Anthropology

International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day, which raises awareness of museums as “an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” We’re happy to contribute to the cause by sharing some of our scholarship that celebrates and critically examines museums and their work.

978-0-8223-5897-8Prior to 1967 fewer than a dozen museum exhibitions had featured the work of African American artists. And by the time the civil rights movement reached the American art museum, it had already crested: the first public demonstrations to integrate museums occurred in late 1968, twenty years after the desegregation of the military and fourteen years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. In Mounting Frustration Susan E. Cahan investigates the strategies African American artists and museum professionals employed as they wrangled over access to and the direction of New York City’s elite museums.

Bennett_pbk_cover.inddThe coauthors of the theoretically innovative Collecting, Ordering, Governing explore the relationships among anthropological fieldwork, museum collecting and display, and social governance in the early twentieth century in Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, and the United States. With case studies ranging from the Musée de l’Homme’s 1930s fieldwork missions in French Indo-China to the influence of Franz Boas’s culture concept on the development of American museums, the authors illuminate recent debates about postwar forms of multicultural governance, cultural conceptions of difference, and postcolonial policy and practice in museums.

ddaaa_67_1Archives of Asian Art is a journal devoted to publishing new scholarship on the art and architecture of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. Articles discuss premodern and contemporary visual arts, archaeology, architecture, and the history of collecting.  Every issue is fully illustrated (with color plates in the online version), and each fall issue includes an illustrated compendium of recent acquisitions of Asian art by leading museums and collections.

Museum Frictions is a lavishly illustrated examination of the significant and varied effects of the increasingly globalized world on contemporary museum, heritage, and exhibition practice. The contributors—scholars, artists, and curators—present case studies drawn from Africa, Australia, North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Together they offer a multifaceted analysis of the complex roles that national and community museums, museums of art and history, monuments, heritage sites, and theme parks play in creating public cultures.

In Museum Skepticism, art historian David Carrier traces the birth, evolution, and decline of the public art museum as an institution meant to spark democratic debate and discussion. Carrier contends that since the inception of the public art museum during the French Revolution, its development has depended on growth: on the expansion of collections, particularly to include works representing non-European cultures, and on the proliferation of art museums around the globe. Arguing that this expansionist project has peaked, he asserts that art museums must now find new ways of making high art relevant to contemporary lives.

978-0-8223-5429-1In the late nineteenth century, Japan’s new Meiji government established museums to showcase a national aesthetic heritage, spur industrialization and self-disciplined public behavior, and cultivate an “imperial public” loyal to the emperor. By the mid-1930s, the Japanese museum system had established or absorbed institutions in Taiwan, Korea, Sakhalin, and Manchuria. Unsurprisingly, colonial subjects’ views of Japanese imperialism differed from those promulgated by the Japanese state. In Public Properties Noriko Aso describes how museums in Japan and its empire contributed to the reimagining of state and society during the imperial era despite vigorous disagreements about what was to be displayed, how, and by whom it was to be seen.

 The New History in an Old Museum is an exploration of “historical truth” as presented at Colonial Williamsburg. More than a detailed history of a museum and tourist attraction, it examines the packaging of American history, and consumerism and the manufacturing of cultural beliefs. Through extensive fieldwork, Richard Handler and Eric Gable illustrate how corporate sensibility blends with pedagogical principle in Colonial Williamsburg to blur the lines between education and entertainment, patriotism and revisionism.

ddnka_31 Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art focuses on publishing critical work that examines contemporary African and African Diaspora art within the modernist and postmodernist experience and includes scholarly articles, reviews (exhibits and books), interviews, and roundtable discussions. In “Nka Roundtable III: Contemporary African Art and the Museum,” contributors examine the role of museums in bringing the work of African artists to the consciousness of the contemporary world. The topics covered include the participants’ first meaningful encounters with contemporary African art, the role of the curator of contemporary African art in the museum, and the age-old question about presenting contemporary African art in art and/or ethnology museums.

