Author: Laura Sell

Publicity and Advertising Manager, Duke University Press

Author Events in June

You can catch our authors at both virtual and in-person events this month, in Europe and in the U.S.

Cover of Mass Conspiracy to Feed People: Food Not Bombs and the World-Class Waste of Global Cities by David Boarder Giles. Image is of the legs and feet of a person leaning into a dumpster.

June 1, 3 PM BST: Srila Roy, author of the forthcoming book Changing the Subject, will give an online talk sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at Warwick University.

June 2-3: Northwestern University hosts a two-day celebration of the work and legacy of Hamid Naficy, author of the three-volume work A Social History of Iranian Cinema. The gathering will include three panels, a keynote address, film screenings, personal testimonials, and more. It will include both in-person and virtual events.

June 3, 3:30 PM PDT: Darren Byler, author of Terror Capitalism, participates in a colloquium centered on how Uyghurs articulate experiences of dehumanization and rage, sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington.

June 3, 7:30 PM PDT: David Boarder Giles, author of A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People, will appear in person at Left Bank Books in Seattle.

June 11, 6:30 PM EDT: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, PA, and Duquesne University sponsor a book launch for Shannen Dee Williams’s Subversive Habits. The event is in-person at the Duquesne University Power Center.

Cover of Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media by micha cárdenas. Cover is blue with 7 people on it, and a center person is pointing.

June 14, 9AM PST: micha cárdenas, author of Poetic Operations, will give an online talk at the colloquium “Medien | Denken” (Media | Thinking) hosted by the Institute for Media Studies at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

June 15, 3:00 PM GMT: Gil Hochberg, author of Becoming Palestine, speaks in-person at the Beyond the Archive symposium at the Centre for Comparative Political Thought, SOAS London.

June 15, 2:30 PM EDT: Marlon Ross, author of Sissy Insurgencies, gives the keynote address at the 2022 virtual Conference on Men and Masculinities

June 16, 12 PM CEST:  micha cárdenas, author of Poetic Operations, gives a talk at the international conference AN-ICON.


June 17: Heather Davis, author of Plastic Matter, is a participant in the symposium “Bad Taste? Culture and Consumption in the Great Acceleration” hosted by the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin. It takes place in-person.

June 22, 5:00 PM CEST: Gil Hochberg, author of Becoming Palestine, gives an in-person lecture at the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis.

Final Day of Our Spring Sale

Image reads: use code SPRING22, Spring Sale, 50% off all in-stock books and journal issues through May 27

Today is the final day of our Spring Sale. Use coupon SPRING22 to save 50% on all in-stock books and journal issues and be sure to shop before 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Please note that due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Press is closing at 1:00 pm on Friday. You’ll still be able to order from the website after that time, but not by phone.

Customers outside North and South America can use the SPRING22 coupon through today at our UK-based distributor Combined Academic Publishers to save on shipping, particularly in Europe.

Cover of LOTE by Shola Von Reinhold. Cover is pearlescent with the title text in large blue letters around a teardrop shaped ornament with a peacock inside it. Text below the image reads “Ingenious; irresistible; a dazzling first novel.”--Naomi Booth, author of Sealed and The Lost Art of Sinking

If you still aren’t sure what to buy, check out recommendations from our editors Elizabeth Ault, Courtney Berger, Gisela Fosado, and Ken Wissoker.

And consider these new books that were just released this week: LOTE, an award-winning queer novel by Shola von Reinhold, The Small Matter of Suing Chevron by Suzanna Sawyer, Gridiron Capital by Lisa Uperesa, The Surrounds by AbdouMaliq Simone, Grammars of the Urban Ground edited by Ash Amin and Michele Lancione, and In the Shadow of the Palms by Sophie Chao.

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

Ken Wissoker’s Sale Recommendations

Image reads: use code SPRING22, Spring Sale, 50% off all in-stock books and journal issues through May 27
A white man with short, graying dark hair, wearing rectangular glasses, a black and white collared print shirt, and a black jacket.
white

Our Spring Sale is rapidly coming to a close. You only have three days to save 50% on in-stock books and journal issues. If you’re still not sure what to purchase, here are Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker’s suggestions.

