading!

 

 

LASA2018: Find Our Titles in Barcelona

The XXXVI International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association meets later this week in Barcelona. We’re pleased to announce that our books and journals will be available for purchase in the book exhibit at the Combined Academic Publishers booth, #I02. Editor Gisela Fosado will also be attending the conference.

Sins against NatureWe have some terrific new titles in Latin American studies that you can pick up at the conference. Historians will want to check out The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Files by Marc Becker. There will be a panel on his book on Saturday, May 26. A City on a Lake by Matthew Vitz tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity. Another great history title to pick up is Sins against Nature by Zeb Tortorici, which explores the prosecution of sex acts in colonial New Spain.

If theory is your style, pick up a copy of The Extractive Zone Designs for the Pluriverseby Macarena Gómez-Barris, which traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital. Gómez-Barris will be on a panel at LASA called “Extractive Wars” on Friday, May 25.  You should also take a look at Designs for the Pluriverse by Arturo Escobar, which presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design’s world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Escobar appears on a panel about the possibility of cooperation between Latin America and Europe on Wednesday, May 23.

Reclaiming the DiscardedIf your interests lie in anthropology, be sure to check out Reclaiming the Discarded by Kathleen M. Millar, an evocative ethnography of Jardim Gramacho, a sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

If you’re not able to attend the conference, or if you prefer to order your books rather than carry them in your luggage, we are offering a 30% conference discount. For delivery in North or South America, order from us at dukeupress.edu and use coupon code LASA18 when checking out. For delivery in the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia, order from Combined Academic Publishers (CAP) at combinedacademic.co.uk and use coupon code CSF18LASA .

978-0-8223-7109-0The conference discount is good for thirty days, so you’ll be able to order a couple of great titles that we won’t have available in time for LASA as well. Check our website or CAP’s in June to order On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis by Walter Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh. It launches their new series of the same name. And also coming in June is the next volume in our popular Latin America Readers series: The Bolivia Reader. Get it for upcoming travel or consider requesting an exam copy and teaching it in your classes next year.

If you’re headed to Barcelona, we wish you a fun and productive meeting. Do stop by the CAP booth and check out our titles. If you aren’t able to attend LASA, we hope you’ll still take advantage of our 30% discount.

Preview Our Fall 2018 Catalog

F18-catalog-cover.inddWe always get excited to see each new catalog in print. It’s the culmination of months of work by our staff and it’s great to see each season’s forthcoming books nicely arranged in print. Our Fall 2018 list is a great one. Check out some highlights below and download the complete catalog for a more in-depth perusal. These titles will be published between July 2018 and January 2019.

As you can see from the cover, we continue to bring out new books in our Stuart Hall: Selected Writings series, edited by Bill Schwarz and Catherine Hall. Essential Essays—a landmark two volume set—brings together Stuart Hall’s most influential and foundational works. Spanning the whole of his career, these volumes reflect the breadth and depth of his intellectual and political projects while demonstrating their continued vitality and importance.  Both volumes will make their debut at MLA in January 2019.

Little Man Little ManWe are very excited and proud to be publishing a new edition of James Baldwin’s only children’s book, Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. Out of print for forty years, this new edition of Little Man, Little Man—which retains the charming original illustrations by French artist Yoran Cazac—includes a foreword by Baldwin’s nephew Tejan ‘TJ’ Karefa-Smart and an afterword by his niece Aisha Karefa-Smart, with an introduction by two Baldwin scholars. In it we not only see life in 1970s Harlem from a black child’s perspective; we gain a fuller appreciation of the genius of one of America’s greatest writers. Look for the book in August.

The Blue ClerkPoetry lovers will be pleased to find three titles coming out this fall. In The Blue Clerk renowned poet Dionne Brand explores memory, language, culture, and the nature of writing through a series of haunting prose poems that contain dialogues between the figure of the poet and the Blue Clerk, who is tasked with managing the poet’s discarded attempts at writing. Rafael Campo returns to our list with Comfort Measures Only, which collects eighty-eight poems—thirty of which have never been previously published in a collection—from his long career as a poet-physician. We’re also bringing out a special fiftieth anniversary edition of Edward Dorn’s classic poem Gunslinger. It includes a new foreword by Marjorie Perloff and other new material.

