African American Studies

New Books in January

978-0-8223-6902-8.jpgHappy 2018! Ring in the new year with these exciting new titles from Duke University Press:

In Fractivism, Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking in the United States and how scientists, nonprofits, landowners, and everyday people are coming together to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable through the creation of digital platforms and databases that document fracking’s devastating environmental and human health impacts.

Raymond Knapp’s Making Light traces the musical legacy of German Idealism as it led to the declining prestige of composers such as Haydn while influencing the development of American popular music in the nineteenth century, showing how the existence of camp in Haydn and American music offer ways of reassessing Haydn’s oeuvre.

In Media Heterotopias Hye Jean Chung challenges the widespread tendency among audiences and critics to disregard the material conditions of digital film production, showing how this emphasis on seamlessness masks the complex social, political, and economic realities of global filmmaking.

Charlotte Brunsdon’s Television Cities traces television’s representations of Paris, London, and Baltimore to show how they reflect the medium’s history and evolution, thereby challenging the prevalent assumptions about television as quintessentially suburban and showing how television shapes our perception of urban spaces, both familiar and unknown.

978-0-8223-7038-3.jpgIn Ezili’s Mirrors Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley traces how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers, filmmakers, musicians, and performers evoke the divinity Ezili—a pantheon of lwa feminine spirits in Vodou—in ways that offer a new model of queer black feminist theory.

Focusing on the hemispheric circulation of South American musical cultures, in On Site, In Sound, Kirstie A. Dorr examines the spatiality of sound and the ways in which the sonic is bound to perceptions and constructions of geographic space, showing how people can use music and sound to challenge and transform dominant conceptions of place.

Attending to diverse practices of everyday living and doing—of form, style, and scenography—in Jacques Rancière’s writings, Davide Panagia explores Rancière’s aesthetics of politics as it informs his radical democratic theory of participation in Ranciere’s Sentiments.

In Reclaiming the Discarded Kathleen Millar offers a comprehensive ethnography of Jardim Gramacho, a sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where self-employed workers, known as catadores, collect recyclable materials and ultimately generate new modes of living within the precarious conditions of urban poverty.

978-0-8223-7036-9Bianca C. Williams’s The Pursuit of Happiness traces the experiences of African American women who travel to Jamaica and form affective relationships with Jamaican men and women that help construct notions of diasporic belonging and a form of happiness that resists the damaging intersections of racism and patriarchy in the United States.

We Wanted a Revolution: New Perspectives is the companion volume to the acclaimed Sourcebook, both of which accompany the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985. New Perspectives includes new essays that place the exhibition’s works in historical and contemporary contexts, poems by Alice Walker, and numerous illustrations. The exhibition is at the California African American Museum until January 14 and then travels to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

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Q&A with Monique Moultrie, author of Passionate and Pious

Monique MoultrieMonique Moultrie, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University, is the author of the new book Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality. In the book, she explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women’s sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God.

How would you describe your personal history and relationship with the evangelical church, and especially with the televangelist Juanita Bynum, whose ministry you discuss at length in Passionate and Pious?

I was reared in a conservative Christian church (a Baptist church) in a rural community that was a model of evangelicalism and took quite seriously the Christian message to evangelize. I went to Jerry Falwell rallies as a teen and actively participated in Christian organizations/clubs. When I entered college I first became aware of televangelist Juanita Bynum even though as a teen I had practiced purity as was expected from my evangelical model. What I remember about watching Bynum’s “No More Sheets” sermon for the first time in a small group setting with a group of other women was that I remembered many things clicking from the sermon. It made sense on a very guttural level. I also think the sermon offered voice to a lot of the personal experiences of women in the room. Women were trying to live out their faith lives in ways that came into contrast with their own sexual needs, desires, and actual realities. Later as I watched events in Bynum’s personal life unfold, I began to wonder if Bynum was the model exemplar or if in fact this was a model that others could hold onto and participate in the same way.

After personally following Bynum for years she became the topic of my doctoral dissertation as I set out to explain the sexual dilemmas facing black women of faith and why/how they were influenced by No More Sheets. My dissertation used ethnographic research and cultural analysis to examine the authority of evangelical sexual messages produced in religious media like her televangelism. I continued to follow Bynum through her marriage, divorce, and subsequent ministries beyond her initial No More Sheets ministry although the book really only focused on this first step.

