Activism

Now Available: Syllabi from Duke University Press

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In the spirit of University Press Week’s “Read. Think. Act.” theme, we’re thrilled to unveil a project that our team has been working on for months: staff-curated syllabi of incisive work on some of today’s most critical issues.

All journal articles and issues in these syllabi are freely available online until September 30, 2020. And you can save 40% on featured books and journal issues through the end of 2019 using coupon code SYLLABI at dukeupress.edu.

Our team at the Press sees scholarship as a powerful basis for understanding our current sociopolitical climate and working toward a brighter future. We encourage you to read and share the content we’ve selected, and we hope you find it valuable in preparing courses.

University Press Week: How to Be an Environmental Steward

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Welcome to Day 3 of the University Press Week blog tour. Today’s theme is How to Be an Environmental Steward. We asked some of our authors to answer the question,“What is one thing that more people need to understand about the current global climate crisis?”

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Orrin Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at Duke University and co-author of Sea-Level Rise: A Slow Tsunami on America’s Shores

Much of the CO2 we are putting in the air now will be with us for many years. If we don’t control and lower CO2 emissions within the next 2 decades, climate change will be become a runaway event causing massive global migration, wars over water and migration patterns, critical sea level rise impacts and important, perhaps devastating changes in food sources. The time for action is now.

0Shawna Ross, Assistant Professor of Modern British Literature and the Digital Humanities at Texas A&M University and author of “Teaching in Stormy Weather” (Pedagogy, vol. 19, issue 3)

“Climate change” is a loose and baggy monster of a word, as Henry James might put it. It should not be understood as a single phenomenon, but as a multifaceted problem that manifests in ways that differ profoundly depending on where you are on the globe. We all experience climate change in a local way, and our efforts to combat it must include careful attention to these local conditions.

Bethany Allen, studio portraitsTeena Gabrielson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wyoming and author of “The Visual Politics of Environmental Justice” (Environmental Humanities vol. 11, issue 1)

In a visually saturated global culture, images are powerful means of communication. Today, there is growing awareness that those hit first and hardest by the escalating climate emergency disproportionately come from the world’s most marginalized communities. To envision a more just and green future and create a more inclusive climate justice movement, we need a better understanding of the visual politics that shape the depiction of environmental injustice and visual strategies that disrupt and resist ways of seeing entrenched in dominant power hierarchies.

cymene-howeCymene Howe, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and author of Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene

We need to understand that it is imperative to immediately transition away from fossil fuels and create a new, global energy infrastructure for a sustainable future. This is an incredible opportunity because we can learn from our past mistakes—where hydrocarbon extraction has led to both environmental destruction and social inequalities. We now have a chance to do it right. What if we were to see new energy sources—such as solar, wind and biofuels—as not only fuels but as the foundation for new political forms that are committed to environmental justice rather than the petrologics of endless growth and resource exploitation?

0Nicole Welk-Joerger, PhD candidate in the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Restoring Eden in the Amish Anthropocene” (Environmental Humanities vol. 11, issue 1)

As we approach this global dilemma, many of us place unreasonably high expectations on farmers and farm workers. They need to adapt to our changing tastes and continue to provide us with cheap and convenient food, all while mitigating their own contributions to the climate crisis. Our chance for a sustainable future relies on the recognition that food production and consumption are only one part of a much larger, interdependent system of questionable practices. The transportation and energy industries need to feel the same weight of blame and the necessity to adapt that many of the world’s farmers currently experience.

dominc-boyerDominic Boyer, Professor of Anthropoogy at Rice University and author of Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene.

There is no way to bend our current ecocidal trajectory through individual actions. If you want to fly less or recycle more, those are great choices, but they won’t impact climate change. Individual consumption is simply the wrong scale of intervention. And the petrocultural powers that be want you to feel guilty and complicit. The fact is that all that matters where we are now in the neo-Pliocene is coordinated governmental initiatives aimed at developing the infrastructure of a post-growth global civilization committed to values of sustainability, peace and justice. If you want to help, my advice would be to take your guilt and fear and redirect those emotions toward principled passionate work to develop responsible and effective government. Maybe that’s government of a liberal-democratic nature or maybe it’s in the form of a non-state collective. If you can’t find political leadership worthy of your support, become that leader yourself. The world will thank you for it.

CallisonCandis Callison is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism and in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of How Climate Change Comes to Matter: The Communal Life of Facts.

How we define and think about climate change has changed immensely in the last 30 years, and we’re currently in the midst of a window of time (until 2030) defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to act (i.e. change infrastructure to decrease emissions) in order to limit long term impacts and the increase in global temperature. This is what defines climate change as a global crisis, but that shouldn’t also foreclose on questions about what kind of crisis it is, for whom, and who has a seat at the table where decisions about how to act (and when) are being made.  Many Indigenous communities, globally are already dealing with climate change impacts, yet diverse Indigenous knowledges, experiences, and histories that could offer profound insight into the climate crisis are often not at the table where decisions are being made—limiting the frameworks within which the climate crisis is considered and addressed.