I don’t need to tell most DUP readers that this moment requires transformative thinking. The pandemic and the racist agenda of the last US administration are not over in the least. Rarely a day goes by where rights and conditions central to our well-being are not under attack. Thank you, SCOTUS. What can we as thinkers, readers, and publishers do to make a difference? I would start my sale recommendations there. I’m thinking about books that will help all of us get through: Sara Ahmed’s Complaint!, Max Liboiron’s Pollution Is Colonialism, Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science and Other Stories. Tools for thinking differently.

My own thinking has been transformed this spring by Jennifer L. Morgan’s Reckoning with Slavery, which centers Black women in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, giving them agency, not merely footnoted presence. Morgan points a way for historians to restore the power and feelings of those who were of no account in the archives, while putting the numeracy of the slave trade at the core of capitalism.
 
Morgan’s friend and colleague Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu has shown exactly how this can be done, similarly working between disciplines and archives, but across the Pacific rather than the Atlantic. Her book Experiments in Skin won the publishing equivalent of March Madness this year, the Prose awards from the Association of American Publishers. They choose 106 finalists in categories from Mathematics to Philosophy; then 39 category winners, 4 area winners for humanities, social sciences, bio sciences, and physical sciences—and one overall winner, Thuy’s incredible book, which combines a history of imperialism and chemical warfare with that of dermatology and concepts of beauty showing how they all come together in present-day Vietnam.

Cover of Planetary Longings by Mary Louise Pratt. Cover features a brown landscape with a muddy orange river running through it.

Mary Louise Pratt is one of the theorists who made the intellectual and political work of the last decades possible. Her long-awaited Planetary Longings is just out, as is Jonathan Sterne’s Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment, a brilliant and personally driven account of impairment. 
 
The presence and care of a writer’s personal voice feels especially necessary at this moment, given the wearing politics of our time. Rather than being separate from scholarship and theorizing, the voice is central part to it. We see that in Jafari S. Allen’s gorgeous There’s a Discoball Between Us—his account of Black gay male life from the 80s and after and what it owes to Black feminism—and in Kevin Quashie’s similarly inspiring Black Aliveness, or a Poetics of Being. You hear it in La Marr Jurelle Bruce’s stunning How to Go Mad Without Losing Your Mind and in McKenzie Wark’s pathbreaking Philosophy for Spiders.
 
In this vein, one book I can’t recommend enough is Mercy Romero’s Toward Camden, a memoir and a way of understanding raced geography at once, where the two are inseparable, and written with intense beauty and insight.

Finally, in other political registers, I would strongly recommend Tania Murray Li and Pujo Semedi’s Plantation Life: Corporate Occupation in Indonesia’s Oil Palm Zone, an analysis of emergent forms of capitalism based on the massive expansion of plantations in the present. You should also check out Vicente Rafael book on Duterte, The Sovereign Trickster; Jodi Kim’s long-awaited and incisive Settler Garrison; and Leslie Bow’s superb Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasure of Fantasy.
 
I could easily come up with another list this long (where is Beth Povinelli’s new book or Joshua Clover’s Roadrunner??) so get over to the website and look around yourself. Just do it quickly!

Use coupon SPRING22 to save on all these titles and more. If you’re located outside North and South America, we suggest you order from our partner Combined Academic Publishers using the same coupon. You’ll get faster and cheaper shipping. See the fine print here.

Introducing our Fall Catalog

Black and white photo of a group of young people dressed up for a punk showing laughing together. Text reads 2022 Fall and Winter. Duke University Press.
Textt reads

We’re very excited to unveil our Fall 2022 catalog. It’s packed with great new titles that will be released between July 22 and February 2023. Publication dates and prices are subject to change.

