Books

Series Launch: On Decoloniality

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new book series, On Decoloniality, edited by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh. Two books are available now, and we look forward to watching the series grow.

On Decoloniality interconnects a diverse array of perspectives from the lived experiences of coloniality and decolonial thought/praxis in different local histories from across the globe. The series identifies and examines decolonial engagements in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Americas, South Asia, South Africa, and beyond from standpoints of feminisms, erotic sovereignty, Fanonian thought, post-Soviet analyses, global indigeneity, and ongoing efforts to delink, relink, and rebuild a radically distinct praxis of living. Aimed at a broad audience, from scholars, students, and artists to journalists, activists, and socially engaged intellectuals, On Decoloniality invites a wide range of participants to join one of the fastest growing debates in the humanities and social sciences that attends to the lived concerns of dignity, life, and the survival of the planet.

Cover of On Decoloniality by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. WalshOn Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, authored by the series editors, is the first book in the series. Mignolo and Walsh explore the hidden forces of the colonial matrix of power, its origination, transformation, and current presence, while asking the crucial questions of decoloniality’s how, what, why, with whom, and what for. It is ava

The second book, What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? by Madina Tlostanova, traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future—which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity—has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art.

2019 Pricing Now Available

dup_pr_filled_k_pngDuke University Press 2019 pricing for single-issue journal titles, the e-Duke Journals collections, the e-Duke Books collections, Euclid Prime, and MSP on Euclid is now available online at dukeupress.edu/Libraries.

New titles join the 2019 journals list

Duke University Press is pleased to announce the addition of Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature (formerly the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese), the Illinois Journal of Mathematics, and archival content for Black Sacred Music: A Journal of Theomusicology to its journals list.

Prism, a biannual journal, publishes works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. The journal will be included in the e-Duke Journals: Expanded collection.

The Illinois Journal of Mathematics, a quarterly, was founded as a preeminent journal of mathematics and  publishes high-quality research papers in all areas of mainstream mathematics. The journal will be hosted on Project Euclid and included in Euclid Prime.

Archival content (Volumes 1-9, 1987 to 1995) for Black Sacred Music: A Journal of Theomusicology, previously published by Duke University Press, will be available in 2019 to subscribers of the e-Duke Journals collections.

New e-book subject collections

Duke University Press is now offering libraries new e-book collections: Religious Studies and Music and Sound Studies. Both collections are hosted on read.dukeupress.edu.

The Religious Studies e-book collection includes approximately 120 titles that examine religions around the world, conflicts within and among religions, and the cultural, social, and political dynamics of religion. The Music and Sound Studies e-book collection includes approximately 135 titles in African studies, African American studies, American studies, anthropology, Asian studies, gender studies, history, Latin American studies, media studies, sociology, and many other fields.

These new offerings join our existing e-book subject collections in Gender Studies and Latin American Studies.

Tikkun ceases publication

The quarterly journal Tikkun will cease publication with volume 33, issue 4, at the decision of its owner, the Institute for Labor and Mental Health. Institutions that previously purchased the journal will continue to receive perpetual access through Duke University Press. Archival content for Tikkun will also continue to be hosted on the Project MUSE platform.

Direct subscriptions now available for two mathematics titles

Institutional direct subscriptions are now available for Annals of Functional Analysis and Banach Journal of Mathematical Analysis. The journals were formerly available solely through the Euclid Prime collection.

Change in frequency for History of Political Economy

In 2019, History of Political Economy will increase in frequency from four to five issues per year, in addition to publishing an annual supplement.

For more information about 2019 pricing, please contact libraryrelations@dukeupress.edu.

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LGBT Pride Month

Happy Pride Month! We’re excited to share our latest books and journals in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies. Join us in celebrating LGBTQ+ pride by reading up!

978-0-8223-7070-3The Rest of It: Hustlers, Cocaine, Depression, and Then Some, 1976–1988 is the new memoir of Martin Duberman, a major historian and founding figure of gay and lesbian studies. Duberman tells the revealing story of how he managed to survive and be productive during a difficult twelve-year period in which he was beset by drug addiction, health problems, and personal loss.