How did your background in the evangelical church—your experience in the community and as a consumer of its messages about sexuality—help (or hinder) you as you conducted research?

978-0-8223-7004-8

I mention in the book that part of my background in the evangelical church meant that a lot of this rhetoric was something I was used to, as I already knew the lingo and phrases. One of the early book reviewers’ comments was that the book was full of a lot of insider language as I described the communities. I was really such an insider that I needed to go back with the editors to get help determining what words/phrases/categories needed to be defined for those outside of these communities. Thus, in this initial way I had a natural in because I was formed in black church settings. I was also familiar with religious media because I grew up watching televangelism and in many ways the evangelical communities I was studying just made sense to me. It made entering into research much easier as I knew what types of questions to ask to get a response. At times, I could even anticipate responses. I could be understood by my audience and in ways that gave me an advantage since I didn’t have to work as hard to earn trust. Having familiarity in their settings aided my research. I didn’t have to be vouched for in many ways and specifically online this helped when people can’t look at you in your eyes and get a feel for whether you seem authentic or not. Being online in many of these accountability groups and participating online it really helped to know the community’s language, theology, worship, etc.

On the other hand, if my insider status did hinder my research, it was because I was very compassionate towards them. I really spent a lot of time thinking of my research questions. I think a lot of what gets written about evangelicals treats them as if they are cultural dupes. They are written about as if they lack intellect or are overruled by emotionality or that they are not making conscious decisions. I knew that not to be the case so I wanted that to show in my own research. I wanted to highlight the very tough decisions that are being made daily in each of these women’s lives where they embody very complicated contemporary realities where being celibate until marriage for a black woman often means participating in celibacy movements for more than half of their lives. Young girls start in groups in their teen years and they participate in college groups and stats show that black women marry much later; they marry much closer to age 50 so that’s a long time to participate in these movements! I wanted to be compassionate towards this experience because I understood this struggle. I also understood their deep desire for sexual relationship and faith to align. I wanted that to come forward in my research. In some ways, my tenderness towards their plight may have obfuscated my ability to be as critical as I may have wanted to.

As a trained academic, I was clear in my goal of illuminating my ethnographic subjects’ experiences while at the same time offering a womanist corrective. My constructive sections are where my critical side shows. In my goal of not just being objective in presenting these various ministries but to humanize them and these women’s experiences I did take a very critical persona. I did mention in the book that my own rearing in a conservative Christian background gave me messages that privileged monogamy and committed relationships as more normative. When I looked back at my questions related to non-monogamous relationships like hook up culture, my own background tainted those sets of questions. I didn’t really presume that non-monogamy would be the norm. Persons talked with me about their experiences with multiple partners, but often it came out as not their own experience but something that they were reporting from others. When I went through the transcripts, I think a large part of that may have been the way that I crafted the question that probably presumed monogamy. If they were in a multiple-partner relationship my questions presumed that this wasn’t what they intended as a mature relationship. Yet, I know for some of the participants that having multiple partners was not a stage or some immature sexual agency. Having multiple partners was deemed as normative as having one partner and so that’s definitely one way when I looked back at the research I saw a hindrance. Thankfully I became aware of this before the book went to print but certainly as I did the interviews I wasn’t as in tune with this unconscious privileging.

Your book discusses the many messages black women receive from the evangelical church: submission, modesty, abstinence outside of marriage, heterosexuality, etc. What tools does your book provide for shifting these messages or encouraging black women to reclaim their sexual agency?

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Duke University Press to Bring James Baldwin’s Only Children’s Book Back Into Print

LittleManLittleManLittle Man, Little Man is the only children’s book by acclaimed writer James Baldwin. Published in 1976 by Dial Press, the book quickly went out of print. Now, at a time when Baldwin is more popular than ever, and readers, librarians, and booksellers are clamoring for more diverse children’s books, Duke University Press is proud to bring the book back into print. It will be available in August 2018.

In the book, four-year-old TJ spends his days on his lively Harlem block playing with his best friends WT and Blinky and running errands for neighbors. As he comes of age as a “Little Man” with big dreams, TJ faces a world of grown-up adventures and realities. Little Man, Little Man celebrates and explores the challenges and joys of black childhood. 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.