The cover features art from Gavin Butt’s No Machos or Pop Stars: When the Leeds Art Experiment Went Punk, which tells the story of the post-punk scene in the northern English city of Leeds, showing how bands ranging from Gang of Four, Soft Cell, and Delta 5 to Mekons, Scritti Politti, and Fad Gadget drew on their university art school education to push the boundaries of pop music. Fans of new wave music will also want to check out A Kiss across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and US Latinidad by Richard T. Rodríguez, which examines the relationship between British post-punk musicians like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, and Pet Shop Boys and their Latinx audiences in the United States. Other new music titles include John Klaess’s history of the early days of rap radio and Ain’t But a Few of Us, in which Willard Jenkins collects candid dialogues with Black jazz critics and journalists.

Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs  by Suzanne Gordon, Steve Early, Jasper Craven opens the catalog. The authors explore the physical, emotional, social, economic, and psychological impact of military service and the problems that veterans face when they return to civilian life. Other timely current events titles include The Pandemic Divide: How COVID Increased Inequality in America edited by Gwendolyn L. Wright, Lucas Hubbard, and William A. Darity; Vanishing Sands: Losing Beaches to Mining by renown geologist Orrin H. Pilkey along with Norma J. Longo, William J. Neal, Nelson G. Rangel-Buitrago, Keith C. Pilkey, and Hannah L. Hayes; and The Pivot: One Pandemic, One University by Robert J. Bliwise, about Duke University’s response to COVID-19.

The posthumous publication of Lauren Berlant’s On the Inconvenience of Other People is bittersweet for the Press and for all Berlant’s fans. This new work, which Judith Butler, Michael Hardt, and Rebecca Wanzo all call “brilliant,” continues to explore our affective engagement with the world, focusing on the encounter with and the desire for the bother of other people and objects, showing that to be driven toward attachment is to desire to be inconvenienced. We also have a new book by one of Berlant’s collaborators, Lee Edelman (the two co-wrote Sex, or the Unbearable in 2013), Bad Education: Why Queer Theory Teaches Us Nothing. Edelman offers a sweeping theorization of queerness as one of the many names for the void around and against which the social order takes shape. Fans of queer theory will also want to check out Marquis Bey’s second book of 2022, Cistem Failure, which meditates on the antagonistic relationship between blackness and cisgender, showing that as a category, cisgender cannot capture how people depart from gender alignment and its coding as white. We are also thrilled to be publishing John D’Emilio’s memoir, Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood: Coming of Age in the Sixties, in which the historian documents his childhood and young adulthood in New York City. The catalog also features work in trans studies by Cameron Awkward-Rich, a collection on queer kinship edited by Tyler Bradway and Elizabeth Freeman, a volume on the significance of the archival turn in LGBTQ studies, edited by Daniel Marshall and Zeb Tortorici, and a history, present, and future of AIDS presented through thirteen short conversations between Alexandra Juhasz and Theodore Kerr.

We have several works of poetry coming out this fall, including Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems by Dionne Brand, which collects eight volumes of Brand’s poetry published between 1983 and 2010 and includes a critical introduction by the literary scholar and theorist Christina Sharpe. In her book-length poem or, on being the other woman, Simone White considers the dynamics of contemporary black feminist life, attesting to the narrative complexities of writing and living as a black woman and artist. When the Smoke Cleared: Attica Prison Poems and Journal contains poetry written by incarcerated poets in Attica Prison and journal entries and poetry by Celes Tisdale, who led poetry workshops following the uprising there in 1971.

New books in Black studies include New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair by Jasmine Nichole Cobb, which traces the history of the Afro-textured coiffure, exploring it as a visual material through which to reimagine the sensual experience of Blackness. In Black Disability Politics, Sami Schalk shows how Black people have long engaged with disability as a political issue deeply tied to race and racism. King’s Vibrato: Modernism, Blackness, and the Sonic Life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Maurice O. Wallace explores the sonic character of Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice and how a mixture of architecture, acoustics, sound technology, and gospel influenced it. And in Annotations: On the Early Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois, Nahum Dimitri Chandler offers a philosophical interpretation of Du Bois’s 1897 American Negro Academy address, “The Conservation of Races.” Also check out Violent Utopia, Jovan Scott Lewis’s retelling of the history and afterlife of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre; Kemi Adeyemi’s Feels Right, an ethnography of how black queer women use dance to assert their physical and affective rights to the city; and Jennifer DeClue’s Visitation, a look at Black feminist avant-garde filmmakers.