Please continue on the blog tour by visiting the other university presses participating today. At University of Pittsburgh Press, author Patricia Demarco writes about global and local sustainability. Columbia University Press features a guest post from the author of Live Sustainably Now with tips to decreasing your carbon footprint. University of California Press offers a post by the author of forthcoming book A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. Head to Yale University Press for a post with actionable steps on helping the environment and to University of South Carolina Press for photos from the authors of Carolina Bays about preservation of these unique ecological systems. Bucknell University Press offers a post by Tim Wenzell, editor of Woven Shades of Green: An Anthology of Irish Nature Writing on why ecocriticism makes us better stewards of nature. At Oregon State University Press, Marcy Cottrell Houle discusses her new book, A Generous Nature: Lives Transformed by Oregon. University of Minnesota Press shares a post by Jennifer Telesca on the managed extinction of the giant bluefin tuna. University of Mississippi Press features author Jessica H. Schexnayder, whose work documents the dying histories of coastal communities. And University of Toronto Press has a post by sales rep Alex Keys, discussing the ways in which he is able to merge his job with his desire to be a better steward for the environment.

Radical Histories of Sanctuary

We are excited to announce that “Radical Histories of Sanctuary,” the newest issue of Radical History Review, edited by A. Naomi Paik, Jason Ruiz, and Rebecca M. Schreiber, is freely available through September 30, 2020. Start reading here.

coverimageContributors explore both contemporary and historical invocations of sanctuary, paying particular attention to its genealogies in social movements against state violence. They address not only immigrant activism but also topics such as indigenous strategies of survival in the Americas, gay liberation in rural spaces, and urban housing for refugees.

The essays contest liberal conventions of sanctuary that shore up the very forms of power and subjugation they seek to dismantle: from immigrant movements affirming the distinction between “good” and “bad” immigrants to gay liberation movements for police reform that fail to address the fundamental violence of policing.

Examining both the liberatory potential of sanctuary and its limits, the contributors argue for intersectional strategies of resistance that connect the struggles of disparate groups against repressive and violent power.

Honoring Hawai’i on Statehood Day

Today marks the sixtieth anniversary of Hawai‘i’s official admission into the U.S. as a state. While many tourists visiting Hawai‘i may commemorate Statehood Day by experiencing the astounding natural beauty and rich cultural traditions of the islands firsthand, anyone can devote some time to honoring Hawai‘i on this holiday by learning more about the archipelago’s complicated path to statehood.

We’ve highlighted several of our related titles below. By delving into historical issues of native sovereignty and popular protest against annexation, these books not only challenge wholly celebratory narratives of Hawaiian statehood but also illuminate the complex legacy of settler colonialism in contemporary Hawai‘i.

In the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1921, the U.S. Congress defined “native Hawaiians” as those people “with at least one-half blood quantum of individuals inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778.” In Hawaiian Blood, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui provides an impassioned assessment of how the arbitrary correlation of ancestry and race imposed by the U.S. government on the indigenous people of Hawai‘i has had far-reaching legal and cultural effects.

Kauanui is also the author of Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty, which examines contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination in U.S. domestic policy and international law. In this book, Kauanui shows how Hawaiian elites’ approaches to reforming land, gender, and sexual regulation in the early nineteenth century that paved the way for sovereign recognition of the kingdom complicate contemporary nationalist activism, which too often includes disavowing the indigeneity of indigenous Hawaiians.

In Unsustainable Empire Dean Itsuji Saranillio offers a bold challenge to conventional understandings of Hawai‘i’s admission as a U.S. state, showing that statehood was neither the expansion of U.S. democracy nor a strong nation swallowing a weak and feeble island nation, but the result of a U.S. nation whose economy was unsustainable without enacting a more aggressive policy of imperialism.

A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Noenoe K. Silva’s Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism. Drawing on Hawaiian-language texts, primarily newspapers produced in the nineteenth century and early twentieth, Silva demonstrates that print media was central to social communication, political organizing, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and culture.

Nation Within by Tom Coffman details the complex history of the events between the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1893 and its annexation to the United States in 1898. Highlighting the native Hawaiians’ resistance during that five-year span, Coffman shows why occupying Hawaiʻi was crucial to American imperial ambitions.

A Nation Rising, edited by Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika′ala Wright, chronicles the political struggles and grassroots initiatives collectively known as the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, raising issues that resonate far beyond the Hawaiian archipelago such as Indigenous cultural revitalization, environmental justice, and demilitarization.

Are you planning a trip to Hawai‘i? If you’re interested in learning more about how to practice forms of socially conscious tourism during your visit, we recommend checking out our forthcoming book, Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai‘i, edited by Hokulani K. Aikau and Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez. In this brilliant reinvention of the travel guide, artists, activists, and scholars redirect readers from the fantasy of Hawai‘i as a tropical paradise and tourist destination toward a multilayered and holistic engagement with Hawai‘i’s culture and complex history. The essays, stories, artworks, maps, and tour itineraries in Detours create decolonial narratives in ways that will forever change how readers think about and move throughout Hawai‘i. Detours will be available in November.