My Butch CareerPioneering anthropologist Esther Newton’s long-awaited memoir My Butch Career comes out in November. She tells the compelling and disarming story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her lesbian identity during one of the worst periods of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century. We’re also pleased to share James N. Green’s biography of another LGBT pioneer, Brazilian revolutionary Herbert Daniel, whose life and political commitment shaped contemporary debates about social justice, gay rights, and HIV/AIDS. And summing up a different kind of career, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau presents the definitive collection of his work with Is It Still Good to Ya?, which features fifty years of writing.

Jezebel UnhingedIf you’re interested in gender studies, you’ll find some great titles coming out this fall. In Vexy Thing, Imani Perry recenters patriarchy to contemporary discussions of feminism.  Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the deeply entwined relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multi-media platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns in her new book Empowered. And in Jezebel Unhinged, Tamura Lomax traces the use of the jezebel trope in the black church and in black popular culture. Gender studies scholars Gayatri Gopinath, Ann duCille, Aren Z. Aizura, Toby Beauchamp, and Jian Neo Chen also have new books in this catalog.

The End of the Cognitive EmpireIf your interests lie with theory, you’ll want to check out The End of the Cognitive Empire by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, in which he further develops his concept of the “epistemologies of the South.” And in Can Politics Be Thought? published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English (translated by Bruno Bosteels) for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism.

And don’t forget about our journals. We have special issues of SAQ, GLQ, TSQ, Radical History Review, boundary 2differences, American Literature, Novel, and English Language Notes.

These titles are just from the first few pages. We have over seventy titles in cultural studies, art, sound studies, Latin American studies, history, Asian studies, African studies, religion, American studies, and more. You’ll want to download the PDF of the catalog or check our this online hyperlinked version to see all the great new books and journals. To be notified of new books in your chosen disciplines, sign up for our email alerts, too.

 

 

 

 

Q&A with Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Author of Me and My House

Zabrowska2Magdalena J. Zaborowska is Professor of Afroamerican and American Studies and the John Rich Faculty Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, and the author and coeditor of several books, including James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile, also published by Duke University Press, and How We Found America: Reading Gender through East European Immigrant Narratives.
Her latest book, Me and My House: James Baldwin’s Last Decade in France, uses James Baldwin’s house in the south of France as a lens through which to reconstruct his biography and to explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works.

What initially drew you to James Baldwin’s house in the South of France? What was it like the first time you visited?

Me and My HouseI first visited that house, known locally as “Chez Baldwin,” in the Provençal village of St. Paul-de-Vence in June 2000. I was fascinated with the writer’s international peregrinations and admired his cosmopolitan, decades-ahead-of-our-time approach to how one’s composite self, inflected by race, gender, sexuality, and class, was key to understanding one’s national identity within and without one’s home country. I also wanted to get a sense of the domestic environment in which he wrote his later works, and where he thrived as a black queer American artist, who was reviled both by US black nationalists and white liberals at the time.

Like most readers, I had first read the best known early Baldwiniana of 1953-63, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, and The Fire Next Time. The works written at Chez Baldwin, during 1971-87, were another matter. They revealed an author transformed, testing new ideas and approaches to identity, trying his hand at new forms. I wanted to look for material and tangible reasons for that transformation. I was teaching in Denmark until 2000, and thanks to Aarhus University’s support made my trip to Provençe, where I first encountered Baldwin’s most enduring home. Another draw was my interest in the interpenetration of literary and literal social spaces, or how material environments become metaphoric representations by means of evocative language and imagery on the pages of books. Perhaps, because I was an immigrant, I was curious as well about how the writer lived his life in French and in such a remote location, especially given his earlier fondness for metropolitan locations like Istanbul, New York, London or Paris. In the early 1970’s, when Baldwin moved there, St. Paul-de-Vence was a sleepy, slow-paced Provençal village, rather than the densely commercialized tourist destination it is today.