Cover of Lost in the Game: A Book about Basketball by Thomas Beller. Cover is a photograph that shows a small flock of pigeons taking off from in front of an outdoor basketball hoop.

We are building our sports list with two books on basketball this fall. Lost in the Game: A Book about Basketball collects journalist Thomas Beller’s essays about the game ranging from stories about the NBA to pickup games in city parks, to his own experience playing college ball. Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure by Alexander Wolff was first published to great acclaim in 2002 and we are pleased to now bring out a Twentieth Anniversary edition which features a new preface in which Wolff outlines the contemporary rise of athlete-activists while discussing the increasing NBA dominance of marquee international players like Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo. 


There’s so much more on our great Fall list, including new books in Asian studies, African studies, literary and cultural studies, anthropology, art, and more. We invite you to download the catalog and bookmark all your favorites. And be sure to sign up for our email alerts so you’ll know when titles you’re interested in are available.

Courtney Berger’s Sale Recommendations

Image reads: use code SPRING22, Spring Sale, 50% off all in-stock books and journal issues through May 27

You have one week left to save 50% on in-stock books and journal issues during our Spring Sale. If you’re still wondering what to buy, check out Executive Editor Courtney Berger’s suggestions.

A white woman with short grey and white hair wearing glasses. She is wearing a white top and a necklace.

This is always a tough assignment: can you recommend some books for the spring sale? All the books, I want to say. But, evidently that doesn’t make for a compelling blog post, and I’m told that I must select just a few. So, here are my picks. (But, secretly, I am whispering, All the books.)

Cover of Passionate Work: Endurance after the Good Life by Renyi Hong. Cover is a painting of a man in a white suit working on a laptop, sitting atop the shoulder of a giant robot. This robot looks like a man in a black suit, a phone attached to his ear. The robot is breaking, with smoke coming out and paint peeling off, revealing orange metal underneath.

Hot off the presses: Renyi Hong’s Passionate Work: Endurance After the Good Life. If you’ve ever balked at the advice to “follow your passion” or “do what you love and the money will follow,” this is the book for you. Hong considers how the idealization of work as a passionate endeavor that sustains people emotionally and spiritually papers over the conditions of labor in late capitalism, which are dominated by precarity, unemployment, repetitive labor, and isolation. He shows us how passion has become an affective structure that shapes our relationship to work and produces the fantasy of a resilient subject capable of enduring disappointment and increasingly disadvantageous working conditions. Hong asks us to question our compulsory attachment to labor and, instead, to consider forms of social and emotional attachments that might better sustain our lives.

Cover of Suspicion: Vaccines, Hesitancy, and the Affective Politics of Protection in Barbados by Nicole Charles. Cover features a 2015 art piece called Waterlogged, by Bajan artist Simone Asia. The piece features a person's face with flora around it in a variety of colors.

Another new book that hits on squarely on pandemic politics: Nicole Charles’s Suspicion: Vaccines, Hesitancy, and the Affective Politics of Protection in Barbados. Charles examines resistance to government-led efforts in Barbados to vaccinate girls against HPV. Framing this resistance not as “vaccine hesitancy” but instead as a form of legitimate suspicion, Charles shows how colonial and postcolonial histories of racial violence, capitalism, and biopolitical surveillance aimed at regulating and controlling Black people have shaped Afro-Barbadians’ relationship to the state and to medical intervention. The book undoes conventional narratives of vaccine hesitancy and scientific certainty in order to open up space for addressing the inequalities that shape health care and community care.

Cover of Hawai′i Is My Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific by Nitasha Tamar Sharma. Features a photograph of singer Kamakakēhau by Kenna Reed. Photo is of a bearded Black man in a large pink shaggy collar with pink flowers around him.

