Asian Studies

New Books in April

April showers bring plenty of opportunities to curl up inside with a new book. Check out the great new titles we have coming out this month!

Focusing on the figure of the puta—the whore, that phantasmatic figure of Latinized feminine sexual excess—Juana María Rodríguez probes the ways that sexual labor and Latina sexuality become visual phenomena in Puta Life.

Zeynep K. Korkman examines Turkey’s commercial fortune-telling cafes where secular Muslim women and LGBTIQ individuals can navigate the precarities of twenty-first-century life in Gendered Fortunes.

Bishnupriya Ghosh explores the media practices that inscribe and transmit data about infectious diseases and shape how we live with perpetual pandemics in The Virus Touch.

Claudia Calirman examines sixty years of visual art by prominent and emerging Brazilian women artists from the 1960s to the present who use gender politics to fight social inequalities, discrimination, structures of power, and state violence in Dissident Practices. If you’re in New York City, you can see artwork related to the book at a new show Calirman has curated at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery. It will be on display from April 19-June 16.

The contributors to Biopolitics, Geopolitics, Life, edited by René Dietrich and Kerstin Knopf, investigate biopolitics and geopolitics as two distinct yet entangled techniques of settler colonial states across the globe, contending that Indigenous life and practices cannot be contained and defined by the racialization and dispossession of settler colonialism.

In Mendings, Megan Sweeney tells an intimate story about family, selfhood, and love and loss, showing how her lifetime practice of sewing and mending clothes becomes a way of living.

In The Queer Art of History, Jennifer V. Evans examines postwar and contemporary German history to broadly argue for a queer history that moves beyond bounded concepts and narratives of identity, showing how an analytic of kinship more fully illuminates the work of solidarity and intersectional organizing across difference.

Lisa Mitchell explores the historical and contemporary methods of collective assembly that people in India use to hold elected officials and government administrators accountable in Hailing the State.

In The Autocratic Academy, Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn outlines the history of American higher education’s formal organization as an incorporated autocracy that is tied to capitalism, arguing that the academy must reconstitute itself in accordance with the principles of democratic republicanism in which members choose who govern and can hold them accountable.

Timothy D. Taylor offers a behind-the-scenes look at the working composers, musicians, and engineers who create soundtracks for film, television, and video games in Working Musicians.

In A Vital Frontier, Andrea Muehlebach examines the work of activists across Europe as they organize to preserve water as a commons and public good in the face of privatization. 

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Legal Personhood of Rivers and the Failure of Imagination: A World Water Day Guest Post by Naveeda Khan

On March 4, I woke up to an urgent message from Avaaz in my email asking me to join the global effort to protect the Earth’s rivers.  An image of a polluted river with denuded sides crowded with people trying to bathe or to pan (it was unclear which) graced their petition.  This could be any water body anywhere.  Yet, I have argued for paying attention to the specificity of types of water bodies in my scholarly work, thinking to militate against the tendency to dissolve all to water within the framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), the reigning policy paradigm.  It matters whether water comes in a plastic container or from a tube-well.  It matters what type of a river it is, say, braided or meandering.  Entirely different sets of experiences, practices, policies, problems spring to mind with each.

978-1-4780-1939-8My intuition is served by the recent spate of efforts to give personhood to rivers as distinct from other water bodies.  New Zealand’s Whanganui, United States’ Klamath, Colombia’s Amazon, Canada’s Magpie are all rivers which have had personhood given to them. The western legal concept of a person with rights and responsibilities has been tasked to express varying Indigenous notions of the river, from embodying ancestors to aspects of Mother Earth.  Whereas the notion of personhood has been used to much pernicious effect, such as in the granting of personhood to corporations, invariably the effort to extend personhood to rivers is to protect them, say from mining or damming or to secure them for eco-tourism, the latter bringing with it its own issues and concerns.