My first visit to the house and surrounding gardens in June of 2000 was a revelation on several levels. First, because of how unlike the place that Baldwin had come from it was, and second, because it made him into a homeowner and someone who lived, so to speak, on and off the land. Third, as he explains it in the little-known Architectural Digest piece on his house published just a few months before his death in 1987, as he grew older and frailer, he loved the light, peace, and quiet that filled the old structure. He had first rented rooms, and then bought, piece by piece as money from his books came in, the property from an eccentric old lady. In his last interview, literally on his deathbed, he explains that the place had led him to discover and embrace a rather mythic “peasant” mindset that he traced back to his parents, who migrated to New York from Maryland and Louisiana. He loved the ancient olive, orange, and almond trees, and enjoyed flowers and herbs that enveloped the house in a lush embrace. He was beloved by the town, and wished to be buried there after his death, which we know did not happen. The more I looked, the more I found and realized, too, that Chez Baldwin had to be a character of sorts in the book along with the writer.

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The patio in front of Baldwin’s study, with his writing/reading table. Photo by Magdalena J. Zaborowska, 2000.

How did seeing the space where Baldwin lived and worked change your own perceptions of him and how did it inspire your research?

At first, I was overawed at being inside the parts of the house that were not rented out at the time (the most important space, Baldwin’s study and quarters downstairs, and in the back, were off limits, alas). Imagine, sitting on the living room couch where Baldwin once sat, or at the so-called Welcome Table in the gardens, while wearing one of his straw hats (which actually did happen, courtesy of Jill Hutchinson, who took care of the house and invited me in to see it). When I went through the interiors, I was shocked that no one wanted to salvage the material riches it still contained—books, journals, furniture, and artwork—that witnessed Baldwin’s daily life, and must have provided inspiration and tactile framework for his daily labor of writing. It struck me, too, that Baldwin must have had lots of work-related clutter, like so many of us, that he liked mantelpiece decorations arranged in symbolic manners, that he was playful; I was told of his favorite records and pillows; I looked through the possessions he left behind.

The house helped me appreciate how his acts of dwelling were inextricably intertwined with acts of literary creativity, how the rooms and gardens provided a stage on which he placed his characters (The Welcome Table) or how architectural elements of the interior and its decor appeared on the pages of his novels (Just Above My Head), not to mention his local friends’ influence on all of his works that he would read to and discuss with them regularly. The house embodied and exuded but also enabled and nurtured his fascinating, complex personality. The late Baldwin insisted on his uniqueness precisely because his blackness and queerness, his effeminate, “sissy” mannerisms made him an outcast in his home country and elsewhere. That house was a domestic and authorial haven where he could be fully himself.

I was also astonished while at Chez Baldwin that there were no sites in the United States where I could glimpse his domestic legacy; that school kids could not access the private life of one of the greatest twentieth-century American writers. On the other hand, that fact was not at all surprising, for until recently, the matter of African diasporic artistic legacies has not been preserved, cherished, and memorialized. Quite the opposite, material remnants of black lives have been systematically erased, demolished, and ignored.

My immigrant origins and early work on immigrant women writers provided another inspiration. Years before I arrived in St.Paul-de-Vence, I had visited Maria Kuncewiczowa’s house, known as “Kuncewiczowka,” in the town of Kazimierz on the Vistula in Poland. In fact, I ended up spending a night there, and while on subsequent visits noticed how fast it was becoming a cultural epicenter for the region, drawing authors, visual artists, and actors. That nothing similar was happening with Baldwin’s legacy either in France or in the United States was painful to behold. That early experience, my first visit to Chez Baldwin in 2000, and then a conference in Istanbul a year later, led me to Baldwin’s story in Turkey. From there, where I first glimpsed the tremendous vitality of transient domestic spaces to Baldwin’s artistic vision, no matter how remote from his birthplace of Harlem, it only made sense to return to St. Paul-de-Vence and pick up where I had started something that made sense only a decade later.

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The welcome table and books in Baldwin’s “last room,” an upstairs living room that was transformed into his bedroom during the final few months of his life. Photo by Magdalena J. Zaborowska, 2000.