You might pick up Nitasha Sharma’s Hawai’i Is My Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific because of the stunning cover, but you’ll stay for Sharma’s compelling analysis of Black life on the islands. Despite the prevalence of anti-Black racism in Hawai’i, many Black people regard Hawai’i as a sanctuary. Sharma considers why and shows how Blackness in Hawai’i troubles US-centric understandings of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity. Through extensive interviews with Black residents—including transplants, those born in Hawai’i, and many who identify as dual-minority multiracial–Sharma attends to Black residents’ complex experiences of invisibility, non-belonging, and liberation, as well as the opportunities for alliance between anti-racist activism and Native Hawaiian movements focused on decolonization.

Calling all foodies and lovers of The Great British Bake Off: Anita Mannur’s Intimate Eating: Racialized Spaces and Radical Futures dwells on culinary practices, texts, and spaces that resist heteropatriarchal norms of the family, the couple, and the nation. Mannur shows us how racialized and marginalized groups use food to confront and disrupt racism and xenophobia and to create alternate, often queer forms of sociality and kinship.

Our lists in environmental humanities and environmental media continue to grow. Here are a few new titles to look out for:

Nicole Starosielski’s Media Hot and Cold asks us to reckon with the politics of temperature. Thermal technologies—from air conditioning to infrared cameras—serve as both modes of communication and subjugation, and Starosielski’s book points to the urgent need to address the political, economic, and ecological ramifications of “thermopower” and climate control. In Climatic Media: Transpacific Experiments in Atmospheric Control Yuriko Furuhata highlights the intertwined development of climate engineering, networked computing, and urban design in the transpacific relationship between the US and Japan during the Cold War. Min Hyoung Song’s Climate Lyricism turns to literature as a site for confronting climate change. In the lyrical voice (the “I” who addresses “you”), Song finds a tool that can help us to develop a practice of sustained attention to climate change even as we want to look away. And, lastly, in Dockside Reading: Hydrocolonialism and the Custom House Isabel Hofmeyr brings us to an unlikely site for thinking about the environment and literature–the colonial customs house. It was here that books were sorted, categorized, and regulated by customs agents, and where the handling of books reflected the operations of empire both at the water’s edge and well beyond the port.

Use coupon SPRING22 to save on all these titles and more. If you’re located outside North and South America, we suggest you order from our partner Combined Academic Publishers using the same coupon. You’ll get faster and cheaper shipping. See the fine print here.

Spring Sale Continues Through May 27

Image reads: use code SPRING22, Spring Sale, 50% off all in-stock books and journal issues through May 27

Have you shopped our Spring Sale yet? All in-stock books and journal issues are 50% off through May 27 with coupon code SPRING22.

Since the start of the sale we’ve released some great new titles. Check out The Impasse of the Latin American Left, in which Franck Gaudichaud, Massimo Modonesi, and Jeffery R. Webber explore the region’s Pink Tide as a political, economic, and cultural phenomenon. 

Kelli Moore’s Legal Spectatorship  traces the political origins of the concept of domestic violence through visual culture in the United States. 

Passionate Work by Renyi Hong theorizes the notion of being “passionate about your work” as an affective project that encourages people to endure economically trying situations like unemployment, job change, repetitive and menial labor, and freelancing.

And in The Lives of Jessie Sampter, Sarah Imhoff tells the story of the queer, disabled, Zionist writer Jessie Sampter (1883–1938), whose body and life did not match typical Zionist ideals and serves as an example of the complex relationships between the body, queerness, disability, religion, and nationalism.

Our distributor in the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific, Combined Academic Publishers, is pleased to extend the same 50% off discount to our customers there. Since overseas shipping can be slow and expensive, we highly encourage everyone in their territory to order directly from them using the same SPRING22 coupon code.

Here’s the usual fine print: The discount does not apply to apparel, journals subscriptions, or society memberships. You can’t order out-of-stock or not yet published titles at the discount. Regular shipping rates apply.

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

Happy shopping!