James Baldwin called Little Man, Little Man a “celebration of the self-esteem of black children.” In their brief introduction to the book, Baldwin scholars Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody explain that the illustrations and text invite readers to “look again and experience the social ills represented in the book—violence, economic disparity, alcoholism and drug abuse, and the distortions of mass media—from the perspective of a black child, and one, it is important to note in closing, who is not innocent.” They suggest that audiences at the time were not ready for this perspective, which might explain the book’s initial reception.

Duke University Press’s new edition of Little Man, Little Man retains the charming original illustrations by French artist Yoran Cazac and includes a foreword by Baldwin’s nephew Tejan “TJ” Karefa-Smart (the inspiration for the title character) and an afterword by his niece Aisha Karefa-Smart.

Booksellers wanting more information or wishing to place an order for the book can contact Sales Manager Jennifer Schaper at jennifer.schaper@dukeupress.edu.

All other inquiries: Laura Sell, Publicity, lsell@dukeupress.edu or 919-687-3639.

Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood
By James Baldwin. Illustrated by Yoran Cazac.
Edited and with an introduction by Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody
With a foreword by Tejan Karefa and an afterword by Aisha Karefa-Smart
ISBN: 978-1-4780-0004-4
Hardcover, 128 pages, $22.95
Fully illustrated in color
August 2018

New Books in November

Another month, another batch of great new releases! Check out all the new books we have coming out in November.

978-0-8223-7016-1In Black and Blur—the first volume in his consent not to be a single being trilogy—Fred Moten engages in a capacious consideration of the place and force of blackness in African diaspora arts, politics, and life, exploring a wide range of thinkers, musicians, and artists. The other two volumes in the series will be out in the spring.

The contributors to Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global examine Asian video cultures—from video platforms in Indonesia to amateur music videos in India—in the context of social movements, market economies, and local popular cultures, showing how Asian video practices are central to shaping contemporary experiences and mainstream global media.

Melanie Yergeau’s Authoring Autism challenges the academic and cultural stereotypes that do not acknowledge the rhetorical capabilities of autistic people, and shows how autistics both embrace and reject the rhetorical, thereby queering the lines of rhetoric, humanity, agency, and the very essence of rhetoric itself.

978-0-8223-7021-5Reckoning with one’s role in perpetuating systematic inequality, in The Beneficiary Bruce Robbins examines the implications of a humanitarianism in which the prosperous are the both the cause and the beneficiaries of the abhorrent conditions they seek to remedy.

In Domestic Economies Susanna Rosenbaum examines how immigrant Mexican and Central American domestic workers in Los Angeles and the predominantly white, upper-middle-class women who employ them seek to achieve the “American Dream,” underscoring how the American Dream’s ideology is racialized and gendered while exposing how pursuing it lies at the intersection of motherhood and domestic labor.

In Epigenetic Landscapes Susan Merrill Squier follows the cultural trail of C. H. Waddington’s “epigenetic landscape” metaphor from its first visualization by the artist John Piper to its use beyond science, examining how it has been used to illustrate complex systems that link scientific and cultural practices: graphic medicine, landscape architecture, and bioArt.

In Passionate and Pious Monique Moultrie explores the impact of faith-based sexual ministries on black women’s sexual agency to trace how these women navigate sexuality, religious authority, and their spiritual walk with God.

978-0-8223-6898-4.jpgIn Saving the Security State Inderpal Grewal traces the changing relations between the US state and its citizens in an era she calls advanced neoliberalism, under which everyday life is militarized, humanitarianism serves imperial aims, and white Christian men become exceptional citizens tasked with protecting the nation from racialized others.

In Sounds of CrossingAlex E. Chávez explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in huapango arribeño, a musical genre from north-central Mexico that helps Mexicans build communities on both sides of the US border and give voice to the transnational migrant experience.

N. Fadeke Castor’s Spiritual Citizenship explores the roles African religious practice play in the formation of social and political identities play in post-independence Trinidad and Tobago, showing how Ifá/Orisha practitioners build and perceive a sense of diasporic belonging that leads them to work toward black liberation and a decolonial future.978-0-8223-7150-2

In Street Archives and City Life Emily Callaci maps a new terrain of political and cultural production in mid-twentieth-century Tanzanian cities. While the postcolonial Tanzanian ruling party adopted a policy of rural socialism—Ujamaa—an influx of youth migrants to the city of Dar es Salaam generated innovative forms of urbanism through the production and circulation of street archives.