Even if such legal claims are yet to be tested and the protective, redemptive measures that unfold from them yet to be borne out in practice, the granting of personhood to rivers seems a positive development.  It helps express in however awkward a fashion a range of relations to rivers beyond thinking of them as “ecological service infrastructures” and provides a conceptual bridge for the imagination to take flight to explore other possible relations to rivers than the ones to which one is accustomed.  It raises the question for me: by means of this legal claim, what experiences and possibilities present themselves to people who have otherwise very instrumentalist relations to rivers?  Can we reimagine our relation to rivers?

As I explore in my recent book on the Jamuna River in Bangladesh, the river expresses itself in myriad ways among those who live alongside it.  While writing my book, I was hard pressed to find elaborate cosmologies with respect to the river.  Inspired by these recent moves to grant personhood to rivers, I turned to newspaper reportage on rivers in Bangladesh to see how these moves had registered within the Bangladeshi imagination.  The English national daily, the Daily Star, known for its consistent focus on the plight of rivers in Bangladesh, records the appalling state of the many rivers of Bangladesh (the Government of Bangladesh portal records 800).  The articles point to visual evidence and studies to show how rivers are being filled in to create roads and build factories and how their waters are becoming toxic due to chemical, industrial and household wastes.  Some are more forthright in saying that Bangladesh rivers are dying; in fact, 29 are considered biologically dead, unable to support life, possibly asphyxiating.

Among the causes for this crisis in the rivers of Bangladesh are infrastructural tendencies towards river training and the creation of embankments left over from British colonial times.  Other articles point to unfair water arrangements with India, notably the Farraka and Gajoldoba Barrages that caused the decline of the Padma and Teesta Rivers in Bangladesh.  In a grimly amusing interview with Saber Hossain Chowdhury, head of the parliamentary committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change, he recounted “they [the industry’s ministry] make the same excuses each time, massive employment and earning of foreign currencies are involved with the tannery industry and a shutdown will have a negative impact,” followed by “We have asked the environment ministry to take measures to sever electricity connection to the respective industrial units upon their failure to act on the directives” (“Slow Death of the Dhaleswari”  Daily Star July 18, 2022).  And in a clear recognition that the forces that spell the death of rivers are the very same forces that seek to capture all resources in Bangladesh, another article specifies that names of encroachers on rivers be put on lists to prevent them from running for office, getting bank loans or even leaving the country (“Protecting Rights of Rivers: Turning Intentions into Action, Nov 20, 2020).

Such, then, is the context within which the Bangladesh High Court conferred legal personhood upon the Turag River in February 2019 and by extension all rivers in Bangladesh.  Writing in October 2021, Suraya Ferdous explains the history of the concept of environmental personhood to Daily Star readers, tracing it back from Dr. Christopher Stone’s 1972 book Should Trees Have Standing?, to the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court Decision on behalf of natural entities, and to Ecuador’s enshrinement of the rights of Pachamamma (Mother Earth) in 2007 and Bolivia’s “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth” (“The Idea of ‘Environmental Personhood’ with Reference to River” Daily Star, Oct 16, 2021).  The author notes that the important shift is in perception, from anthropocentricism that upholds natural entities as mere resources for human use, to considering that entities have their own rights to shield themselves from human exploitation. “Legal personhood entitles a river to sue, to utilise compensation for its own wholesomeness, to have a say in multipurpose projects and to have a right in rem not to be affected adversely” (ibid).  The National River Conservation Commission (NRCC), created in 2014, was granted guardianship of the Turag.  Given the parlous state of law and order in Bangladesh it should not surprise that the NRCC’s efforts to publicize the names of encroachers on rivers are equal parts heroic and pusillanimous for quickly shelving any further actions against them.