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Interviews Vicente L. Rafael

On May 9, the Philippines will elect a new President. For those interested in autocracy, it is a dramatic situation. The current illiberal president, Rodrigo Duterte, is not standing for re-election, but his daughter, Sara Duterte, is on the ticket with Bongbong Marcos, the son of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Once a country has an experience with strongman rule, the leader can haunt a nation for decades.

To better understand Duterte—a violent man who engaged in extrajudicial killings—and the stakes of this election, I talked with Vicente L. Rafael, who is Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author, most recently, of The Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte (2022), and Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation (2016). Our conversation took place on March 5, 2022, and has been edited for clarity and flow.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat (RBG): Why do people support these violent fraudsters? In your book you talk about how the culture of fear that Duterte disseminated was actually part of his charm. Many don’t understand why these extreme figures have such devoted followings.

Vicente Rafael (VR): In the case of the Philippines, there’s a long tradition of authoritarian leaders. And people tend to think that strong male leaders are the best way to deal with the uncertainties of life. Someone like Duterte who comes in and promises to not just solve the crime problem, but basically wipe out criminals, drug dealers and drug users, can be popular.  

Although of course this violence doesn’t solve the problem, but it creates a sense of false security. People feel, well, someone’s in charge, so I don’t have to worry. It’s very common to hear people say, oh, my neighborhood is really safer these days. And when you ask them, what do you think about all these people who got killed? I mean, many of them are your neighbors. And they would say, well, they were warned. They didn’t want to stop dealing or using, so they got what they deserved.

RBG: This is one way that autocrats are different than democratic leaders. Duterte came on my radar when he started talking, as a candidate, about the violence that he would perpetrate if he won the election. And in the US we had Trump warning as a candidate that he could shoot someone and not lose any followers.

VR: Duterte’s political style was really developed and honed while he was Mayor of Davao. He used threats, he hired thugs, like former rebels, and turned his police force into vigilantes. He himself liked to play vigilante. He would get on his motorcycle or borrow a taxi cab and roam around at night. As he said, he was looking for trouble he could fix.

So there was this sense that he was a hands-on mayor who didn’t hesitate to do what was needed without having to go through the bureaucracy or the judicial system. And that was the basis of his popularity. People were afraid, but also impressed that he actually went and did these things. When he became president, he basically nationalized these local practices.

Cover of Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte. Cover features a photograph of an alleged drug dealer—and Duterte supporter—arrested after a buy-bust operation in a slum area in Manila on September 28, 2017. The photo is a close-up of the person's handcuffed hands, one of which bears a Duterte writstband.

RBG: Your book discusses Duterte’s brand of machismo. I’m happy to see that because I feel that we don’t take masculinity seriously enough as a tool of authoritarian rule. You capture the complex masculinity of Duterte, and his blend of fragility and brutality.

VR: Duterte talks unabashedly about sexuality, he makes these obscene vulgar jokes about rape, about women. But when you look more closely at his use of misogyny and machismo, you see they are part of complex storytelling devices. He’s a great storyteller, his way of using the vernacular is really quite amazing. It’s one of the ways he connects to people.  

As an example, he might say, oh, gee, they raped the women. And it was so beautiful and I should have been first. I was the mayor. And instead I was sort of left out of the whole thing. People crack up because it’s really about how his authority was obviated. And they can even sympathize with him.

RBG: It’s beyond awful, but it’s effective in terms of him building community and legitimating misogyny and sexual assault.

VR: Another example is a story he used to tell on the campaign trail about being sexually abused by an American Jesuit while he was going to confession. I think he connects with people who might have experienced the same thing. And yet he relates this painful trauma in a humorous fashion, saying, well, I still came out on top. I was abused, but I survived to tell this story.

Duterte also expresses vulnerability when he talks about dying, about how fragile his body is. So he says, I’m going to kill all of you. But he also says, I’m probably going to die tomorrow.

RBG: This sounds nihilistic. Many strongmen have a nihilistic streak.

VR: Yes, there’s a really close relationship between authoritarianism and nihilism. It’s this idea that well, I don’t mind risking the lives of my soldiers and my citizens, because we’re all going to die anyway. Someone’s going to assassinate me sooner or later. Someone’s going to launch a coup against me sooner later. So I’m just going to go all in now.