Disorienting Disability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

trafficking-logoToday is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a day to bring awareness to and encourage action against human trafficking. In honor of this international day, we’re featuring some of our recent journal articles (all available free for six months) and books that explore this global issue.

In the Trail of the Ship: Narrating the Archives of Illegal Slavery,” featured in the March 2019 issue of Social Text, delves into the strange, contradictory archives of the illegal transatlantic slave trade that flourished between Angola and Brazil in the mid-nineteenth century. The article’s author, Yuko Miki, follows the documentary trail of notorious slave ship Mary E. Smith, focusing on the list of the ship’s Africans who were “liberated” from captivity, most of whom were already deceased.

m_ddpos_25_4.coverAuthor Elena Shih explores why and how Thailand functions as a pivotal destination for US human-trafficking rescue projects in “Freedom Markets: Consumption and Commerce across Human-Trafficking Rescue in Thailand,” featured in the November 2017 issue of positions: asia critique. Basing her research on the global anti-trafficking movement in Thailand, China, and the United States between 2008 and 2014, Shih juxtaposes two distinct tourist encounters: a human-trafficking reality tour hosted by a US nonprofit organization, and a separate study-abroad gathering of US university students hosted at the office of a Thai sex worker rights organization.

m_ddglq_22_3_coverIn the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government engaged in a militarized campaign to clean up favelas, blighted areas, and red-light districts so that it could “develop” them. In his article “Evangelical Ecstasy Meets Feminist Fury: Sex Trafficking, Moral Panics, and Homonationalism during Global Sporting Events,” featured in the June 2016 issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Gregory Mitchell argues that by destroying safe and legal venues for sex work, host cities of such events create the very exploitation they purport to prevent.

You may also be interested in these books about human trafficking:

Street Corner Secrets

Street Corner Secrets is an ethnography of women in the city of Mumbai who look for  work at nakas, street corners where day laborers congregate and wait to be hired for construction jobs. Often chosen last, after male workers, or not at all, some women turn to sex work in order to make money, at the nakas, on the street, or in brothels. Svati P. Shah argues that sex work should be seen in relation to other structural inequities affecting these women’s lives, such as threats from the police and lack of access to clean water.

Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform.

The Politics of Boycotts

The Politics of Boycotts,” the newest issue of Radical History Review, edited by E. Natalie Rothman and Andrew Zimmerman, is now available.

“Boycotts exercise the one power that no state, no corporation, no military can prevent,” write the editors in their introduction, available free. “That is the power not to: not to buy from, not to work with or for. … It is a power of nonrecognition.”

Contributors to this special issue explore the global, entangled history of boycotts, from the original Captain Boycott of the Irish Land War and the Canadian opposition of apartheid in South Africa to the consumer activism movement against Coors beer in the late 20th century and queer engagement in the World Social Forum: Free Palestine.

Popular Protests in Venezuela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resilience in the Age of Austerity

ped_19_2_coverThe newest issue of Pedagogy, “Resilience in the Age of Austerity,” edited by Chris W. Gallagher, Deborah Minter, and Shari J. Stenberg, is available now.

Contributors to this special issue consider what resilience means to academia in an age of economic austerity. Exploring resilience as a social, rhetorical practice rather than an individual attribute, the authors offer examples of how particular austerity measures enacted on their campuses―from community colleges to private universities―impact teachers’ and students’ work.

Through their diverse articles, the authors argue that teachers and scholars of literature, language, writing, and culture can and should make major contributions to interdisciplinary understandings of resilience.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, freely available.

New Books in April

We’ve got great new reads in April in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, feminism and women’s studies, and much more.

978-1-4780-0390-8_prIn Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia in the second half of the twentieth century, showing democracy to be a historically unstable and contentious practice.

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Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers in Mumbai—who are assumed to not exist—to live during a period of deindustrialization, showing in The Archive of Loss how mills and workers’ bodies constitute an archive of Mumbai’s history that challenge common thinking about the city’s past, present, and future.

Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century polar explorers, showing in The News at the Ends of the Earth how ship newspapers and other writing shows how explores wrestled with questions of time, space, and community while providing them with habits to survive the extreme polar climate.

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In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical conditions for the persistence of art’s autonomy from the realm of the commodity by showing how an artist’s commitment to form and by demanding interpretive attention elude the logic of capital.

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

Exploring a wide range of sonic practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors to Remapping Sound Studies, edited by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, reorient the field of sound studies toward the global South in order to rethink and decolonize modes of understanding and listening to sound.

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In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of seventeen year old Víctor Manuel Vital, aka Frente, who was killed by police in the slums of Buenos Aires.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities.

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