What is interesting in the case of Bangladesh extending the rights of personhood to rivers is what transfers from the most capacious understanding of the notion of personhood of rivers.  This is another way of asking: what experiences and possibilities present themselves to people who have otherwise very instrumentalist relations to rivers?  Can we reimagine our relation to rivers?  In the case of say the Whangaui River in New Zealand, it is seen as continuous with the Maori social body—any harm to it is harm to Maoris. Meanwhile, rivers in Bangladesh are granted a more limited set of rights that stops shy of treating them as persons.  Rather, they are in the stated custody of persons whose practical action is to protect the rivers, again not for the rivers’ own sake but for the sake of the general good.  This fits within the normative Muslim perspective, in which nature is given to humans for their use but also to be safeguarded as God’s creation against human excesses (Bangladesh is majority Muslim).  Here too is an unstated reference to Hindu-Muslim relations in these parts through the implicit concern with associating humans with non-humans or rendering non-humans humanlike.  What is worrying for me in this question of what transfers or doesn’t transfer is the continued occlusion of those bodies which may put themselves with rivers along a continuum of personhood.  Indigenous populations or Adivasis in Bangladesh have long maintained relations with sacred groves, mountains and water bodies.  They have also long suffered violence and dispossession of their ancestral lands.  While personhood for rivers may enter the Bangladesh imagination through the route of international legal actions, it is dispiriting to find that it does not spur inquiry into Indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, as if they have nothing to add on the matter or insights, experiences, or even critiques.  In the event marking the launch of the bilingual translation of the above-mentioned High Court judgment in English and Bengali (“Protecting Rights of Rivers: Turning Intentions into Action, Nov 20, 2020), we hear from students of geography and law, various high-ranking officials of the Bangladesh Government, the senior editor of the Daily Star, lawyers, environmental activists associated with Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), and members of the NRCC. The usual faces, the usual voices, join in an undoubtedly noble struggle to keep alive rivers in Bangladesh, but offer no new possibilities for re-imagining our relations to rivers.

thumbnail_image001Naveeda Khan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University and author of Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan and the new book River Life and the Uprising of Nature. Save 50% on both books, now through April 17, with coupon code SPRING23.

The Weekly Read

The Weekly Read for March 18, 2023, is Tong Yan Gaai: A North American Chinatown Vernacular, a conversation between critic Brandon Leung and photographer Morris Lum, appearing in Trans Asia Photography, Volume 12, Issue 2.

“For more than a decade, the Toronto-based artist Morris Lum has been photographing Chinatowns throughout North America in his series Tong Yan Gaai. Since 2012 the Trinidad-born photographer has searched for clusters of Chinatown communities built across Canada and the United States for the purpose of settlement and growth. Using a large-format camera, he has documented Chinatowns in Victoria, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston, with the aims of focusing on and directing attention to the functionality of Chinatowns, exploring the generational context of how “Chinese” identity is expressed in these structural enclaves, and recording the rapid architectural and economic changes that communities have been facing”.

Image 1: Golden Happiness Plaze, Calgary, 2015.
Image 2: Lao Tsu Mural, Vancouver, 2013.
Image 3: Fresh Egg Mart, Vancouver, 2017.
All images © Morris Lum. Used with permission.

Read this article, and the full issue of Trans Asia Photography, for free!

Trans Asia Photography is an international refereed open-access journal based at the University of Toronto. It provides a venue for the interdisciplinary exploration of photography and Asia. The journal examines all aspects of photographic history, theory and practice by centering images in or of Asia, conceived here as a territory, network, and cultural imaginary.

The Weekly Read is a weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

The Journal of Asian Studies is now available

We are pleased to present the first issue of the Journal of Asian Studies published by Duke University Press!

Volume 82, Number 1 is now online and paywall free, for a limited time, along with ALL back content since 1941!

Since its founding in 1941, the Journal of Asian Studies has been recognized as the most authoritative and prestigious publication in the field of Asian studies. The journal publishes the very best empirical and multidisciplinary work on Asia, spanning the arts, history, literature, the social sciences, and cultural studies. Experts around the world turn to the journal for the latest in-depth scholarship on Asia’s past and present, for its extensive book reviews, and for its state-of-the-field essays on established and emerging topics. With coverage reaching from South and Southeast Asia to China, Inner Asia, and Northeast Asia, the Journal of Asian Studies welcomes broad comparative and transnational studies as well as essays emanating from fine-grained historical, cultural, political, or literary research and interpretation.