RBG: That’s great context for Duterte stepping aside from the presidency. How does someone like that fade into the sunset?

VR: Well, physically he’s very tired. I think that’s part of the reason he wants to step down and retire. Yet he’s got this legacy. His mode of governing and the practices he engaged in will continue. His daughter Sara will be there (even though they don’t get along), and if Marcos junior becomes president, he will be surrounded by a lot of Duterte allies and cronies.

Duterte’s also empowered the police to an enormous degree. It’s really the police that run the show. In the Philippines, unlike in the United States, police are nationalized. So it’s really the office of the president that controls the appointment of the chief of police and so forth.

In addition, in the Philippines Congress designates intelligence funds, a massive amount of money, and no one knows what it’s used for, it’s never accounted for. So the economic power, the political power, and of course the military power of the police will continue.

RBG: Isn’t there also some nostalgia for the Marcos era?

VR: Yes, and it comes out of a decade of propaganda, a lot of it on YouTube, about how wonderful martial law was, and how the son will continue what the father did—the attraction of continuity. People who support Duterte will support Marcos Jr. because Sara’s there. In fact, Marcos Jr. himself doesn’t have much of a platform. He always says I’m going to unify the country. Whatever that means.

RBG: Ah, the strongman slogan for one hundred years, still going strong!

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and author of Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (W.W. Norton & Company). This interview is republished with permission from her Substack newsletter Lucid. Vicente Rafael’s books are available for 50% off with coupon SPRING22 through May 27.

Spring Sale Begins Today

We’re excited to announce that our Spring Sale starts today. Save 50% on all in-stock books and journal issues with coupon code SPRING22 through May 27.

Our distributor in the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific, Combined Academic Publishers, is pleased to extend the same 50% off discount to our customers there. Since overseas shipping can be slow and expensive, we highly encourage everyone in their territory to order directly from them using the same SPRING22 coupon code.

Here’s the usual fine print: The discount does not apply to apparel, journals subscriptions, or society memberships. You can’t order out-of-stock or not yet published titles at the discount. Regular shipping rates apply.

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

Congratulations to our Award-Winning Designers

Congratulations to our designers whose book and cover designs have been honored by the Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

In the Scholarly Typographic category, the committee honored Aimee C. Harrison for her design of Cajetan Iheka’s African Ecomedia, Matthew Tauch for his design of Black Bodies, White Gold by Anna Arabindan Kesson, and Courtney Leigh Richardson for her design of Nervous Systems, edited by Johanna Gosse and Timothy Stott.

In the Trade Typographic category, Aimee C. Harrison’s design of Magical Habits by Monica Huerta was honored by the committee.

Cover of Magical Habits by Monica Huerta. The cover is bright pink with the text in purple and red and features a collage of images including a parrot, a rabbit and clouds of different colors.

In the Poetry and Literature category, Courtney Leigh Richardson was honored for her design of Maroon Choreography by fahima ife.

The annual Book, Jacket, and Journal show, now in its 57th year, honors the university publishing community’s design and production professionals. The Association recognizes achievement in design, production, and manufacture of books, jackets, covers, and journals, and the Show serves as a spark to conversations and source of ideas about intelligent, creative, and resourceful publishing. Congratulations again to Aimee, Courtney, and Matthew!

Author Events in April

Our authors have virtual and in-person events around the world in April. Hope you can attend some of them!

April 1, 3 pm EDT: Electric Marronage hosts an online book talk featuring Monica Huerta, author of Magical Habits, and Mercy Romero, author of Toward Camden.

April 4, 5 pm EDT: Jack Halberstam, author of Wild Things, joins Xine Yao for a conversation about her recent book Disaffected, sponsored by the Columbia University Seminar in Affect Studies.

April 5: 4 pm EDT: The Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society at the University of Notre Dame sponsors an online book talk by Nicole Starosielski, author of Media Hot and Cold, as part of its Life in Pixels series.