From experimental shorts and web series to Hollywood blockbusters and feminist porn, the work of African American lesbian filmmakers has made a powerful contribution to film history but has been largely unacknowledged by cinema historians and cultural critics. Assembling a range of interviews, essays, and conversations, Sisters in the Life, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, tells a full story of out African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades.

978-0-8223-6983-7In her new book Me and My House, Magdalena Zaborowska uses James Baldwin’s house in the south of France as a lens through which to reconstruct his biography and to explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works.

Libby Adler’s Gay Priori offers a comprehensive critique of the mainstream LGBT legal agenda in the United States, showing how LGBT equal rights discourse drives legal advocates toward a narrow array of reform objectives that do little to help the lives of the most marginalized members of the LGBT community.

art1In the 1970s a group of pioneering feminist and queer entrepreneurs launched a movement that ultimately changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed. In Vibrator Nation Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how feminist sex-toy stores raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, and changed women’s lives.

Developed in the United States in the 1980s, facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of bone and soft tissue reconstructive surgical procedures intended to feminize the faces of trans- women. In The Look of a Woman Eric Plemons foregrounds the narratives of FFS patients and their surgeons as they move from consultation and the operating room to postsurgery recovery. He shows how the increasing popularity of FFS represents a shift away from genital-based conceptions of trans- selfhood in ways that mirror the evolving views of what is considered to be good trans- medicine.

978-0-8223-7038-3From the dagger mistress Ezili Je Wouj and the gender-bending mermaid Lasiren to the beautiful femme queen Ezili Freda, the Ezili pantheon of Vodoun spirits represents the divine forces of love, sexuality, prosperity, pleasure, maternity, creativity, and fertility. In Ezili’s Mirrors, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley theorizes black Atlantic sexuality by tracing how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers and performers evoke Ezili, offering a model of queer black feminist theory that creates new possibilities for decolonizing queer studies.

In Fugitive Life Stephen Dillon examines the literary and artistic work of feminist, queer antiracist activists who were imprisoned or became fugitives in the United States during the 1970s, showing how they were among the first to theorize and make visible the co-constitutive symbiotic relationship between neoliberalism and racialized mass-incarceration.

978-0-8223-7154-0Drawing on over 300 prosecutions of sex acts in colonial New Spain between 1530 and 1821, in Sins against Nature Zeb Tortorici shows how courts used the concept “against nature” to try those accused of sodomy, bestiality, and other sex acts, thereby demonstrating how the archive influences understandings of bodies, desires, and social categories.

Lyndon K. Gill’s Erotic Islands foregrounds a queer presence in foundational elements of Trinidad and Tobago’s national imaginary—Carnival masquerade design, Calypso musicianship, and queer HIV/AIDS activism—to show how same-sex desire provides the means for the nation’s queer population to develop survival and community building strategies.

In Disturbing Attachments Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Jean Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory. Pederasty, which was central to Genet’s sexuality and to his passionate cross-racial and transnational political activism late in life, is among a series of problematic and outmoded queer attachments that Amin uses to deidealize and historicize queer theory.

TSQ_5_2_coverTrans* surgery has been an object of fantasy, derision, refusal, and triumph. For decades after its establishment in the 1950s, clinicians considered a desire for reconstructive genital surgery to be the linchpin of the transsexual diagnosis. “The Surgery Issue,” a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly edited by Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, explores the vital and contested place of surgical intervention in the making of trans* bodies, theories, and practices. This issue engages “the surgical” in its many forms. Contributors contemplate a wide scope: physical, technical, and social aspects of the body; trans* and transition-related surgeries broadly construed; local and international endeavors; the conceptual, the theoretical, and the practical; the historical and the speculative.

LOOK FOR THESE UPCOMING ISSUES

ddaml_90_2_coverAmerican Literature’s “Queer about Comics,” edited by Dariek Scott and Ramzi Fawaz, explores the intersection of queer theory and comics studies. The contributors provide new theories of how comics represent and re-conceptualize queer sexuality, desire, intimacy, and eroticism, while also investigating how the comic strip, as a hand-drawn form, queers literary production and demands innovative methods of analysis from the fields of literary, visual, and cultural studies.

