Asian Studies

Poem of the Week

Bomb ChildrenIt’s currently National Poetry Month, so we are offering a poem each Monday throughout April. Today’s poem is from Leah Zani’s forthcoming book, Bomb Children. Joshua O. Reno, author of Waste Away: Working and Living with a North American Landfill says “Bomb Children is nothing short of breathtaking. Leah Zani presents little-known and incredibly important material on the everyday aftermath of the Secret War for the people of Laos. Her topic is not only ethnographically underexplored, but has been deliberately concealed by the U.S. government for decades. In Zani’s hands, fieldwork becomes a flexible toolkit, selectively and strategically deployed to grasp the object of military wasting in a revealing and ethically responsible way.”

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Leah Zani is a Junior Fellow in the Social Science Research Network at University of California, Irvine. Bomb Children will be published in August.

Our other highlighted poems can be read here.

Trans Day of Visibility

Today we’re honoring Trans Day of Visibility, an international holiday dedicated both to celebrating trans and gender-nonconforming people and to raising awareness of the discrimination they face.

We’re pleased to share the important work of trans studies scholars by highlighting these recent special issues of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. The introductions to each issue are freely available.

tsq_5_4_coverTrans*historicities

Leah DeVun and Zeb Tortorici, issue editors

This issue offers a theoretical and methodological imagining of what constitutes trans* before the advent of the terms that scholars generally look to for the formation of modern conceptions of gender, sex, and sexuality. What might we find if we look for trans* before trans*? While some historians have rejected the category of transgender to speak of experiences before the mid-twentieth century, others have laid claim to those living gender-non-conforming lives before our contemporary era. By using the concept of trans*historicity, this volume draws together trans* studies, historical inquiry, and queer temporality while also emphasizing the historical specificity and variability of gendered systems of embodiment in different time periods.

TSQ_5_3_coverTrans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans

Howard H. Chiang, Todd A. Henry, and Helen Hok-Sze Leung, issue editors

Since the late twentieth century, scholars and activists have begun to take stock of the deep histories and politically engaged nature of trans* cultures across the diverse societies of “Asia.” Much of this groundbreaking work has cautioned against immediate assumptions about the universality of transgender experiences, while heeding the significant influence of colonial histories, cultural imperialism, Cold War dynamics, economic integration, and migration practices in shaping local categories of queerness, discourses of rights, as well as the political, social, and medical management of gender variance and non-normative sexualities. This growing body of work on Asia joins trans* scholarship and activism across the world that has similarly sought to de-universalize and decolonize the category of “trans.”

TSQ_5_2_coverThe Surgery Issue

Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, issue editors

Trans* surgery has been an object of fantasy, derision, refusal, and triumph. Contributors to this issue explore the vital and contested place of surgical intervention in the making of trans* bodies, theories, and practices. For decades, clinicians considered a desire for reconstructive genital surgery to be the linchpin of the transsexual diagnosis. In the 1990s, new histories of trans* clinical practice challenged the institutional claim that transsexuals all wanted genital surgery, and trans* authors began to argue for their surgically altered bodies as sites of power rather than capitulation. Subsequent contestations of the medico-surgical framework helped mark the emergence of “transgender” as an alternative, more inclusive term for gender-nonconforming subjects who were sometimes less concerned with surgical intervention.

Contributors move beyond medical issue to engage “the surgical” in its many forms, exploring how trans* surgery has been construed and presented across different discursive forms and how these representations of trans* surgeries have helped and/or limited understanding of trans* identities and bodies and shaped the evolution of trans* politics.

Subscribe to TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly or sign up for email alerts so you can stay up to date on the latest issues.

New Books in March

Spring brings a fresh crop of new books. Check out what’s new in March.

The Politics of Operations, edited by Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, investigates how capital reshapes its relation with politics, showing how contemporary capitalism operates through the extraction of mineral resources, data, and cultures; the logistical organization of relations between people, property, and objects; and the penetration of financialization into all realms of economic life.

Zorach cover with border low resIn Art for People’s Sake Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how its artistic innovations, institution building, and community engagement helped the residents of Chicago’s South and West Sides respond to social, political, and economic marginalization.

Drawing on previously unexamined archives, the contributors to The Revolution from Within, edited by Michael Bustamante and Jessica Lambe, examine the Cuban Revolution from a Cuba-centric perspective by foregrounding the experience of everyday Cubans in analyses of topics ranging from agrarian reform and fashion to dance and the Mariel Boatlift.

978-1-4780-0380-9.jpgIn Hush Mack Hagood outlines how noise-cancelling headphones, tinnitus maskers, white noise machines, nature-sound mobile apps, and other forms of media give users the ability to create sonic safe spaces for themselves, showing how the desire to block certain sounds are informed by ideologies of race, gender, and class.