April 6, 12 pm PDT: Alexandra T. Vasquez, author of The Florida Room, participates in an in-person conversation with Karen Tongson, Director of the Consortium for Gender, Sexuality, Race and Public Culture at USC Dornsife.

April 6, 6:30-8pm EDT: Melissa Gregg, author of Counterproductive, will participate in an in-person talk hosted by the University of Richmond Department of English.

April 7, 2 pm EDT: Scott Branson, translator of Gay Liberation after May ‘68 by Guy Hocquenghem, discusses the book with McKenzie Wark, as part of the Gender and Its Discontents speaker’s series sponsored by the Gender and Sexualities Studies Institute at The New School.

April 7, 4:30-6pm EDT: Lauren Cramer, co-editor of the journal liquid blackness , gives an in-person talk titled “Sound, Image, Echo – A Family Affair” in Room 225 of the Friedl Building on Duke University’s East Campus. The event is presented by the Duke Program in Literature.

April 8, 6 pm EDT: Monica Huerta, author of Magical Habits, is joined by Namwali Serpell for the final installment of her Personal Habits series, sponsored by Labyrinth Books.

April 11, 4 pm EDT: The Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society at the University of Notre Dame sponsors a hybrid in-person/online book talk by David Cecchetto, author of Listening in the Afterlife of Data, as part of its Life in Pixels series.

April 11, 5 pm PDT: The University of California Santa Cruz Critical Race & Ethnic Studies Department & the Department of Performance, Play & Design hosts an in-person book launch for micha cárdenas’s Poetic Operations at Cowell Provost House with respondents Gerald Casel and Nick Mitchell.

April 13, 6 pm EDT: NYU’s Department of Comparative Literature and the program in Poetics & Theory will host Gay Liberation After May 68: A Discussion and Reading of Guy Hocquenghem’s Political Writings with Max Fox, Antoine Idier, and Scott Branson, translator of Gay Liberation after May ‘68.

April 14, 3 pm EDT: Matt Brim, author of Poor Queer Studies, joins the Inkcap Collective for a discussion of his book.

April 14, 5:30 pm MST: micha cárdenas, author of Poetic Operations, will give an online book talk at the University of Arizona.

April 14, 5 pm EDT: Julietta Singh, author of Unthinking Mastery, will participate in a in-person conversation with Daryl Dance. The event is hosted by the University of Richmond Department of English

April 14, 2022: 7 pm EDT: Jorell Meléndez-Badillo, author of The Lettered Barriada, gives a LAWCHA Book talk.

April 14, 7 pm EDT: Xine Yao, author of Disaffected, gives the West Virginia University English Department Jackson and Nichols Distinguished Lecture online

April 14, 9 am PDT: Cressida J. Heyes, author of Anaesthetics of Existence, participates in an author-meets-critics panel at the APA Pacific Division conference.

April 15, 3 pm EDT: Nick Bromell, author of The Powers of Dignity, is joined by Melvin Rogers, Ainsely LeSure, and Tony Bogues, for a discussion about his book sponsored by the Brown University Political Science department. (link not yet available)

April 19, 7-8:30pm EDT: Ashon Crowley, author of The Lonely Letters, will participate in an in-person talk hosted by the University of Richmond Department of English

April 21, 2 pm EDT: McKenzie Wark, author of Philosophy for Spiders, gives an online lecture entitled “The Cis Gaze and Its Others,” part of the Gender and Its Discontents speaker’s series sponsored by the Gender and Sexualities Studies Institute at The New School.

April 27, 2 pm EDT: Rachel Zolf reads from their book No One’s Witness at an online event sponsored by Salon – London.

April 27, 5 pm CET: Thomas Hendriks, author of Rainforest Capitalism, participates in an in-person book launch at Ghent University with responses by Soraya El Kahlaoui and Maria Martin de Almagro and chaired by Siggie Vertommen.

April 28:  Dr. Nitasha Tamar Sharma, author of Hawai’i is My Haven, will participate in a virtual talk hosted by the American Studies Program at Williams College. (Link not yet available)