Contributors examine the relationships among reader, creator, and community across a range of comics production, including mainstream superhero comics, independent LGBTQ comics, and avant-garde and experimental feminist narratives. They also address queer forms of identification elicited by the classic X-Men character Rogue, the lesbian grassroots publishing networks that helped shape Alison Bechdel’s oeuvre, and the production of black queer fantasy in the Black Panther comic book series, among other topics.

GLQ-Clit Club 2“The Queer Commons,” a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, edited by Gavin Butt and Nadja Millner-Larsen, explore how contemporary queer energies have been directed toward commons-forming initiatives from activist provision of social services to the maintenance of networks around queer art, protest, public sex, and bar cultures that sustain queer lives otherwise marginalized by heteronormative society and mainstream LGBTQ politics. This issue forges a connection between the common and the queer, asking how the category “queer” might open up a discourse that has emerged as one of the most important challenges to contemporary neoliberalization at both the theoretical and practical level.

Contributors look to radical networks of care, sex, and activism present within diverse queer communities including HIV/AIDS organizing, the Wages for Housework movement, New York’s Clit Club community, and trans/queer collectives in San Francisco. The issue also includes a dossier of shorter contributions that offer speculative provocations about the radicalism of queer commonality across time and space, from Gezi Park uprisings in Turkey to future visions of collectivity outside of the internet.

Jason Borge’s Latin American Jazz Playlist

978-0-8223-6990-5Today we’re pleased to share a playlist and commentary by Jason Borge, author of the new book Tropical Riffs: Latin America and the Politics of Jazz. In the book, Borge traces how jazz helped forge modern identities and national imaginaries in Latin America during the mid-twentieth century. Borge is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas, Austin.

Tropical Riffs is not meant to be a survey or formal analysis of Latin jazz or Latin American jazz per se. Rather, it is a cultural and intellectual history of jazz’s singular impact in the region from the 1920s until the 1980s, with a focus on Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico. My book’s central aim is to explain why jazz—or what passed for jazz—resonated so deeply and for so long with such a wide range of Latin American fans, critics, intellectuals, and musicians. It is inevitable that Tropical Riffs would deal with individual artists and recordings, given the region’s prominent though somewhat misunderstood place in the complex transnational circuitry of jazz and 20th century popular music generally. The following playlist gives a sampling of the performers and performances that speak to the main issues covered in the book’s five chapters.

Chapter 1: La civilizada selva: Latin America and the Jazz Age

Adolfo Aviles Jazz Band, “Blue Skies” (Odeon Nacional, 1927)

Ovaldo Viana e Orquestra Romeu Silva, “O Teu Sapateado” (from the film O Jovem Tataravô, dir. Luiz de Barros, 1936)

Like many other Latin American orchestras of the time, the Adolfo Aviles Jazz Band was basically a multi-purpose dance band, adept at interpreting different musical styles to accompany different dances foxtrots and tangos. “Blue Skies” is a popular Tin Pan Alley tune of the 1920s recorded by, among others, Josephine Baker, a huge star in Latin America in the late 1920s. For many, Baker symbolized the Jazz Age not only in terms of her stylized nègre spectacle and performative derring-do but also by bringing a sense of cosmopolitan danger to local audiences. Baker’s fame only increased after she toured several South American cities in 1929. In “O Teu Sapateado,” Ovaldo Viana and the Orquestra Romeu Silva perform in front of a screen filled with images of Baker. Romeu, by the way, was quite familiar with both jazz and Baker, having played with Baker in the early 1930s as well as the clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Booker Pittman, who began his decades-long tenure in Brazil and Argentina as a part of Silva’s orchestra.