We are excited to publish a tenth anniversary expanded edition of Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking book, Terrorist Assemblages—which features a new preface by Tavia Nyong’o and a new postscript by the author. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism.

978-0-8223-7034-5In Test of Faith photographer Lauren Pond documents a Signs Following preacher and his family in rural West Virginia, offering a deeply nuanced, personal look at serpent handling that invites a greater understanding of a religious practice that has long faced derision and criticism. The book is the eighth winner of the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.

978-0-8223-7001-7Paul Rabinow continues his explorations of “a philosophic anthropology of the contemporary” in Unconsolable Contemporary by examining the work of German painter Gerhard Richter. Defining the contemporary as a moving ratio in which the modern becomes historical, Rabinow uses Richter’s work to illustrate how meaning is created within the contemporary.

The contributors to Unfinished, edited by João Biehl and Peter Lockeexplore the ethnographic essay’s expressive potentials by pursuing an anthropology of becoming, which attends to the contingency of lived experience and provides new means to represent what life means and how it can be represented.

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Black Poetry Day

In honor of Black Poetry Day, we’re more than pleased to share a few poems from Black poets on our list.

978-0-8223-6272-2  978-0-8223-4696-8-frontcover  978-0-8223-9620-8-frontcover

 

try to silence the loud. the overly proud. the preacher. the
shroud. the sprung and the plowed. try to leaven the low so
the children can grow but the neighbors won’t know, unbossed
but still bowed. try to open the hope with braids and with
rope and with water and soap try to truss out the truth. try to
piecemeal the peace stitch together some sleep and relax for the
reap for the road for the real stuff. try to sap out the stay and
partition the play it is better that way someone whispered once.
try to grow out the grout, groan when you should shout, you
know what it’s about, you know you know you know you know
you know you know but you don’t hear me though.

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Spill

 

b jenkins

just so you know, no one could have told me you didn’t want to go
outside. this exercises phonograph to take the receiver and call you
for something we hear together, some of the same stories, some of the
same things. to stretch repeat so thin it fades to various is the aim of
the phone call. the phonograph is also a photograph of movement and
what it bears. you found dances waiting for dancers. your silhouette is
patient form. I know you can cant. I know you can make it if you try.

I’m getting along alright. I say a little prayer. mama’s baby sadie mae
ms. davis’ blue and red. at the duck inn mighty lions roar. you and
bobby bradford run away together. this earth tone air is b.c. marks’s
pine bluff arkansas, asleep in new pajamas at the desert inn, to walk
joe williams pieceway home to waycross, you and me against the world,
every time we say goodbye. I’ll be seeing you in all the unfamiliar places
where they till our long advance. this is the cluster song of our romance.

-Fred Moten, b jenkins

 

And When I Write the Muscles in My Chest Move as if in Flight

Sometimes the eye of the bird
is a sky that is moving
among the molecules and over
twenty different landscapes
someone has crossed, even lived in,
perhaps longing for the soil of at least
one to wear in her pinions in those
high-necked altitudes that see
the endless couplings of man and
woman and woman and man and
man and woman like a garland
circling the broken globe.

-Yvette Christiansë, Castaway

 

Be sure to check out civil rights poetry collection Words of Protest, Words of Freedom as well, and keep an eye out for consent not to be a single being, an upcoming trilogy by Fred Moten, and M Archive, coming in March from Alexis Pauline Gumbs.

After #Ferguson, After #Baltimore: The Challenge of Black Death and Black Life for Black Political Thought

ddsaq_116_3The most recent issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, “After #Ferguson, After #Baltimore: The Challenge of Black Death and Black Life for Black Political Thought,” edited by Barnor Hesse and Juliet Hooker, is now available.

Drawing primarily on the US #blacklivesmatter movement, contributors to this issue come to terms with the crisis in the meaning of black politics during the post–civil rights era as evidenced in the unknown trajectories of black protests. The authors’ timely essays frame black protests and the implications of contemporary police killings of black people as symptomatic of a crisis in black politics within the white limits of liberal democracy.