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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Interview with Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller

We recently sat down with new Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller to discuss his background, how he’d like to shape the journal in the future, and plans for upcoming special issues. To learn more about Ethnohistory, visit dukeupress.edu/ethnohistory.

How did you come to be co-editor of this journal?

ddeh_64_1Matthew Restall [former co-editor of Ethnohistory] is a colleague and friend of mine and when he had served the journal for almost 10 years, he asked me if I would be interested in taking over the position from him. I’ve been a long-time follower and sometime author in Ethnohistory. My work in early colonial Mexico and especially my work in Nahuatl was very close to the journal, so it was a fun opportunity.

How would you like to shape the journal in the future?

What I really want to do is continue to emphasize high quality work on the rest of the Americas. Ethnohistory always has had very strong pieces on British and French North America. For the last ten to fifteen years the journal has included increasingly important pieces on what we now consider Latin America and I want to continue that tradition. Many of the articles have come from Mesoamerica—that’s Mexico and Central America. We have published a little bit in South America and we now have a couple of articles in the queue focused on South America. I would like to expand the offerings for Mesoamerica and South America significantly, so we have a really great presence for both continents in the journal.

What are some under-researched areas that you hope to publish about in the future?

I think, in terms of the profession at large it may not be as underserved, but there are certainly a lot of native peoples of South America that have not been covered sufficiently. We’re only beginning to see some really good studies of some of the native peoples of South America, and I would love to see more ethnohistories of peoples from South America.

Do you have any plans for upcoming special issues?

We have two proposals for special issues right now. One deals with Nahuatl speaking people, and I’m very excited about that. It’s an outgrowth of a panel at the American Society for Ethnohistory meeting in Nashville [November 2016] in which we looked at language and cultural identity in modern Mexico. We had several native Nahuatl speakers who were part of the panel. The organizers of the panel have asked if Ethnohistory would be interested in looking at the papers and the presentations for a special issue and I’ve told them absolutely. If it comes to fruition, at least one or perhaps two of the shorter presentations will be in Nahuatl with English translations.

What are you looking for in submissions?

I’m excited about everything. I really want people to think of Ethnohistory as an important place for their work to appear if they work on native peoples of the Americas.

Obviously with the revolution in languages that we’ve had since the 1970s, many of us are very excited by documentation and works based on documentation in native languages. We need not be blind to the fact that there still are valid and important sources that are only Spanish, Portuguese, English, or French, that can also enlighten us as to the history of native peoples.

To learn more about the journal or to subscribe, visit dukeupress.edu/ethnohistory. To submit your work to the journal, review the submission guidelines.

World Anthropology Day

anthrodayToday is World Anthropology Day! Sponsored by the American Anthropological Association, it’s a day for anthropologists to celebrate the discipline while sharing it with the world around them. Join us in celebrating this invaluable field of study and the work that sustains it. We have many incisive anthropology titles to check out here. Some of our most recent and forthcoming include:

animate-planet-coverIn Animate Planet, Kath Weston addresses the emergence of a new animism in the context of food, energy, water, and climate to trace how new intimacies between humans, animals, and the environment are emerging as people attempt to understand how the high-tech ecologically damaged world they have made is remaking them. This title is also the most recent in our ANIMA series, edited by Mel Y. Chen and Jasbir K. Puar.

Shane Greene’s Punk and Revolution radically uproots punk from its place in Western culture to situate it as a crucial element in Peru’s culture of subversive militancy and political violence. Experimenting with form and content, Greene redefines how we think about punk subculture and revolutionary politics.

Aihwa Ong, in Fungible Life, traces the revolutionary scientific developments in Asia by investigating how biomedical centers in Biopolis, Singapore and China mobilize ethnicized “Asian” bodies and health data for genomic research.978-0-8223-6273-9

Alexander Laban Hinton’s Man or Monster? gives a detailed analysis of a former Khmer Rouge security center commandant who was convicted for overseeing the interrogation, torture, and execution of nearly 20,000 Cambodians. Interested in how someone becomes an executioner, Hinton provides numerous ways to consider justice, genocide, memory, truth, and humanity.