Chapter 2: Dark Pursuits: Argentina, Race, and Jazz

Oscar Alemán, “Blues del Adios” [Bye Bye Blues] (Odeon Argentina, 1942)

Gato Barbieri, from Jazz is Alive and Well in New York (documentary, 1973)

Astor Piazzolla with Conjunto Electrónico, “Libertango” (French television: Les rendez-vous du dimanche, March 20, 1977)

In the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, nowhere in Latin America did the passion for jazz rage stronger than in Argentina. Part of the same Parisian milieu as Silva and Baker in the 1930s, the Afro-Argentine guitarist Oscar Alemán was, after Django Reinhardt, probably the most prominent swing guitarist in Europe. Alemán was also a consummate showman and a highly adaptable singer who returned to Buenos Aires as a conquering, semi-authentic, jazz icon—which for most porteño critics and fans normally meant being Black and estadounidense. Gato Barbieri and Astor Piazzolla, like Alemán, achieved fame abroad while wrestling with charged and ambivalent conceptions of jazz (and tango) back home. Barbieri apprenticed as a free jazz player with Don Cherry, then reinvented himself in the late 1960s as a mestizo revolutionary drawing from an assortment of Andean, Brazilian, and other musical sources, as this clip from a French documentary shows. Piazzolla, meanwhile, focused on “swingifying” tango in stints in Europe, the US, and in Argentina. This recording of “Libertango” shows him in his short-lived fusion format, at a time when he was eager to update himself in ways that would resonate with international audiences in the 1970s and 1980s.

Chapter 3: The Anxiety of Americanization: Jazz, Samba, and Bossa Nova

Orquesta Típica Pixinguinha-Donga, “Gavião Calçudo” (Parlophone, 1929)

Carlos Lyra, “Influência do Jazz,” from Depois do Carnaval: O Sambalanço de Carlos Lyra (Philips, 1963)

Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, “The Girl from Ipanema” (The Hollywood Palace, ABC TV, 1964)

The history of Brazilian popular music of the early to mid-20th century is haunted by the spectre of perceived cultural impurities, often considered synonymous with americanização [Americanization] and jazz in particular. Such fears first came to the fore in the late 1920s with the publication of a series of articles decrying the audible jazz influence of the Orquesta Típica Pixinguinha-Donga, particularly in the Parlophone recordings of the samba-maxixe “Gavião Calçudo” (included here) and Pixinguinha [Alfredo da Rocha Viana Jr.]’s famous composition “Carinhoso.” The anxiety of americanização simmered for several decades, coming to a boil again in the early 1960s with the rise of bossa nova. Tellingly, one of the movement’s early hits—Carlos Lyra’s “Influência do Jazz”—gave explicit if ambivalent expression to samba’s supposed contamination at the hands of jazz. By contrast, US jazz artists like Stan Getz were only too eager to capitalize on bossa’s jazz “problem,” often upstaging the bossanovistas in the process, as this television clip reveals.

Chapter 4: The Hazards of Hybridity: Afro-Cuban Jazz, Mambo, and Revolution

Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, with Chano Pozo, “Manteca” (RCA Victor, 1947)

Pérez Prado and His Orchestra on The Spike Jones Show, May 1, 1954

Irakere, Live in Concert, March 23, 1979, Capitol Theatre (Passaic, NJ)

When Dizzy Gillespie and the Cuban-born percussionist Luciano “Chano” Pozo made music together shortly after the end of the Second World War, New York City became ground zero both for bebop and “Cubop,” or Afro-Cuban jazz. Most jazz critics and historians now generally acknowledge that the Gillespie-Machito-Pozo sessions (such as this recording of Pozo’s composition “Manteca”) signalled the birth of what today is known as Latin jazz. Meanwhile, another jazz-informed, circum-Caribbean hybrid was being born in the nightclubs of Havana and the soundstages of Mexico City. Epitomized (if not created) by the bandleader Dámaso Pérez Prado, mambo was often reduced to caricature in US film and television appearances of the 1950s. In the 1960s, while critics and industry insiders in the United States struggled to come to terms with Afro-Caribbean contributions to transnational popular music, Cuban revolutionary orthodoxy made “jazz” a bad word, in spite of the jazz-like music that continued to be performed on the island.  The jazz prohibition would be blown wide open in the 1970s with the rise of the Cuban jazz-fusion supergroup Irakere.