Baldwin’s works from this period (1971-1987) are underappreciated, both by readers and scholars, compared to his earlier works. Why do you think this is? What can readers and scholars learn about Baldwin from his later works?

These works are bold and complex, and much ahead of their time, as their largely superficial and negative reviews, or homophobic responses to them by the likes of Eldridge Cleaver in Soul on Ice (1968), demonstrate all too clearly. No Name in the Street (1972), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), The Devil Finds Work (1976), Just Above My Head (1979), The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), and the unpublished play The Welcome Table (1987) ushered in a new Baldwin, more complex and mature as an author, one who became disillusioned growing older as a black queer American, who had no choice but to live abroad to get his work done and to feel safe. The latter issue is often overlooked, especially by those who think it somehow uncool that, in his later life, the activist Baldwin, who came from dire poverty in Harlem, was a bourgie owner of a fancy property in France, where he entertained lavishly, and kept lovers and an entourage of hangers-on. This attitude may have something to do with the kind of politics of respectability on both sides of the proverbial US color line then. Along with the stifling, binary, hetero-patriarchal, misogynist, mainstream social norms that often masqueraded as patriotism, nationalism, or ethnocentrism, that attitude made him an outcast and rendered him, in a sense, homeless in the US. And Baldwin, of course, being who he was, wrote vehemently against all these oppressive politics in his later works.

I think that today we should be happy for his rags-to-riches story, and celebrate the fact that he had found a haven where he was cherished and nurtured and was able to write some of his most interesting works. As many of his letters to friends and family evidence, he was acutely aware that his portrayal of queer and interracial love and sex in Another Country and Just Above My Head not only angered but also threatened both black nationalists, who despised his sexuality and integrationist views, and the so-called white liberals, who objected to his candor concerning their complicity in national race relations and what they perceived as his “black anger.” These later works are daring both in terms of content and narrative structure, characterization, and imagery. They reveal a writer who wants to grow and experiment, and who is not afraid to test new waters. Baldwin considered his last novel his best, for example. I agree, for the more one reads Just Above My Head, the more its formal and thematic radicalism becomes clear and compelling (move over postmodernism…). Another matter is that reading late Baldwin requires work and intellectual willingness to be challenged, if not changed. You cannot encapsulate any of his ideas in 140 characters; you have to fight for who you can become thanks to his literary witnessing. That’s what great literature has always done, and that’s why we find his writings so relevant to our racially and politically troubled moment today.

You suggest that because of his gender and sexuality, not many scholars have written about the role of domesticity in Baldwin’s writing. How does a familiarity with Baldwin’s house in France help us understand more about the domestic themes (?) in his later works?

Queer domestic life, not to mention doubly-marginalized black queer or queer of color home-making, has been a taboo in US culture. As Baldwin writes in many of his essays, there are racial and sexual secrets and myths undergirding American cultural and social history that sharply cut across racial and class lines. He shows us how the official, traditional representations of how black and white Americans have envisaged domesticity since the mid-twentieth century have been superficial, small-minded, and provincial at best. Crafted to uphold the myth of the ideal national house, they may let us, for example, learn about Alice B. Toklas and Gertude Stein. But since these eccentric women lived as lesbians in Paris and not in Pittsburgh, we are supposed to chalk their lives up to having been inflected, if not tainted, by foreign, indeed, perverse “European” freakishness. Such expulsions of gender and sexual identity beyond the borders of the national house in the portrayals of cultural icons like Baldwin strip them of their complexity and adulterate their art. For example, even in the recently popular Raul Peck’s art film, “I Am Not Your Negro,” we encounter the so-called “Baldwin brand,” or the desexualized race man, rather than the intersectionality-promoting radical, who exploded binaries of identity, and by 1985-87 advocated for domesticating androgyny and black queer sex both in his works and on the pages of Playboy magazine. To those who would not accept him even today, and there are many, the radical better remain hidden at Chez Baldwin.

James Baldwin’s house in France was recently destroyed to make room for luxury condos. What do you think has been lost with that destruction?