Topics in this issue include the contemporary politics of black rage; the significance of the Ferguson and Baltimore black protests in circumventing formal electoral politics; the ways in which centering the dead black male body draws attention away from other daily forms of racial and gender violence that particularly affect black women; the problem of white nationalisms motivated by a sense of white grievance; the international and decolonial dimensions of black politics; and the relation between white sovereignty and black life politics.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

Read to Respond: Racial Justice

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. This post focuses on racial justice, diving deep into topics such as racial identity, the Ferguson trial, and black activism. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Racial Justice

 

 

 

 

Read to Respond: Queer Studies

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. This post focuses on queer studies in celebration of Pride Month and yesterday’s Equality March for Unity & Pride. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Queer Studies

These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.

New Books in May

Here in Durham, we’re in the middle of warm spring weather perfect for reading outside in the sunshine. Add some of these upcoming May reads to your own reading list, and don’t forget that you can save up to 50% on in-stock titles through May 10! (Read the fine print of our sale here.)

978-0-8223-6349-1In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie’s historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics.

Through essays analyzing the photography of luminaries such as Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Susan Meiselas, pioneering feminist art critic Abigail Solomon-Godeau, in Photography after Photography, extends her politically engaged and theoretically sophisticated inquiry into the historical and cultural circuits of power as they shape and inform the practice, criticism, and historiography of photography.

Solomon-Godeau_pbk_cover.inddIn The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen Noenoe K. Silva creates a model indigenous intellectual history of a culture where—using Western standards—none is presumed to exist by examining the work of two lesser-known Hawaiian language writers from the nineteenth-century whose prolific output across many genres created a record of Native Hawaiian cultural history and thought.

Gabriel Rockhill, in Counter-History of the Present, examines the widespread understanding that we are living in an era of globalization that is bound by economic and technological networks and an unquestionable faith in democracy, replacing it with a counter-history that accounts for the diversity of lived experience and offers new ways to imagine the future.

978-0-8223-6368-2In Archives of Labor Lori Merish establishes working-class women as significant actors within nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture by analyzing previously unexplored archives of working-class women’s literature, showing how white, African American, and Mexican American factory workers, seamstresses, domestic workers, and prostitutes understood themselves while forging class identity.

Beyond Civil Society challenges current understandings of the politics of protest, activism, and participation by examining the ways in which social movements in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Latin America blur the boundaries between civil and uncivil activism and between activism carried out in state and the streets. The collection is edited by Sonia E. Alvarez, Jeffrey W. Rubin, Millie Thayer, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, and Agustín Laó-Montes.

978-0-8223-6901-1In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, arguing that genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region and that a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics.

The contributors to Photography and the Optical Unconscious, edited by Shawn Michelle Smith and Sharon Sliwinski, use Walter Benjamin’s concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency, thereby opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.

978-0-8223-6903-5Judith Casselberry’s The Labor of Faith examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of a Black Pentecostal church in Harlem, showing how their work keeps the church running while providing them with a spiritual authority that allows them to exercise power in the male-led church.

In The Economization of Life Michelle Murphy examines the ways in which efforts at population control since World War II have tied reproduction to neoliberal capitalism, showing how data collection practices have been used to quantify the value of a human life in terms of its ability to improve the nation-state’s gross domestic product.

Erin Beck, in How Development Projects Persist, examines microfinance NGOs working with poor, rural women in Guatemala to show how these women creatively and strategically use the NGOs to their own benefit in ways that do not necessarily match the goals of the NGOs, demonstrating that development projects are often transformed and persist in unexpected ways.

We’re also distributing three new exhibition catalogues this month:

TitleTreatment_FINALNina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, a publication of the Nasher Musuem of Art at Duke University, accompanies the exhibition of the same name, a ten-year survey of one of the most provocative and iconoclastic artists working today. Royal Flush is on display at the Nasher until July 16, 2017.

A landmark exhibition on display at the Brooklyn Museum until September 17, 2017, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. The accompanying Sourcebook republishes an array of rare and little-known documents from the period by artists, writers, cultural critics, and art historians such as Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace. The exhibition will also be on display at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017, through January 14, 2018, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26, 2018, through September 30, 2018.

Julie Thomson’s Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College is the first in-depth exhibition and catalogue devoted to photography taken at the college and features over 100 photographs by more than forty artists as well as essays, photographer biographies, and a chronology of photography at Black Mountain College. The catalogue is published by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, where the exhibition is on display until May 20, 2017.

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Read to Respond: Articles for Student Activists

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Articles for Student Activists:

These articles are freely available until August 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.