Finding biopolitics unable to adequately reveal the mechanisms of power that govern contemporary life, Elizabeth A. Povinelli offers “geontopower” as a new theory of power that operates through the regulation of clear distinctions between life and nonlife in her book Geontologies.

In Duress, Ann Laura Stoler maps how imperial formations and colonialism’s presence shape current inequities around the globe by examining Israel’s colonial practices, the United State’s imperial practices, the recent rise of the French right wing, and affect’s importance to governance.

978-0-8223-6203-6In Placing Outer Space, Lisa Messeri traces how planetary scientists—whether working in the Utah desert, a Chilean observatory, or the labs of MIT—transform celestial bodies into places in order to understand the universe as densely inhabited by planets, in turn telling us more about Earth, ourselves, and our place in the cosmos. Bonus: check out this and other titles in our Experimental Futures series.

In Encoding Race, Encoding Class, Sareeta Amrute explores the lives of Indian IT coders temporarily working in Berlin, showing how their cognitive labor reimagines race and class and how their acceptance and resistance to their work offers new potentials for alternative visions of living and working in neoliberal economies.

David McDermott Hughes, in Energy Without Conscience, investigates why climate change is not yet a moral issue by examining the history of energy use in Trinidad and Tobago. Drawing parallels between Trinidad’s history of slavery and its oil industry, Hughes shows how treating oil as “ordinary” prevents us from making the moral choice to abandreal pigson it.

Real Pigs, by Brad Weiss, traces the desire for creating “authentic” local foods in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina as he follows farmers, butchers, and chefs as they breed, raise, butcher, market, sell, and prepare their pasture-raised hogs for consumption.

Nikhil Anand’s Hydraulic City explores the politics of Mumbai’s water infrastructure to demonstrate how citizenship and the rights through which to make demands on the state for public services emerges through the relations between residents, plumbers, politicians, engineers, and the 3000 miles of pipe that bind them.

Check out the World Anthropology Day Facebook page to see if there are any events scheduled on your own campus. And don’t miss any of our new anthropology titles! Sign up here to be notified of new books, special discounts, and more.

Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge

saq_116_1Though the causes and effects of climate change pervade our everyday lives—the air we breathe, the food we eat, the objects we use—the way the discourse of climate change influences how we make meaning of ourselves and our world is still unexplored. Contributors to this special issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, “Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge,” bring diverse perspectives to the ways that climate change science and discourse have reshaped the contemporary architecture of knowledge itself: reconstituting intellectual disciplines and artistic practices, redrawing and dissolving boundaries, and reframing how knowledge is represented and disseminated.

The contributors address the emergence of global warming discourse in fields like history, journalism, anthropology, and the visual arts; the collaborative study of climate change between the human and material sciences; and the impact of climate change on forms of representation and dissemination in this new interdisciplinary landscape.

In “Environmental Activism across the Pacific,” this issue’s Against the Day section, contributors address forms of activism in which people seek to protect continuingly creative but ordinary life processes that conflict with imagined or emergent military bases, plantations, tourism infrastructures, and mines. From the introduction to the section:

It may be tempting to tell stories that focus only on the immensity and exceptionality of such contemporary ecological crises, but there are more stories to be told of the Pacific. The essays collected here not only reveal engagement with deeper trajectories of both violence and resistance, but also explore activism that maintains and constructs modes of life and relations of care among humans, the land, the ocean, and other beings.

Read the essays in this section, made freely available through July 2017.

Against the Day is a thematic section composed of short essays that engage topics of contemporary political importance. The title, “Against the Day,” is meant to highlight both the modes of activism and the specific occasion that the essays address.