The demolition of Chez Baldwin demonstrates yet again the power of capital over human need. The brutal erasure of that house strives to make our collective desire to connect with each other by means of affect and by preserving material places and remnants of lives that matter to us, that we love and want to keep tangible, insignificant. (Think of Rosa Parks’s house in Detroit, which was recently slated for demolition, and was saved only by having been moved to Berlin, where it now thrives as a popular museum.) It also means that there will be no brick-and-mortar museum for this writer, for there are no comparable sites in the US; the demolition makes France look bad, too, given that Baldwin was a recipient of its highest distinction, the Legion of Honor. Baldwin’s wish for his house was that it become a retreat for writers; there were plans and parties, and money, ready to implement his vision. That this did not happen demonstrates astonishing lack of imagination, as well as the sad reality of unequal valuation of legacies that still propels racialized politics of archiving, preservation, and memorialization. Among over seventy writers’ houses open to the public in the US today, there are only two devoted to African Americans. For all the sweat and blood its gestation and birth have taken, I am thrilled that some of Baldwin’s domesticity survives on the pages of my book.

What will happen to Baldwin’s “material archive”—all his belongings from the now-destroyed house? What can we learn from his day-to-day possessions? Is there a particular object that is most special to you?

Thanks to the aforementioned late David Baldwin’s partner, Jill Hutchinson, to whom he entrusted the care of the house he had inherited from James in 1987, most of the contents have been rescued from ending up in the trash when the property was lost. My own painstaking efforts to preserve the Chez Baldwin archive in digital form since 2000 have also opened a way for it to be considered for acquisition by a notable US institution. (I am unable to disclose the details at the moment.) I am returning to St. Paul-de-Vence next July to document a few more artifacts that were given by Baldwin to members of the Roux family; I am also in contact with a new entity there, Les Amis de la Maison-Baldwin, who has been fundraising to host exhibits and maintain a cultural center devoted to the writer.

My favorite artifact is the welcome table from Baldwin’s last room that Hutchinson has preserved at her own house, its surface imprinted with rings left by drinking glasses, scratches, and indentations marking various moments in Baldwin’s life that we will never know. Positively obsessed with making the only material remnants of Baldwin’s domesticity available to a wider audience, I am currently working on a companion project to Me and My House. It will yield a digital exhibit that will serve as a virtual writer’s house-museum for Baldwin in the absence of a brick-and-mortar one. I envisage it as open-access and showcasing the house and its grounds, as much as its contents. Down the road, it will be accompanied by an e-book and include other archival materials that I have amassed over the years; I am looking forward to involving graduate and undergraduate students and enlisting the wisdom of my University of Michigan colleagues in this project. I am currently mired in writing grant proposals and securing funding for it and for my upcoming research trip to Chez Baldwin. Grateful for being cheered on in these efforts by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and by my units at the University of Michigan, Institute for the Humanities, and the Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies and American Culture, I am also looking forward to writing more on Baldwin and collaborating again, I hope, with the marvelous folks at Duke University Press, who have helped me bring Me and My House into the worl

Head to our website where you can read the introduction to Me and My House for free. You can order Me and My House from your favorite local or online bookstore (print and e-editions available) or save 30% when you order directly from Duke University Press. Use coupon code E18ZABOR at checkout to save.

Melanie S. Morrison’s Spring Tour for Murder on Shades Mountain

978-0-8223-7117-5In Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham,  social justice educator and activist Melanie S. Morrison tells the tragic story of the murder and attempted murder of three young women in 1930s Birmingham, Alabama, and the aftermath, which saw a reign of terror unleashed on the town’s black community, the wrongful conviction and death sentencing of Willie Peterson, and a black-led effort to free Peterson.

Publishers Weekly gave Murder on Shades Mountain a Starred Review and Foreword Reviews said readers will be “enthralled” by the gripping story. You can catch Melanie S. Morrison at one of the stops on her national tour, which begins next week.