The journal is edited by Joseph Alter (University of Pittsburgh, USA), who shares in the issue’s Editorial Foreword, “Changing publishers is an opportunity to reflect on the past, take critical stock of the present, and anticipate future directions in the field. I look forward to the many ways in which this new partnership will allow the journal to build creatively and imaginatively on the foundation of academic excellence established over the preceding seventy years by a community of scholars dedicated to the mission of the Association for Asian Studies.”

A New Look

“To commemorate the journal’s transition to DUP, I worked closely with the editorial office to create a new cover that would convey that this is a journal anchored in a tradition of scholarship but also oriented toward the future,” said Heather Hensley, Duke University Press Journals Designer. “The newly designed Journal of Asian Studies cover incorporates bold typography and colors supported by four rotating background textures. These textures each represent the four area groupings of the book reviews: China and Inner Asia, Northeast Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.”

“We are excited to collaborate with the Association for Asian Studies to publish the Journal of Asian Studies, which is an excellent addition to our strong list of books and journals in Asian studies. The Press will provide strong publishing services, partnership management, and a history of growing and sustaining journals. Our partnership with AAS will benefit both the Association and the Press—two mission-driven organizations,” said Rob Dilworth, Duke University Press Journals Director.

The Journal of Asian Studies joins Duke University Press’s list of Asian studies journals, which includes Archives of Asian ArtComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture; the Journal of Korean Studiespositions: asia critiquePrism: Theory and Modern Chinese LiteratureSungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies; and Trans Asia Photography.

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The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) offers membership to individuals (students, professors, independent scholars, and anyone interested in the study of Asia). Memberships are managed by the AAS and include subscriptions to the Journal of Asian StudiesJoin or renew at


Logo for the Association for Asian Studies

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is a scholarly, nonpolitical, nonprofit professional association open to anyone interested in Asia and the study of Asia. With approximately 5,500 members worldwide, representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, the AAS is the largest organization of its kind.

Duke University Press is a nonprofit scholarly publisher with a focus on the humanities, the social sciences, and mathematics. The Press publishes approximately 140 books annually and around 60 journals, as well as offering several electronic collections and open-access publishing initiatives.

New Books in February

Stay warm and comfy this February by curling up with a good book. Take a look at our many new titles coming out this month!

Cover of Death's Futility: The Visual Life of Black Power by Sampada Aranke. Cover is a series of black and gray lines which resemble TV static that form the image of an upturned face through shadows.

In Death’s Futurity, Sampada Aranke analyzes posters, photographs, journalism, and films that focus on the murders of three Black Panther Party members to examine the importance of representations of death to Black liberation.

Lucia Hulsether explores twentieth and twenty-first century movements from fair trade initiatives and microfinance programs to venture fund pledges to invest in racial equity, showing how these movements fail to achieve their goals in Capitalist Humanitarianism.

In Between Banat, Mejdulene Bernard Shomali examines homoeroticism and nonnormative sexualities between Arab women in transnational Arab literature, art, and film to show how women, femmes, and nonbinary people disrupt stereotypical and Orientalist representations of the “Arab woman.”

In Kids on the Street Joseph Plaster explores the informal support networks that enabled abandoned and runaway queer youth to survive in tenderloin districts across the United States. 

In Unkowing and the Everyday, Seema Golestaneh examines how Sufi mystical experience in Iran and the idea of unknowing—the idea that it is ultimately impossible to fully understand the divine—shapes contemporary life.

Cover of Rising Up, Living On: Re-Existences, Sowings, and Decolonial Cracks by Catherine E. Walsh. The cover has a tan textured background with an outline of a person with their arms up in a triangle and colorful plants/animals inside. Yellow subtitle runs along the left leg of the figure. All other text are block letters. The title is split between the top left and mid-right and the author name in the bottom left.

Catherine E. Walsh examines social struggles for survival in societies deeply marked by the systemic violence of coloniality to identify practices that may cultivate the possibility of living otherwise in Rising Up, Living On.

The contributors to Eating beside Ourselves, edited by Heather Paxson, examine eating as a site of transfer and transformation that create thresholds for human and nonhuman relations.