New Books in February

Can you believe it’s already February? Our Spring 2017 season is in full swing. Check out these new books dropping this month:

misinterpellated-subject-coverIn The Misinterpellated SubjectJames R. Martel complicates Louis Althusser’s theory of interpellation, using historical and literary analyses ranging from the Haitian Revolution to Ta-Nehisi Coates to examine the political and revolutionary potential inherent in the instances when people heed the state’s call that was not meant for them.

Fans of literature and iconic literary theorist Slavoj Žižek shouldzizek-cover enjoy Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask ŽižekThis volume demonstrates the importance of Slavoj Žižek’s work to literary criticism and theory by showing how his practice of reading theory and literature can be used in numerous theoretical frameworks and applied to literature across historical periods, nationalities, and genres, creating new interpretations of familiar works.

dying-in-full-detail-coverIn analyses of digital death footage—from victims of police brutality to those who jump from the Golden Gate Bridge—Jennifer Malkowski’s Dying in Full Detail considers the immense changes digital technologies have introduced in the ability to record and display actual deaths—one of documentary’s most taboo and politically volatile subjects.

Mark Rifkin’s Beyond Settler Time disrupts settler temporalbeyond-settler-time-cover frameworks. Rifkin explores how Indigenous experiences with time and the dominance of settler colonial conceptions of temporality have affected Native peoplehood and sovereignty, thereby rethinking the very terms by which history is created and organized around time by.

magic-of-concepts-coverIn The Magic of ConceptsRebecca E. Karl interrogates the concept and practice of “the economic” as it was understood in China in the 1930s and the 1980s and 90s, showing how the use of Eurocentric philosophies, narratives, and conceptions of the economic that exist outside lived experiences fail to capture modern China’s complex history.

Kaushik Sunder Rajan, in his latest book Pharmocracyworks atpharmocracy-cover the confluence of politics and racial capitalism. He traces the structure and operation of what he calls pharmocracy—a concept explaining the global hegemony of the multinational pharmaceutical industry. He outlines pharmocracy’s logic in two case studies from contemporary India to demonstrate the stakes of its intersection with health, politics, democracy, and global capital.

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Native American Slavery and Genocide

ddeh_64_1The most recent issue of Ethnohistory, “Native American Slavery in the Seventeenth Century,” edited by Arne Bialuschewski, sheds new light on the role of Native American slavery in the development of colonial economies and in shaping the colonial world across cultural and political boundaries.

Though enslavement took various forms—from outright chattel to limited-term servitude—indigenous slavery was ubiquitous in the major colonial empires by the late seventeenth century. Focusing on five examples of Native American slavery in the early modern period, the contributors present important new frames for scholarship in this growing area of study. Articles address an early Spanish abolition campaign, buccaneers’ involvement in the enslavement of Maya groups, native slaves in the early plantation economy of Barbados, the enslavement of indigenous surrenderers after King Philip’s War, and the interactions between French explorers and indigenous slaves in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-5779-7The essay collection Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, edited by Alexander Laban Hinton, Andrew Woolford, and Jeff Benvenuto, expands the geographic, demographic, and analytic scope of the term genocide to encompass the effects of colonialism and settler colonialism in North America. Colonists made multiple and interconnected attempts to destroy Indigenous peoples as groups, and the contributors to this book examine these efforts through the lens of genocide.

Considering some of the most destructive aspects of the colonization and subsequent settlement of North America, several essays in the collection address Indigenous boarding school systems imposed by both the Canadian and U.S. governments in attempts to “civilize” or “assimilate” Indigenous children. Contributors examine some of the most egregious assaults on Indigenous peoples and the natural environment, including massacres, land appropriation, the spread of disease, the near-extinction of the buffalo, and forced political restructuring of Indigenous communities.

Assessing the record of these appalling events, the contributors maintain that North Americans must reckon with colonial and settler colonial attempts to annihilate Indigenous peoples.

Read more about Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America on the book’s webpage.