Meet the Speakers and Book Signing Reception
April 5, 7:00 pm
White Privilege Conference
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
187 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
https://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/wpc-19

Public Lecture and Book Signing
April 9, 4:30 pm
Vanderbilt University
Buttrick Hall, Room 102, 390 24th Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37212
https://events.vanderbilt.edu/index.php?eID=121269

Book Talk & Signing
April 12, 6:00 pm
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823
https://elpl.bibliocommons.com/events/search/local_start=2018-04-01%20TO%20/event/5a849828b2e43d2e00fbc764

Book Talk & Signing
April 15, 1:30 pm
Salus Center, in partnership with Everybody Reads
624 E Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48912
http://www.saluscenter.org/

Presentation and Book Signing
April 24, 6:00 pm
Avondale Library
509 40th Street, Birmingham, AL 35222

Book Talk and Signing
April 26, 11:00 am
Birmingham-Southern College
Harbert Building Auditorium, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254

Sermon and Book Signing
April 29, 5:00 pm
Circle of Mercy
15 Overbrook Place, Asheville, NC 28805
https://www.circleofmercy.org/

Book Talk & Signing
May 3, 7:00 pm
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27701
https://events.durhamcountylibrary.org/event/618676

Book Talk & Signing
May 8, 7:00 pm
Scuppernong Books
304 South Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401
http://www.scuppernongbooks.com/event

Book Talk & Signing
May 14, 7:00 pm
Busboys and Poets – 14th and V
2021 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
http://www.busboysandpoets.com/events/event/author-event-murder-on-shades-mountain-the-legal-lynching-of-willie-peterso

Book Talk & Signing
May 16, 6:30 pm
Center for Diversity and Innovation, Battle Creek, Michigan
Location: TBA
http://www.kellogg.edu/community/kcccdi/

Book Talk & Signing
May 31, 7:00 pm
Books Inc
1491 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
https://www.booksinc.net/event/melanie-s-morrison-books-inc-berkeley

Book Talk & Signing
June 13, 7:00 pm
SpringHouse Ministry Center
610 W 28th Street, Minneapolis, MN
http://www.springhousemn.org/

Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2018 Conference

We had a great time in Toronto at the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies last week, selling books and journals and meeting authors and editors.

Queer Cinema in the WorldCongratulations to Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt, whose book Queer Cinema in the World won the Katherine Singer Kovacs award for outstanding scholarship in cinema and media studies.

We enjoyed a wine and cheese party celebrating the relaunch of our Camera Obscura book series (which is associated with our journal of the same name. Archiveology by Catherine Russell and Sisters in the Life edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz are the most recent books in the series.

Pamela Wojcik served as president of SCMS this year. She stopped by our booth to pose with her 2010 book The Apartment Plot. Her new edited collection, The Apartment Complex, is out in October.

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It’s always great to welcome authors and editors to the booth. Here are Lynn Comella, Rielle Navitski, Catherine Russell, and Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz.

If you missed the meeting, you don’t have to miss the sale! Shop all our great media studies titles now and save 30% using coupon code SCMS18.

End of an Era at The Regulator Bookshop

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Local heroes Tom Campbell and John Valentine, who have carried the torch for independent bookselling in Durham for the past 40 years, are retiring today, March 1, and turning The Regulator Bookshop over to new owners.

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The Regulator Bookshop in 1976

Founded in 1976, The Regulator has been a vital part of Durham’s cultural life, hosting events for too many Duke University Press authors for us to count. Just in the past couple of years, John and Tom have provided a platform for Charles Cobb, Alexis Gumbs, Ambassador James Joseph, Howard Covington, Brad Weiss, Orrin Pilkey, and many others. Tom and John let us turn their downstairs into a pop-up university press bookshop for University Press Week. They have served as sounding-boards for our ideas and given us insight into the community of booksellers.

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Tom Campbell, Helen Whiting, and John Valentine in the early 1980s.

We know The Regulator will be in good hands with new owners and longtime employees Wander Lorentz de Haas and Elliot Berger, and we wish Tom and John well as they move on to well-earned retirement. We promise not to call you at home to ask for advice.