Chapter 5: Liberation, Disenchantment, and the Afterlives of Jazz

Bix Beiderbecke, “Jazz Me Blues” (Matrix, 1927), one of many jazz recordings mentioned in Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortázar

Dave Brubeck, “Nostalgia de Mexico,” from Bravo! Brubeck! (Columbia, 1967)

Tino Contreras, “Santo,” from Misa en jazz (Musart, 1966)

Even after the international popularity of jazz went into slow decline beginning in the 1950s, the music, aggressively promoted abroad by the US State Department, continued to captivate Latin American audiences. This was especially true of writers and intellectuals like the Argentine Julio Cortázar, whose landmark novel Rayuela [Hopscotch, 1963] is chock-full of references to jazz and blues, from Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong to Bix Beiderbecke (included here) and Art Tatum. There were countless musical tributes and quotations as well. In 1966, the Mexican jazz drummer and composer Tino Contreras recorded “Santo,” an unusual homage to Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and part of Contreras’s conceptually ambitious project, Misa en Jazz [Jazz Mass]. As if to return the favor, Brubeck, one of the main jazz ambassadors of the 1960s and 1970s (along with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and others), recorded Bravo! Brubeck! live in Mexico in 1967.

Want to learn more about Latin American jazz? Pick up the paperback of Tropical Riffs for 30% off using coupon code E18BORGE on our website.

Recent Scholarship on Trans* Surgery

TSQ_5_2_coverThe Surgery Issue,” a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly edited by Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, explores the vital and contested place of surgical intervention in the making of trans* bodies, theories, and practices. This issue engages “the surgical” in its many forms. Contributors contemplate a wide scope: physical, technical, and social aspects of the body; trans* and transition-related surgeries broadly construed; local and international endeavors; the conceptual, the theoretical, and the practical; the historical and the speculative.

Trans* surgery has been an object of fantasy, derision, refusal, and triumph. For decades after its establishment in the 1950s, clinicians considered a desire for reconstructive genital surgery to be the linchpin of the transsexual diagnosis. Drawing on earlier legacies of sexology and plastic surgery and the emerging specialties of endocrinology and surgical transplant, early emphasis on genital surgery determined clinical legibility, shaped forms of identification, produced institutional capacities, and became the object of criticism by those for whom a desire for body alterations indicated profound pathologies on the parts of patients and their willing surgeons. Subsequent contestations of the medico-surgical framework troubled the place of surgical intervention and helped mark the emergence of “transgender” as an alternative, more inclusive term for gender nonconforming subjects who were sometimes less concerned with surgical intervention.

Beginning in the 1990s, new histories of trans* clinical practice challenged the institutional claim that transsexuals were uniform in their desire for genital surgery, and trans* authors began to advocate relationships to their surgically altered bodies as sites of power rather than capitulation. Still others refused a focus on surgery-centric conceptualizations of trans* on the grounds that it obscures the conditions of how and for whom surgery is available, values Euro-American histories of transsexualism, and obfuscates the reality that trans* subjectivity might be as much about justice and rights as it is about physical transition.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Eric Plemons, coeditor of “The Surgery Issue,” is also author of the recent book The Look of a Woman: Facial Feminization Surgery and the Aims of Trans- Medicine. Developed in the 1980s, facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of reconstructive surgical procedures intended to feminize the faces of trans- women. Plemons foregrounds the narratives of FFS patients and their surgeons, showing how the increasing popularity of FFS represents a shift away from genital-based conceptions of trans- selfhood. He demonstrates how FFS is changing the project of surgical sex reassignment by reconfiguring the kind of sex that surgery aims to change.

Q&A with Katherine Verdery, author of My Life as a Spy

IMG_2520Katherine Verdery is Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as well as the author of the new book My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Verdery experienced living under it.

You came to Romania in 1973 as a 25-year-old doctoral student studying folklore, but the Romanian secret police immediately suspected that your research was espionage rather than ethnography. How can anthropology look like spying? Is there overlap between the two practices?

Anthropology has looked like spying many times in the discipline’s history. Indeed, our “patriarch” Franz Boas published an article condemning any activities of this sort … a century ago! To begin with, an anthropologist arriving in a foreign location presents the locals with the problem of how to account for his/her presence, when anthropology is unknown to most if not all of them. The idea that someone might have come to collect information for some “enemy” is easy to believe cross-culturally, since that happens everywhere in the world. Other roles we have been assumed to play are missionary, or thief of sacred knowledge. The pattern in every case is to try to make a stranger comprehensible in a locally meaningful idiom. In my case, the resemblance was sharpened by the officers’ recognizing that some of my practices resembled theirs—I took notes in code, I used pseudonyms for my “informers,” I gathered up all kinds of information rather than sticking to a precise questionnaire, etc.