American Anthropological Association 2016

The weather in Minneapolis may have been a little chilly, but we had a great time meeting people, selling books and journals, and celebrating our authors at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

eben-kirksey

Eben Kirksey, author of Emergent Ecologies, with editorial director Ken Wissoker

Our authors won several awards for their books. Eben Kirksey’s Emergent Ecologies won the Diana Forsythe Prize, awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of Work and the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing.

John Collins won the Leeds Award in Urban Anthropology, awarded by the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology, for his book Revolt of the Saints.

Diane Nelson’s Who Counts? was the runner-up for the Gregory Bateson Prize by the Society for Cultural Anthropology, and Zoë Wool’s After War received honorable mention for the same prize.

James Ferguson won the Elliott P. Skinner Book Award, by the Association for Africanist Anthropology, for his book Give a Man a Fish.

Aimee Meredith Cox’s Shapeshifters won third place for the Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing, awarded by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. Gastón R. Gordillo’s Rubble and Liisa H. Malkki’s The Need to Help both received honorable mention for the same prize.

Kelly Ray Knight’s addicted.pregnant.poor received honorable mention for the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Eileen Basker Memorial Prize.

Congratulations to these outstanding authors!

receptionOn Friday we enjoyed a wine and cheese reception to celebrate the launch of our series Global Insecurities, edited by Catherine Besteman and Daniel M. Goldstein.

The series currently includes Besteman’s Making Refuge, Goldstein’s Owners of the SidewalkExiled Home by Susan Bibler Coutin, and Endangered City by Austin Zeiderman.

We were glad to see so many of our authors stop by the booth. We snapped several photos:

Not able to make it out this year? Are there a few more books you wish you would have grabbed? Don’t worry—you can use the coupon code AAA16 on our website through the end of the year to stock up on our great anthropology titles for 30% off.

Governor Jerry Brown, City Lights Bookstore, and a Bulgarian Adventure

Left Side of HistoryWelcome to the University Press Week blog tour! Today we offer a guest post on the power of indie bookstores by Kristen Ghodsee, author of The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (2015).

On May 23, 2016, I woke up in Helsinki to an email containing a voice to text transcript of a message from someone called “Kathy,” claiming to be based in the office of the governor of California.  I deleted the message.  It was election season and they were probably asking for money, I thought.  No one uses land lines unless they’re asking for money.

But the next message in my inbox was from my administrative coordinator back at Bowdoin College.  She forwarded me a message left on her voice mail from the same Kathy who stated that Jerry Brown “would like to speak with Professor Kristen Ghodsee.”  I did a quick Google search of Kathy’s full name, and found that she indeed worked in Sacramento for the governor’s office.

But why would the governor want to speak with me?  As a Californian and a product of two public universities in the Golden State, I wondered if this had something to do with projected changes to the UC system.  I grew up under Jerry Brown.  I was four years old in San Diego when he was first elected governor at the age of 36 in 1974.  He served as “Governor Moonbeam” until I was 13.  Many years later I was a doctoral student at Berkeley when he became the mayor of neighboring Oakland, but I had already relocated to Maine when he was sworn in for his third term as California governor in 2011, succeeding the “Governator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He was serving his fourth term 2016.

Soon after, I received a direct email from Kathy.  I told her I was on leave in Finland, (ten hours ahead of Pacific Standard time), and asked what this was about.  She wrote: “Hello and thank you for your reply. I believe he was hoping to chat with you about “To the Left of History.” Would a phone call be possible? And if yes, could you please provide some possible times when you might be available?”

city-lights

It turns out that Governor Brown hangs around the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and stumbled upon a copy of my book, The Left Side of History on a shelf there.  Intrigued by the title, he bought and read it and wanted to discuss the book with me.  Thus ensued a series of conversations that lasted for the next six weeks as Governor Brown and I corresponded by phone and email.  Once on a intercity train between Tampere and Helsinki, my mobile phone rang and I ended up having to sit in a cramped sound proof booth for an hour while the Governor and I discussed East European politics and his upcoming trip to Bulgaria.