In Thought Crime Max Ward explores the Japanese state’s efforts to suppress political radicalism in the 1920s and 1930s through the enforcement of what it called thought crime, providing a window into understanding how modern states develop ideological apparatuses to subject their respective populations.

In Breaking Bad and Cinematic Television, Angelo Restivo uses the innovative show Breaking Bad as a point of departure for theorizing a new aesthetics of television in which the concept of the cinematic points to the ways in which television can change the ways viewers relate to and interact with the world.978-1-4780-0092-1.jpg

Examining the work of writers and artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Allan deSouza, in The Difference Aesthetics Makes Kandice Chuh advocates for what she calls “illiberal humanism” as a way to counter the Eurocentric liberal humanism that perpetuates structures of social inequality.

In Surrogate Humanity Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system that is entrenched in and reinforces racial capitalism and patriarchy.

In The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery Alys Eve Weinbaum investigates the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary capitalism, showing how black feminist thought offers the best means through which to understand the myriad ways slavery continues to haunt the present.

Eliza Steinbock’s Shimmering Images traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change, thereby opening up new means to understand transgender ontologies and epistemologies.

978-1-4780-0091-4.jpgGökçe Günel’s Spaceship in the Desert examines the development and construction of Masdar City, a zero-carbon city built by Abu Dhabi that houses a research institute for renewable energy which implemented a series of green technologies and infrastructures as a way to deal with climate change and prepare for a post-oil future.

In Developments in Russian Politics 9 an international team of experts provide a comprehensive and critical discussion of the country’s most recent developments, offering substantive coverage of the key areas in domestic and foreign Russian politics, perfect for courses on Russia today.

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The End of Area

The newest special issue of positions: asia critique, “The End of Area: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History,” edited by Gavin Walker and Naoki Sakai, is now available.

pos_27_1_coverAs the two universal forms of capitalism—the commodity and the nation-state—expand globally, and as technological innovation and cultural exchange challenge borders and national identities, traditional ideas of what constitutes “area” and “area studies” have become increasingly irrelevant. Yet despite critiques, area studies persists today, even as history renders it more and more obsolete.

Contributors to “The End of Area” explore what area studies can do when its object, “area,” detaches from the realm of geopolitics and enters also into the realm of biopolitics. This issue centers translation and the biopolitical as new theoretical mechanisms for area studies to order, combine, separate, and classify life.

Read the introduction, freely available, and browse the table of contents.

New Books in February

Got the winter blues? Cheer yourself up with one of the great new titles we have coming out in February.

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Chicano and Chicana Artan anthology edited by Jennifer Gonzalez, C. Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega, and Terezita Romowhich, includes essays from artists, curators, and critics who provide an overview of the history and theory of Chicano/a art from the 1960s to the present, emphasizing the debates and vocabularies that have played key roles in its conceptualization.

Bloodflowers by W. Ian Bourland is the first book-length examination the photography of  Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989), whose art is a touchstone for cultural debates surrounding questions of gender and queerness, race and diaspora, aesthetics and politics, and the enduring legacy of slavery and colonialism.

Jeffrey Sconce’s The Technical Delusion traces the history and continuing proliferation of psychological delusions that center on suspicions that electronic media seek to control us from the Enlightenment to the present, showing how such delusions illuminate the historical and intrinsic relationship between electronics, power, modernity, and insanity. Read an excerpt from The Technical Delusion in Bookforum.

Thomas Grisaffi’s Coca Yes, Cocaine No traces the political ascent and transformation of the Movement toward Socialism (MAS) from an agricultural union of coca growers into Bolivia’s ruling party, showing how the realities of international politics hindered MAS leader Evo Morales from scaling up the party’s form of grassroots democracy to the national level.

978-1-4780-0181-2In Second World, Second Sex Kristen Ghodsee recuperates the lost history of feminist activism from the so-called Second World, showing how women from state socialist Bulgaria and socialist-leaning Zambia created networks and alliances that challenged American women’s leadership of the global women’s movement.

The contributors to Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene, edited by Kregg Hetherington, chart the shifting conceptions of environment, infrastructure, and both human and nonhuman life in the face of widespread uncertainty about the planet’s future.

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In Jugaad Time Amit S. Rai shows how urban South Asians employ low-cost technological workarounds and hacks known as jugaad to solve problems, navigate, and resist India’s neoliberal ecologies.

In Surrealism at Play Susan Laxton writes a new history of surrealism in which she traces the centrality of play to the movement and its ongoing legacy, showing how its emphasis on chance provided the means to refashion artistic practice and everyday experience.