How did it feel to read through your own 2,781-page secret police file for the first time? In what ways did it alter your perceptions and understanding of your time in Romania?

It was a terrible experience. I sat down in the reading room of the secret police archive in Bucharest with several large volumes in front of me, knowing none of the conventions of such documents, so I had no way of creating distance between them and myself. As I thumbed through them and discovered close friends who had informed on me, I felt truly awful. It would take many readings, some training by the archive staff, and the gradual passage of time before I could read the pages more or less dispassionately.

What was your goal in reading and analyzing your own file? What did you hope to uncover or illuminate?

At first I didn’t really have a goal: I was just curious to see what a file was like. Once I had seen how comprehensive it was, I thought I should use it either to write a memoir (they had a lot of data on me, after all!) or to examine how that kind of organization creates its knowledge, and to what extent we can see it as knowledge rather than just a pack of lies, as most people would assume. In what ways it was and was not a pack of lies became a very interesting problem, once I got used to it.

978-0-8223-7081-9In your research for this book, you interviewed not only some of the secret police officers who followed you but also friends who turned out to have been informers. How did it feel to approach and speak with people who had monitored you and reported on your behavior?

Many of the ones whose reports were the most troubling to me had died before I could speak with them. Especially once I had spoken with a few who were still alive, I regretted that I had had no chance to make my peace with the ones who were not. In one case, the friend had in fact told me even before the end of the regime that she had had to write reports, but we didn’t discuss it at length until 2010, when I had read the reports themselves. In her case it was easy to ask her if she would talk about it, since I already knew. We spent several days together and had a truly illuminating time (for me—she was less enthusiastic!). I felt a tremendous mix of feelings: irritation at her for being so naive, guilt at having precipitated this experience she had found so dreadful, puzzlement at her inclination to blame me for it … but ultimately great respect for her honesty and self-insight, and huge relief to have gotten it out into the open. Although I came to feel that it was not appropriate for me to “forgive” her, our conversations did fully restore my affection for her. The experience was similar with another friend, whose identity I had guessed from the file. He gave a plausible account of himself and expressed great remorse. I did not manage to speak with any of the “mean” informers, however. Clearly, they didn’t want to.

How does your analysis of surveillance in communist Romania resonate in considerations of modern-day surveillance practices, including those practiced by countries like the U.S.?

The answer to this question has become suddenly relevant in ways I might not have expected, with the indictments handed down by Robert Mueller concerning Russian interference in our 2016 elections. One of the most important lessons I learned from reading my file (and others in which I did research) was that the goal of that secret police was to sow confusion, produce discord. Had I not seen this in my file, I would not have been able to say to my class, the day after the vote, “Putin has hacked the US election.” I lacked only the specific details concerning the use of trolls and bots. Concerning the broader comparison of communist Romania and the West today, there are some important differences in how these systems worked—for instance, the predominance of human labor (officers, informers) in Romania and of advanced technology in our own case. Those differences affect the ways of gathering information, the uses that can be made of it, and the nature of the information-gathering apparatus.

Read the prologue to My Life as a Spy free online, or pick up the paperback for 30% off using coupon code E18SPY at dukeupress.edu.

Poem of the Week

978-1-4780-0021-1To wrap up National Poetry Month, we’re sharing a poem from Rafael Campo’s collection Comfort Measures Only, forthcoming this September. Gathered from his over 20-year career as a poet-physician, the book’s 88 poems—30 of which have never been previously published in a collection—pull back the curtain in the ER, laying bare our pain and joining us all in spellbinding moments of pathos.