Governor Brown would be traveling to the small Balkan country in early July with his wife and two friends.  He asked me to help arrange meetings for him in Sofia, but also if it would be possible for he and his wife to meet Elena Lagadinova, the 86-year-old protagonist of my book.  Lagadinova had been the youngest female partisan fighting against the Nazi-allied monarchy in Bulgaria during World War II.  My book was an attempt to recuperate the heroism of those who fought on the “left side of history:” mostly communist idealists who risked their lives to defeat fascism.

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And so it was on July 8th, that the sitting governor of California shared tea and cakes with Elena Lagadinova in Sofia, a meeting made possible through a healthy does of serendipity and the astounding power of university press books and independent bookstores to bring stories and people together despite the decades and oceans between them.

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Now that you’ve read this post, please continue on the University Press Week blog tour. Head to University of Texas Press for Q&A with their sales manager about visiting indie bookstores along the West Coast  this fall. The University of Chicago Press blog features a day in the life of sales rep Mical Moser. Cornell University Press spotlights Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca’s cooperatively owned community bookstore. University Press of Colorado looks back on the past year’s author events at their two local indies, Tattered Cover and Boulder Bookstore. NYU Press features a re-cap of the Brooklyn Book Festival. McGill Queens University Press offers an appreciation of Canada’s independent bookstores. University Press of Kentucky will be featuring fun, revealing Q&As with indie booksellers across the state. University Press of Kansas showcases  The Raven Bookstore and KU Bookstore, two local, independent shops that carry and promote their titles. And don’t miss a post from one of the U.S.’s best indie bookstores, the Seminary Co-op, where they’ll highlight what’s on their front table right now.

New Books In November

Our Fall season continues to bring in a bounty of smart, interesting, vital books.  Check out these new titles dropping in November:

978-0-8223-6286-9In the year of the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther founding, Robyn C. Spencer gives us The Revolution Has Come. In these pages Spencer traces the Black Panther Party’s organizational evolution in Oakland, California, examining how its internal politics along with external forces such as COINTELPRO shaped the Party’s efforts at fostering self-determination in Oakland’s black communities.

Now Peru is Mine is the account of the life of Manuel Llamojha Mitma, one of Peru’s most creative and inspiring indigenous political activists. His compelling life story covers nearly eight decades, providing a window into many key developments in Peru’s tumultuous twentieth-century history and political mobilization in Cold War Latin America.

978-0-8223-6235-7In Eating the Ocean, Elspeth Probyn moves away from a simplified food politics that is largely land-based and looks at food politics from an ocean-centric perspective by tracing the global movement of several marine species to explore the complex and entangled relationship between humans and fish.

Olufemi Vaughan, in Religion and the Making of Nigeria, examines how Christian, Muslim, and indigenous religious structures along with the legacies of British colonial rule have provided the essential social and ideological frameworks for the construction of contemporary Nigeria.

978-0-8223-6261-6Queer Cinema in the World offers a new theory of queer world cinema. Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt explore how queer cinema intersects with shifting ideals of global politics and cinema aesthetics to demonstrate its potential to disturb dominant modes of world-making and to forge spaces of queer belonging.

In the vein of hemispheric American studies, the contributors to New Countries examine how eight newly independent nations in the Western Hemisphere between 1750 and 1870 played fundamental roles in the global transformation from commercial to industrial capitalism.

We Dream Together is a thorough social and political history in which Anne Eller breaks with dominant narratives of the history of the Dominican Republic and its relationship with Haiti by tracing the complicated history of its independence between 1822 and 1865, thus showing how the Dominican Republic’s political roots are deeply entwined with Haiti’s.

978-0-8223-6244-9In Thinking Literature Across ContinentsRanjan Ghosh and J. Hillis Miller—two thinkers from different continents, cultures, training, and critical perspectives—debate and reflect upon what literature is, can be, and do in variety of contexts ranging from Victorian literature and Chinese literary criticism to Sanskrit Poetics and Continental philosophy.

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