Drawing on memoir, creative writing, theoretical analysis, and ethnography in Santo Domingo, Havana, and New Jersey, Carlos Ulises Decena examines transnational black Caribbean immigrant queer life and spirit in Circuits of the Sacred.

The contributors to Sovereignty Unhinged, edited by Deborah A. Thomas and Joseph Masco, theorize sovereignty beyond the typical understandings of action, control, and the nation-state, considering it from the perspective of how it is lived and enacted in everyday practice and how it reflects people’s aspirations for new futures.

Cover of Spirit in the Land edited by Trevor Schoonmaker. Cover features a painting of a house on stilts in a tropical swamp, surrounded by trees. Over the house rises the green spirit of a giant woman holding a baby surrounded by flowers. The sky is yellow and contains abstract images. The title information is on a green strip on the left side of the cover.

Spirit in the Land, edited by Trevor Schoonmaker, accompanies the art exhibition of the same name at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The exhibition, which runs February 16 to July 9, examines today’s urgent ecological concerns from a cultural perspective, demonstrating how intricately our identities and natural environments are intertwined.

When Forests Run Amok by Daniel Ruiz-Serna follows the afterlives of war, showing how they affect the variety of human and nonhuman beings that compose the region of Bajo Atrato: the traditional land of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples.

In Letterpress Revolution, Kathy E. Ferguson explores the importance of anarchist letterpress printers and presses, whose printed materials galvanized anarchist movements across the United States and Great Britain from the late nineteenth century to 1940s.

Examining the 2002 pogrom in which Hindu mobs attached Muslims in the west Indian state of Gujuarat, Moyukh Chatterjee examines how political violence against minorities catalyzes radical changes in law, public culture, and power in Composing Violence.

In The Briny South Nienke Boer examines the legal and literary narratives of enslaved, indentured, and imprisoned individuals crossing the Indian Ocean to analyze the formation of racialized identities in the imperial world. 

In Crip Colony, Sony Coráñez Bolton examines the racial politics of disability, mestizaje, and sexuality in the Philippines, showing how heteronormative, able-bodied, and able-minded mixed-race Filipinos offered a model and path for assimilation into the US empire.

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New Books in January

New year, new books! Check out the great new titles we have coming out in January:

Cover of Wake Up, This is Joburg. The entire cover is a photograph of a Black woman on a street. She stands next to a red traffic light and behind her are a skyscraper and other people. The title is in bright yellow on top of the photo and in the upper left corner is the text Photographs by Mark Lewis, Words by Tanya Zack.

In Wake Up, This Is Joburg, writer Tanya Zack and photographer Mark Lewis offer a stunning portrait of Johannesburg and personal stories of its residents, showing how its urban transformation occurs not in a series of dramatic, widescale changes but in the everyday lives, actions, and dreams of individuals.

Chérie N. Rivers shows how colonial systems of normalized violence condition the way we see and, through collaboration with contemporary Congolese artists, imagines ways we might learn to see differently in To Be Nsala’s Daughter.

In Code, Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan traces the shared intellectual and political history of computer scientists, cyberneticists, anthropologists, linguists, and theorists across the humanities as they developed a communication and computational-based theory that grasped culture and society in terms of codes.

Cover of Bad Education: Why Queer Theory Teaches Us Nothing by Lee Edelman. Cover is bright yellow with lettering in red and black and features an image of a marionette in black professor's garb, holding a pointer.

Lee Edelman offers a sweeping theorization of queerness as one of the many names for the void around and against which the social order takes shape in Bad Education.

Jennifer Lynn Kelly explores the significance of contemporary solidarity tourism in Palestine/Israel in Invited to Witness, showing how such tourism functions both as political strategy and emergent industry.

In River Life and the Upspring of Nature, Naveeda Khan examines the relationship between nature and culture through the study of the everyday existence of chauras, the people who live on the chars (sandbars) within the Jamuna River in Bangladesh.