 

Hospital Writing Workshop

Arriving late, my clinic having run
past six again, I realize I don’t
have cancer, don’t have HIV, like them,
these students who are patients, who I lead
in writing exercises, reading poems.
For them, this isn’t academic, it’s
reality: I ask that they describe
an object right in front of them, to make
it come alive, and one writes about death,
her death, as if by just imagining
the softness of its skin, its panting rush
into her lap, then she might tame it; one
observes instead the love he lost, he’s there,
beside him in his gown and wheelchair,
together finally again. I take
a good, long breath; we’re quiet as newborns.
The little conference room grows warm, and there
before my eyes, I see that what I thought
unspeakable was more than this, was hope.

Learn more about Comfort Measures Only.

New in Surveillance Studies

Our list in security studies has been growing lately, with a particular emphasis on the study of government surveillance. Take a look at some of our newest scholarship in this essential field:

ddthe_48_1_coverMass surveillance has turned into one of the twenty-first century’s darkest, if most predictable, realities. The networks we depend on now seem far larger, more totalizing, and less private than previously imagined. “Spectatorship in an Age of Surveillance,” a special issue of Theater, explores the ways in surveillance—from governments’ mass spying to all-seeing networks—and the fields of theater and performance inform each other: What forms of surveillance have found their way into our lives online and off? How might theater and performance help us to see them?

Much of the issue takes Live Arts Bard’s 2017 performance biennial We’re Watching as a point of departure while other contents venture into poetry, visual art, and cinema. Among the performances featured in the issue, choreographer Will Rawls and poet Claudia Rankine contemplated blackness and (in)visibility in What Remains; Big Art Group staged the interplay of intimacy and impenetrability in Opacity using computer code and probability; and Alexandro Segade’s queer dystopic drama Future Street proposed a Blade Runner for the post-Snowden era. The issue gathers scripts and photographs from these productions alongside essays, interviews, and reviews that help us to understand surveillance, not only as an anonymous system of digital control but more incisively, as a human behavior enacted by the individual self. Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-7081-9As Katherine Verdery observes, “There’s nothing like reading your secret police file to make you wonder who you really are.” In 1973 Verdery, an anthropologist, began her doctoral fieldwork in communist Romania. She returned several times over the next twenty-five years, during which time the secret police compiled a 2,781-page surveillance file on her. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Verdery experienced living under it.

From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war.

978-0-8223-6973-8Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, a collection edited by Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, offers a new critical language through which to explore and assess the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare. Contributors show how drones generate particular ways of visualizing the spaces and targets of war while acting as tools to exercise state power.

Ten years on, Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking Terrorist Assemblages remains one of the most influential queer theory texts and continues to reverberate across multiple political landscapes, activist projects, and scholarly pursuits. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. The Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition features a new foreword by Tavia Nyong’o and a postscript by Puar entitled “Homonationalism in Trump Times.”

978-0-8223-6898-4In Saving the Security State Inderpal Grewal traces the changing relations between the US state and its citizens in an era she calls advanced neoliberalism. Marked by the decline of US geopolitical power, endless war, and increasing surveillance, advanced neoliberalism militarizes everyday life while producing “exceptional citizens”—primarily white Christian men who reinforce the security state as they claim responsibility for protecting the country from racialized others.

During the Second World War, an FBI program called the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) assigned 700 agents to combat Nazi influence internationally. The mission, however, extended beyond countries with significant German populations or Nazi spy rings. In The FBI in Latin America, Marc Becker interrogates a trove of FBI documents from its Ecuador mission to uncover the history and purpose of the SIS’s intervention in Latin America and for the light they shed on leftist organizing efforts in Latin America.

Earth Day Reads

Happy Earth Day! We’re pleased to share our latest scholarship in environmental studies—we hope it helps to educate and inspire action around some of the most pressing problems facing our planet today. Learn more about this year’s Earth Day campaign: ending plastic pollution.

978-0-8223-6902-8In Fractivism, Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking and the ways scientists and everyday people are coming together to hold accountable an industry that has managed to evade regulation. A call to action, Fractivism outlines a way forward for not just the fifteen million Americans who live within a mile of an unconventional oil or gas well, but for the planet as a whole.

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Environmental Humanities is a peer-reviewed, international, open-access journal. The journal publishes outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship that draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other, and with the natural and social sciences, around significant environmental issues. Environmental Humanities has a specific focus on publishing the best interdisciplinary scholarship; as such, the journal has a particular mandate to publish interdisciplinary papers that do not fit comfortably within the established environmental subdisciplines and to publish high-quality submissions from within any of these fields that are accessible and seeking to reach a broader readership. Read the journal here.