Q&A with Martin Duberman, Author of The Rest of It

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Photo by Alan Barnett

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, at City University of New York, where he founded and directed the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. He is the author of numerous award-winning histories, biographies, memoirs, essays, plays, and novels, which include Cures: A Gay Man’s OdysseyPaul RobesonStonewallMidlife Queer: Autobiography of a Decade, 1971–1981;Black Mountain: An Exploration in CommunityThe Worlds of Lincoln KirsteinJews/Queers/Germans; and more than a dozen others. His latest book, The Rest of It: Hustlers, Cocaine, Depression, and Then Some, 1976–1988 is the untold and revealing story of how he managed to survive and be productive during a difficult twelve year period in which he was beset by drug addiction, health problems, and personal loss.

You’ve written two other memoirs (Cures, 1991 and Midlife Queer, 1996) but until now you’ve rarely written about this period in your life. Why tell the story of these difficult years now?

The Rest of ItI’m at the point in my life when I can “come clean” without fear of repercussions. And that means telling the FULL truth about some of its less “seemly” aspects—which, I believe, is important to do. Many people seem to view me as someone who’s had a charmed, problem-free life. There is no such thing. That I was blessed with many privileges and advantages is unquestionably true, but I grew up gay in the 1950s, probably the most repressive decade in history for those who were “different.” Enforced secrecy and harassment take their toll. I think it’s important for the new generation to realize that such conditions can return—and to be prepared.

While your personal life was extremely difficult during this time, your professional life was very successful. How did your personal challenges impact your writing and activism?

Being gay, I believe, sensitized me to all forms of injustice. Before coming out I devoted a fair amount of my time to the black struggle—my play In White America, for example, ran for a year and a half off-Broadway and toured Mississippi during Freedom Summer—and much of my writing throughout my life has addressed issues relating to the history of “outsiders.”

How did being openly gay—at a time when that was not very common in academia—affect your career and your professional life during these years?

I already had tenure as a full professor when I came out and could only have been fired for “moral turpitude.” At the time many would have included homosexuality under that rubric; some still do. Fortunately, the universities I taught at did not. Also protecting me was my record of publications. However, there were consequences. Before coming out I’d been widely asked to contribute essays and reviews to various national publications. Those invitations ceased almost completely.

How did you come to write Paul Robeson’s biography? What were the best and worst aspects of working on that book?

Paul Robeson’s son invited me to do the biography and was willing to open the vast and previously closed Robeson Family Papers to me, as well as to cede all control over what I ultimately chose to write. Since Paul Robeson was one of my heroes, I accepted with alacrity. Nonetheless, the seven year long process proved difficult on many counts. Sons and scholars tend to have quite different agendas and what started as a cordial relationship didn’t end that way. All this is recounted at length in The Rest of It.

You were active in the nascent gay civil rights movement during this time and also working to raise awareness about AIDS. How has your activist work grown and changed since then?

In the immediate post-Stonewall period, the gay liberation movement was radical in its tactics and scope. It was not a single issue movement but rather one that spoke out against other oppressions based on race, class, and gender. It also sought alliances with movements speaking in the name of those oppressions—such as the Black Panthers and the feminist movements. Since the mid-seventies, however, the gay movement has gradually moved towards the center and to single issue politics. Basically national LGBTQ organizations like the Human Rights Campaign argue that we’re “just folks” (except for this insignificant matter of sexual orientation)—in other words that we share mainstream values and believe in the structural soundness of our institutions. In my view, this view denies the reality of gay cultural values AND the important contribution our different perspective has to make on issues relating to gender, sexuality, the nature of “coupledom,” and the “family.” All the studies have shown, for example, that gay men are far more sexually and emotionally expressive than straight men and far less bound by traditional strictures regarding monogamy and the closed unit of the family.

In the years following those covered in The Rest of It I continued to do “activist” work, but of a different sort than earlier. For ten years (1986-1996) I served as the founding executive director of The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and in my writing, I turned primarily to recounting the lives and politics of RADICAL LGBTQ people—for example, in my books Left Out, Radical ActsA Saving RemnantHold Tight GentlyThe Emperor Has No Clothes, and Jews/Queers/Germans.

What do you consider your most important achievement during the decade covered by The Rest of It (1976-1988)?