Jinah Kim’s Postcolonial Grief explores Asian and Asian American texts from 1945 to the present that mourn the loss of those killed by U.S. empire building and militarism in the Pacific, showing how the refusal to heal from imperial violence may help generate a transformative antiracist and decolonial politics.

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In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation David L. Eng and Shinhee Han draw on psychoanalytic case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore how first- and second-generation Asian American young adults deal with difficulties such as depression, suicide, and coming out within the larger social context of race, immigration, and sexuality.

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Call for Papers: Prism

artboard 1Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, edited by Zong-qi Cai and Yunte Huang, seeks contributions for the following upcoming themed issues:

  • “On Method,” edited by Carlos Rojas
  • “Theory and Chinese Literary Studies,” edited by Zong-qi Cai
  • “Sinophone/Xenophone Studies and Chinese Literature,” edited by David Der-wei Wang
  • “New Media and Chinese Literature,” edited by Yunte Huang

Prism presents cutting-edge research on modern literary production, dissemination, and reception in China and beyond. It also publishes works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. Prism actively promotes scholarly investigations from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, and it encourages integration of theoretical inquiry with empirical research. The journal strives to foster in-depth dialogues between Western and Chinese literary theories that illuminate both the unique features of each interlocutor and their shared insights into issues of universal interest. Prism is a new incarnation of the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC), founded in 1987 by the Centre for Humanities Research of Lingnan University of Hong Kong.

For submission guidelines and more information about the journal, please visit Prism’s website.

Networked Human, Network’s Human: Humans in Networks Inter-Asia

The most recent issue of East Asian Science, Technology and Society, “Networked Human, Network’s Human: Humans in Networks Inter-Asia,” edited by Connor Graham, Alfred Montoya, and Eric Kerr, is now available.

Read the issue, freely available until February 17, here.

coverimageThis special issue brings together scholars of technology and society in Asia to consider how specific information and communication technologies (ICTs) express and even transform what is considered human. The issue’s title provokes a question concerning not only the extent to which human beings are now networked via ICTs but also the extent to which network technologies configure and change human beings. It also considers the possibility that ICTs contribute to and may, in the future, challenge and infringe on the collective identity and self-awareness expressed by and often reserved for the category “human.”

Contributors examine state, collective, and individual engagements with particular ICTs in countries with both relatively high and low levels of ICT penetration. The essays aim to understand how different forms of humanness present in these contexts are shaped by the ways in which technological infrastructure expresses and intertwines with social and national orders and imaginations.

Three New Journal Partnerships for 2019

In 2019, Duke University Press will begin publishing three journals: Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, and the Illinois Journal of Mathematics. Read on to learn more about these new journal partnerships.

CaptureCritical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory is an open-access, online journal established by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs with the aim of foregrounding the global reach and form of contemporary critical theory. Its content is currently hosted here and will soon move to our website. Critical Times reflects on and facilitates forms of transnational solidarity that draw upon critical theory and political practice. It seeks to redress missed opportunities for critical dialogue between the global South and global North and to generate contacts across the current divisions of knowledge and languages in the South and across the peripheries. The journal publishes essays, interviews, dialogues, dispatches, visual art, and various other platforms for critical reflection that engage with social and political theory, literature, philosophy, art criticism, and other fields. It also publishes texts that shed light on contemporary practices of authoritarian and neo-fascist politics, nativist and atavistic cultural formations, economic exclusion, and forms of life where different, emancipatory social worlds might be imagined and articulated. The journal’s editors are Anuj Bhuwania, Judith Butler, Robin Celikates (Commissioning Editor), Rodrigo De La Fabián, Samera Esmeir (Commissioning Editor), Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Ramsey McGlazer, Juan Obarrio (Commissioning Editor), and Katharine Wallerstein.

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Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature presents cutting-edge research on modern literary production, dissemination, and reception in China and beyond. It also publishes works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. Prism actively promotes scholarly investigations from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, and it encourages integration of theoretical inquiry with empirical research. The journal strives to foster in-depth dialogues between Western and Chinese literary theories that illuminate both the unique features of each interlocutor and their shared insights into issues of universal interest. Prism is edited by Zong-qi Cai and Yunte Huang and is a new incarnation of Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC), founded in 1987 by the Centre for Humanities Research of Lingnan University.

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Founded in 1957, the Illinois Journal of Mathematics (IJM) featured in its inaugural volume the papers of many of the world’s leading mathematicians. Since then, IJM has published many influential papers, including the proof of the Four Color Conjecture, and continues to publish original research articles in all areas of mathematics. The quarterly journal is edited by Steven Bradlow and sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The editorial board comprises a mix of preeminent mathematicians from within its host department and across the mathematical research establishment. Learn more about this publishing partnership.

Check dukeupress.edu/journals for these journals, coming soon.