In A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry offer design principles for creating syllabi that will help students navigate a wide range of topics, from food, environmental justice, and natural resources to animal-human relations, senses of place, and climate change.

ddsaq_116_2_coverAutonomia in the Anthropocene,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, explores challenges posed to radical politics by an era of anthropogenic global change. Informed by new sites of struggle around extraction, waste, rising seas and toxic landscapes, and by new indigenous and worker movements, the issue rethinks key concepts in the autonomist lexicon — species being, the common, multitude, potentia, the production of subjectivity — in an effort to generate powerful analytical and political resources for confronting the social and ecological relations of informationalized capitalism.

978-0-8223-7040-6Matthew Vitz’s new book A City on a Lake tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality.

In Landscapes of Power, Dana E. Powell examines the rise and fall of the controversial Desert Rock Power Plant initiative in New Mexico to trace the political conflicts surrounding native sovereignty and contemporary energy development on Navajo (Diné) Nation land. Powell’s historical and ethnographic account shows how the coal-fired power plant project’s defeat provided the basis for redefining the legacies of colonialism, mineral extraction, and environmentalism.

978-0-8223-6374-3Mikael D. Wolfe’s Watering the Revolution transforms our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were ecologically unsustainable, Wolfe tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.

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 “Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, 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 Energy without Conscience David McDermott Hughes investigates why climate change has yet to be seen as a moral issue, examining the forces that render the use of fossil fuels ordinary and therefore exempt from ethical evaluation. He passionately argues that like slavery, producing oil is a moral choice and that oil is at its most dangerous when it is accepted as an ordinary part of everyday life.

ddpcult_28_2We live in the age of extremes, a period punctuated by significant disasters that have changed the way we understand risk, vulnerability, and the future of communities. Violent ecological events such as Superstorm Sandy attest to the urgent need to analyze what cities around the world are doing to reduce carbon emissions, develop new energy systems, and build structures to enhance preparedness for catastrophe. The essays in “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet,” a special issue of Public Culture, illustrate that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters. The contributors provide a truly global perspective on topics such as the toxic effects of fracking, water rights in the Los Angeles region, wind energy in southern Mexico, and water scarcity from Brazil to the Arabian Peninsula.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-7147-2For the second week of National Poetry Month, we’re sharing an excerpt from David Grubbs’s new book-length prose poem Now that the audience is assembled. The poem, both a work of literature and a study of music, describes a fictional performance during which a musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep.

 

The demonstration is scarcely completed when the composer places his instrument on the ground and turns to address the audience.

The musician cannot flip the switch quite so easily, and she rocks back and forth with an unprotesting expression, still cradling her instrument and inhabiting a different sphere while the composer, speaking through the page-turner, shares his take on this brief performance: It needs to be said that a duo performance is something other than this composition. Two is an insufficient number. Two performers suffice only to show the technique. The structure of the work is the invitation for multiple individuals to create and experience alterations on the basis of unforeseen encounters. It’s a pleasure to encounter you in this way (composer and page-turner both gesture toward the musician, who gives no indication that she’s listening) and to do so again and again and differently each time, but a duo performance has a melancholic desert-island quality. That of two survivors, and we need others. Composer and page-turner toe the edge of the lighted rectangle and peer into the darkness: Do we have volunteers?

The audience feigns sleep or slumbers on.

Thankfully the composer knows when to drop the direct address, and the offer is not repeated. There is no need to force participation. He gestures for musician and page-turner to follow him as he shuffles toward the upstage door that once again swings open. They disappear for several minutes into the unknown region.

When they return to the performance space, they come provisioned with a collection of ten bulky round objects, each thick with dust and wrapped in a maroon cloth and tied with a piece of canary-yellow nylon rope. They lean the wrapped objects against the wall in an arrangement based on descending order of size. The largest of the bundles matches the arm span of the page-turner; the smallest resembles a hubcap.

We’re going to try something different, announces the composer.

Learn more about Now that the audience is assembled.