I have to go for two rather than one: (a) completing my biography of Paul Robeson and (b) starting up what became the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies.

What is your greatest regret from the period?

My inability to express the love and gratitude I felt towards my mother before her death.

Want to read a bit of The Rest of It? Check out an excerpt in The Advocate. You can order The Rest of It from your favorite local or online bookstore (print and e-editions available) or save 30% when you order directly from Duke University Press. Use coupon code E18REST at checkout to save.

Congratulations to our Award-Winning Designers

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Once again our book and journal designers have been honored by the Association of University Presses in the annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

978-0-8223-6366-8_prCongratulations to Amy Ruth Buchanan, whose interior design of Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium by John Corbett was honored in the Scholarly Typographic category. The cover design is by Matt Tauch.

ddaaa_67_1In the Journals category, we congratulate Sue Hall. The committee singled out her overall design for Archives of Asian Art and  in particular her design for Volume 67. They also honored her design for Public Culture Volume 29.

The annual Book, Jacket, & Journal Show celebrates the design and production excellence demonstrated by university presses. The Show was founded in 1965 to “honor and instruct,” focusing on the principles of high-quality publication design, and how such design can serve readers and ideas. Through the annual catalog and the traveling show, the Association provides an inspiring hands-on look at this area of professional skill and artistry.m_pcult_29_3_83_cover

The 2018 Book, Jacket, & Journal Show Committee was chaired by Marianne Jankowski (Northwestern University Press), and the jurors were: Robert Bringhurst, author of The Elements of Typographic Style; Linda Secondari, principal at Studiolo Secondari; Sunra Thompson, Art Director at McSweeney’s; and Dan Wagstaff of Publishers Group Canada.

Congratulations, Amy and Sue, and thanks to all our designers for their wonderful work on our books and journals.

 

 

New Acquistions Editor Elizabeth Ault

The book publishing program at Duke University Press is growing!

Elizabeth AultThis month we add a new acquisitions editor—Elizabeth Ault—to our team. Elizabeth started at the Press in 2012, and she has been working with our editorial director, Ken Wissoker, on his book projects. In 2014 Elizabeth was promoted to assistant editor as she began to acquire projects of her own, and in 2016 she was promoted to associate editor. She has steadily built a list in African studies and has been regularly attending the African Studies Association conference on behalf of the Press. She has also acquired titles in film and media studies and American studies and has worked with the editors of our journal Camera Obscura to restart their book series.

Most recently, Elizabeth launched a new books series “Theory in Forms”—edited by Achille Mbembe, Nancy Hunt, and Juan Obarrio–which will focus on theory from the Global South. The series builds upon Duke’s commitment to innovative, interdisciplinary, and international scholarship and also points to some of the new directions that Elizabeth’s list will take.

Elizabeth plans to acquire titles in African studies, urban studies, Middle East studies, geography, theory from the South, Black and Latinx studies, disability studies, trans studies, and critical prison studies. As is characteristic of our list, these areas overlap and intersect with other editors’ areas of acquisitions. We take pride in the intellectual synergy that comes from the intersections between our editors’ lists (as well as between our book and journal publications), and we hope that adding another editor to our team will allow Duke UP to expand the intellectual breadth of our list even further.

Elizabeth says, “It’s an exciting time for me – and for the Press! I’m looking forward to finding surprising turns in established fields of inquiry as well as supporting emerging conversations, particularly those between activists and academics. I’m so thrilled that I’ll be able to more fully support the authors and series editors I’ve already been working with, and also that I’ll get to learn fields that will be new to me and to DUP, expanding our spirit of interdisciplinary inquiry.”

Prior to joining Duke UP, Elizabeth earned an A.B. in American Studies from Brown University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She has published her research in Television & New Media, among other places. While in graduate school, Elizabeth worked at the Minnesota Historical Society Press, where she helped to write the catalog for The 1968 Exhibit. In addition to her editorial work, Elizabeth is an active participant in Durham community organizations like Southerners on New Ground and the Durham Prison Books Collective.

To submit your book project to Duke University Press, contact Elizabeth or another of our acquisitions editors by email. See the requirements here.