Drawing on fieldwork in a Chinese toxicology lab that studies the influence of toxins on male reproductive and developmental health, Janelle Lamoreaux investigates how epigenetic research conceptualizes and configures environments in Infertile Environments.

Cover of On Learning to Heal or, What Medicine Doesn't Know by Ed Cohen. The cover is a mint rectangle with a white border. The title is in brown in the center with the word Heal in read. The subtitle lies below and a horizontal line separates the subtitle from the author's name (in captial brown text). At the bottom-center of the page, lies a red snake around a pole.

In On Learning to Heal, Ed Cohen draws on his experience living with Crohn’s disease—a chronic, incurable condition that nearly killed him—to explore how modern Western medicine’s turn from an “art of healing” toward a “science of medicine” impacts all whose lives are touched by illness.

Joseph C. Russo takes readers into the everyday lives of the rural residents of southeast Texas in Hard Luck and Heavy Rain, showing how their hard-luck stories render the region a mythopoetic landscape that epitomizes the impasse of American late capitalism.

Josen Masangkay Diaz interrogates the distinct forms of Filipino American subjectivity that materialized from the relationship between the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and Cold War US anticommunism in Postcolonial Configurations.

In The Spectacular Generic, Cori Hayden explores how consumer access to generic drugs has transformed public health care and the politics of pharmaceuticals in the global South.

Cover of The Specter of Materialism: Queer Theory and Marxism in the Age of the Beijing Consensus by Petrus Liu. Cover is of an abstract creature sitting with its legs folded under it, its left hand raised with a trail of items falling from its wrist. The creature is a collage resembling magazine cutouts. Its head is oddly shaped with large eyes and lips, and a large detached hand adorned with rings rests atop it.

Petrus Liu challenges key premises of classic queer theory and Marxism in The Specter of Materialism, turning to an analysis of the Beijing Consensus—global capitalism’s latest mutation—to develop a new theory of the political economy of sexuality.

In Uncomfortable Television, Hunter Hargraves examines how postmillennial television made its audiences find pleasure through discomfort, showing that televisual unease trains audiences to survive under late capitalism, which demands that individuals accept a certain amount of discomfort, dread, and irritation into their everyday lives.

Lara Langer Cohen excavates the long history of the underground in nineteenth-century US literature in Going Underground, showing how these formations of the underground can inspire new forms of political resistance.

Cover of Vanishing Sands: Losing Beaches to Mining by Orrin H. Pilkey, Norma J. Longo, William J. Neal, Nelson G. Rangel-Buitrago, Keith C. Pilkey, and Hannah L. Hayes. Cover is a photograph of a mining site from an aerial view featuring haul trucks, gray sand dunes, and a turquoise pond.

Travelling from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean to South America and the eastern United States, the authors of Vanishing Sands, Orrin H. Pilkey, Norma J. Longo, William J. Neal, Nelson G. Rangel-Buitrago, Keith C. Pilkey, and Hannah L. Hayes, track the devastating environmental, social, and economic impact of legal and illegal sand mining over the past twenty years.

Vincanne Adams takes the complex chemical glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup and a pervasive agricultural herbicide—to explore the formation of contested knowledge in Glyphosate and the Swirl.

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New Books in December

As the weather cools and the holiday season approaches, treat yourself to one of our great new December titles!

Cover of On Paradox: The Claims of Theory by Elizabeth S. Anker. Cover features the title in large all-caps blue font against a plain white background.

In On Paradox, Elizabeth S. Anker contends that the faith in the logic of paradox has been the watermark of left intellectualism since the second half of the twentieth century, showing how paradox generates the very exclusions it critiques and undercuts theory’s commitment to social justice.

Piro Rexhepi explores the overlapping postsocialist and postcolonial border regimes in the Balkans that are designed to protect whiteness and exclude Muslim, Roma, and migrant communities in White Enclosures.

The contributors to Turning Archival, edited by Daniel Marshall and Zeb Tortorici, trace the rise of “the archive” as an object of historical desire and study within queer studies and examine how it fosters historical imagination and knowledge.