New Books in November

November is a huge book release month! Check out all the great new titles coming out this month. Many of them will be making their debuts at the academic conferences that are happening this month. Be sure to stop by our booths at the American Studies Association, the National Women’s Studies Association, the African Studies Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the American Anthropological Association, where you can pick up these and other titles for only $20 each.

In My Butch Career, Esther Newton—a pioneer figure in gay and lesbian studies—tells the compelling and disarming story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her lesbian identity during one of the worst periods of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century.

978-1-4780-0129-4Collective Creative Actions, edited by Ryan Dennis, highlights the twenty-five-year history of Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward by addressing the idea of social practice through its five pillars of art, education, social safety nets, architectural preservation, and sustainability.

In How Art Can Be Thought Allan deSouza examines the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught, showing how pedagogical language and practices within art schools can adapt to a politicized and rapidly changing world, as well as to the demands of contemporary art within a global industry.978-1-4780-0047-1

More than fifty years after the publication of C. L. R. James’s classic Beyond a Boundary, the contributors to Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricketedited by David Featherstone, Christopher Gair, Christian Høgsbjerg, and Andrew Smith, investigate its production and reception and its implication for debates about sports, gender, aesthetics, race, popular culture, politics, imperialism, and Caribbean and English identity.

978-1-4780-0022-8.jpgFeaturing work spanning six decades, Robert Christgau’s Is It Still Good to Ya? sums up the career of legendary rock critic and longtime Village Voice stalwart Robert Christgau, whose album and concert reviews, essays, and reflections on his career tackle the whole of pop music, from Louis Armstrong to M.I.A..

In Best Practice, Kimberly Chong offers a rich ethnographic account of how a global management consultantcy translates and implements the logic of financialization in contemporary China.

Dai Jinhua’s After the Post–Cold War interrogates history, memory, and the future of China as a global economic power in relation to its Cold War past to show how the recent erasure of the country’s socialist history signifies socialism’s failure and forecloses the imagining of a future beyond that of globalized capitalism.

In After Ethnos, Tobias Rees proposes an understanding of anthropology as a philosophically and poetically oriented and fieldwork-based investigation into the human and human thought rather than a study of culture or society in which anthropology is synonymous with ethnography and fieldwork.978-1-4780-0035-8.jpg

In Unruly Visions, Gayatri Gopinath traces the interrelation of affect, aesthetics, and diaspora through an exploration of a wide range of contemporary queer visual cultural forms by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza.

In None Like Us Stephen Best offers a bold reappraisal of the critical assumptions that undergird black studies’ use of the slave past as an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, thereby opening the circuits between past and present and charting a queer future for black study.

In An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

978-1-4780-0291-8Drawing on numerous examples from popular culture, in Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multi-media platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns, showing how feminism is often met with a backlash of harassment, assault, and institutional neglect.

Aren Z. Aizura’s Mobile Subjects examines transgender narratives about traveling for gender reassignment from 1952 to the present, showing how transgender fantasies about reinvention and mobility are racialized as white and often rely on violent colonial global divisions.

Through global case studies that explore biometric identification, border control, forensics, militarized policing, and counterterrorism, the contributors to Bodies as Evidence, edited by Mark Maguire, Ursula Rao, and Nils Zurawskishow how bodies have become critical sources of evidence that is organized and deployed to classify, recognize, and manage human life.

978-1-4780-0153-9.jpgIn Plan Colombia John Lindsay-Poland examines a 2005 massacre in Colombia, its subsequent investigation, official cover-up, and the international community’s response to outline how the U.S. military’s support for the Colombian Army contributed to atrocities while shaping the United States’s dominant model of military intervention.

Melissa Gregg’s Counterproductive explores the obsession with using productivity as the primary measure of most workers’ sense of value and success in the workplace, showing how it isolates workers from each other while erasing their collective efforts to define work limits.

Drawing on indigenous social movements and politics, contributors to A World of Many Worlds, edited by Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, question Western epistemologies, theorize new forms of knowledge production, and critique the presumed divide between nature and culture—all in service of creating a pluriverse: a cosmos composed of many worlds partially connected through divergent political practices.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

 

Science and Literature in North and South Korea

coverimageThe most recent issue of the Journal of Korean Studies, “Science and Literature in North and South Korea,” edited by Christopher P. Hanscom and Dafna Zur, is now available.

This issue offers a groundbreaking framework for approaching the multilayered relations between literature and science both in Korea and in other sites in the modern world. Paying particular attention to the ways in which literature and science share a linguistic medium, the nine articles that comprise this special issue show how literature and science interconnect as modes of understanding and perceiving the world. This issue is a must-read not only for specialists in modern Korean literature but also for scholars of modern Korea working across all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

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