In Feltness, Stephanie Springgay considers socially engaged art as a practice of research-creation that germinates a radical pedagogy she calls feltness—a set of intimate practices of creating art based on touch, affect, relationality, love, and responsibility.

Cover of Ain't But a Few of Us: Black Music Writiers Tell Their Stories by Willard Jenkins. Cover features pink spotted border on left with purple background to the right. Various sized rectangles across the center feature pictures of hands, somone writing, and instruments. Orange subtitle is bottom-right of images, white title is above, and word US in captial pink. Author's name is below-right images in yellow.

Ain’t But a Few of Us, edited by Willard Jenkins, presents over two dozen candid dialogues with Black jazz critics and journalists who discuss the barriers to access for Black jazz critics and how they contend with the world of jazz writing dominated by white men.

In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa, Rhiannon Stephens offers a conceptual history of how people living in eastern Uganda have sustained and changed their ways of thinking about wealth and poverty over the past two thousand years.

Examining a wide range of photography from across the global South, the contributors to Cold War Camera, edited by Thy Phu, Erina Duganne, and Andrea Noble, explore the visual mediation of the Cold War, illuminating how photography shaped how it was prosecuted and experienced.

In Memory Construction and the Politics of Time in Neoliberal South Korea, Namhee Lee explores how social memory and neoliberal governance in post-1987 South Korea have disavowed the revolutionary politics of the past.

Cover of New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair by Jasmine Nichole Cobb. Cover is red with black and white lettering and features a historical picture of a Black woman in a low-cut dress in the middle. Where her hair would be is a collection of black brush strokes so that she looks like she is wearing a large wig or hat. Underneath her image, upside down, text reads "the strange sit-in that changed a city."

Through close readings of slave narratives, scrapbooks, travel illustration, documentary film and photography, as well as collage, craft, and sculpture, Jasmine Nichole Cobb explores Black hair as a visual material through which to reimagine the sensual experience of Blackness in New Growth.

The contributors to New World Orderings, edited by Lisa Rofel and Carlos Rojas, demonstrate that China’s twenty-first-century rise occurs not only through economics and state politics, but equally through its relationships and interactions with the Global South.

Focusing on his personal day to day experiences of the “shelter-in-place” period during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, Alberto Moreiras offers a meditation on intellectual life and the nature of thought under the suspension of time and conditions of isolation in Uncanny Rest.

Cover of Ruderal City: Ecologies of Migration, Race, and Urban Nature in Berlin by Bettina Stoetzer. Cover is a photograph focused on a small patch of a yellow flower bush. In the background past the bush is an out of focus bridge with a yellow train on it. The sky is blue.

In Ruderal City, Bettina Stoetzer traces the more-than-human relationships between people, plants, and animals in contemporary Berlin, showing how Berlin’s “urban nature” becomes a key site in which notions of citizenship and belonging as well as racialized, gendered, and classed inequalities become apparent.

Veit Erlmann examines the role of copyright law in post-apartheid South Africa and its impact on the South African music industry in Lion’s Share, showing how copyright is inextricably entwined with race, popular music, postcolonial governance, indigenous rights, and the struggle to create a more equitable society.

Rumya Sree Putcha uses the figure of the Indian classical dancer to explore the complex dynamics of contemporary transnational Indian womanhood in The Dancer′s Voice.

In Feminism in Coalition Liza Taylor examines how U.S. women of color feminists’ coalitional collective politics of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s is an indispensable resource to contemporary political theory, feminist studies, and intersectional social justice activism.

Cover of Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment by Hi'ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart. White title centered and transparent with "the" centered left and transparent white subtitle to the right. Background features a blue tinged picture of girl eating ice cream in front of light blue, purple, pink, and orange/yellow blended background. Author name in all caps in blue along bottom.

Hiʻilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart charts the social history of ice in Hawaiʻi in Cooling the Tropics, showing how ice and refrigeration underpinned settler colonial ideas about race, environment, and the senses.

The contributors to Siting Postcoloniality, edited by Pheng Cheah and Caroline S. Hau, reevaluate the notion of the postcolonial by focusing on the Sino-sphere—the region of East and Southeast Asia that has been significantly shaped by relations with China throughout history.

Rupal Oza follows the social life of rape in rural northwest India to reveal how rape is a language through which issues ranging from caste to justice to land are contested in Semiotics of Rape.

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2022 Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Award Winner Announced

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Award, given by the Research Centre for Translation to original research in Chinese Translation Studies: “Chinese Folklore for the English Public: Herbert A. Giles’s 1880 Translation of Pu Songling’s Classical Tales” by Shengyu Wang, published in Comparative Literature volume 73, issue 4. Read the essay, freely available for three months, here.

“Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996) was a prolific writer and translator, as well as an active figure in the promotion of translation education and research,” writes the RCT on their website. “To commemorate his contributions in this field, the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards were set up in 1997 by RCT, with a generous donation from the Soong family. It gives recognition to academics who have made contributions to original research in Chinese Translation Studies, particularly in the use of first-hand sources for historical and cultural investigations.”

Congratulations to Shengyu Wang!

New Books in July

No matter where or how you choose to escape the summer heat, we have you covered. Check out the great new titles coming out this July.

For those looking to learn more about international relations and globalization, Neferti X. M. Tadiar’s Remaindered Life offers readers a new vocabulary and framework for examining the relationship between global capitalism and permanent imperial war.

Drawing on ethnographic research in postconflict Peru and Colombia, Kimberly Theidon examines the lives of children born of wartime rape and impact of violence on human and more-than-human lives, bodies, and ecologies in Legacies of War.

Students of the World by Pedro Monaville follows the inspiring footsteps of a generation of Congolese student activists whose work became central to national politics and broader decolonization movements following Congo’s independence.  

Felicity Amaya Schaeffer paints a story of resistance in Unsettled Borders by tracing Native people’s efforts to continue ancestral practices in the face of ecological and social violence at the militarized US-Mexico border.

Cover of Making Peace with Nature: Ecological Encounters along the Korean DMZ by Eleana J. Kim. Cover is a photograph of DMZ wetlands, photographed by Kim Seung in 2005. Photo shows a border fence next to a field of brown grass.

If you are interested in reading about the relationship between nature and human society, Making Peace with Nature by Eleana J. Kim reveals the inseparable link between biodiversity, scientific practices and geopolitical, capitalist, and ecological dynamics found in South Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.

In the Skin of the City by António Tomás weaves sociology, urban studies, anthropology, and African studies to illustrate the transformation of Luanda’s capital Angola through continual redefinition and negotiation of its physical and social boundaries.

History lovers may like Penny M. Von Eschen’s Paradoxes of Nostalgia, which examines the cold war’s lingering shadows and how nostalgia for stability fuels US-led militarism and the rise of international xenophobia, right wing nationalism, and authoritarianism.

As high school and college history teachers begin to plan for the next school year, A Primer for Teaching Digital History by Jennifer Guiliano offers a practical guide for teachers new to digital history, while providing experienced instructors with the tools to reinvigorate their pedagogy.

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Welcoming Trans Asia Photography to Duke University Press

We are pleased to announce that “Photography,” the first issue of the open-access journal Trans Asia Photography published by Duke University Press, is now available. Start reading “Photography” here.

In this inaugural Duke University Press issue, contributors explore photography through the lens of Asia—variously defined as a geographic territory or cultural imaginary—in order to fundamentally rethink the history and nature of photo studies from a different perspective. Examining photography both as a material object and as a concept, the authors cover wide-ranging topics such as photography’s intermediality, transnationality, haptic/audible qualities, vernacular dimensions, and relationship to the “real.”

Trans Asia Photography, edited by Deepali Dewan, Yi Gu, and Thy Phu, is the first and only open-access internal journal devoted to the interdisciplinary exploration of historic and contemporary photography from Asia and across the Asian diaspora. Established more than a decade ago, the journal examines all aspects of photographic history, theory, and practice by centering images in or of Asia, conceived here as a territory, network, and cultural imaginary.

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