Books

New Publishing Services Partnership from Duke University Press, MSP, and Project Euclid

Duke University Press, MSP (Mathematical Sciences Publishers), and Project Euclid announce a new publishing partnership, Alloy: A Publishing Services Alliance.

Alloy was forged with two goals in mind: to offer journals the finest suite of nonprofit publishing services available in the field, and to welcome publishers into a collaboration that treats journals as true partners, not just as clients or profit centers.

MSP founder and president Rob Kirby said, “MSP was conceived as an alternative to the big, profit-driven publishers. We are thrilled to join forces with Duke University Press and Project Euclid in pursuit of our goal to strengthen, defend, and expand independent scientific publishing.”

Each organization will bring its own set of strengths, skills, and experience to the partnership. Alloy features:

  • editorial management supported by EditFlow from MSP,
  • editing and production from MSP,
  • marketing, sales, and customer relations from Duke University Press,
  • and online presence from Project Euclid.

Duke University Press Director Steve Cohn said, “We are delighted to bring MSP into the long and very successful collaboration between DUP and Project Euclid. They will bring to this partnership deep knowledge of mathematics and the math community, plus the very best peer-review system in existence for use with math-related subject matter.”

“Providing publishers with the hosting services they need to be competitive and discoverable has always been at the core of Project Euclid’s mission. With MSP and Duke University Press, we have found like-minded partners who can offer publishers truly excellent solutions to the rest of the publication process,” said Leslie Eager, Project Euclid’s Director of Publishing Services.

For more information about collaborating with Alloy, contact Erich Staib at erich.staib[at]dukeupress[dot]edu.

To learn more about Duke University Press, MSP, and Project Euclid, read the full press release.

2017’s Top 10 Blog Posts

As 2017 comes to a close, we’re grateful for another year of sharing Press news and essential scholarship on our blog. Travel back in time with us as we take a look at our most-viewed blog posts of the year.

Test of Faith10. Introducing our Fall 2017 Catalog

“Our Fall 2017 catalog is here! We’re excited to give you a preview of all the great books that will be available in the next few months.

Every two years we publish the winner of the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize. The 2017 winner is Lauren Pond and her photos of Pentecostal serpent handlers in Appalachia. Test of Faith: Signs, Serpents, Salvation features 100 color photographs and provides a deeply nuanced, personal look at serpent handling that invites greater understanding of a religious practice that has long faced derision and criticism. It will be available in November.”

James Martel9. The Power of Misinterpellation

Today’s guest post is by James Martel, author of the new book, The Misinterpellated Subject.

“In all the sense of crisis and doom that we are currently experiencing with the advent of the Trump administration—despair over an administration that seems equal parts determined fascists and incompetent lunatics, horror and grim determination as thousands, perhaps millions, of people are to be deported, bathrooms becomes zones of exclusion and the war on people of color and the poor goes on unabated—there is one element that is critical to keep in mind. For all of his seeming power, self-confidence and authority, Donald Trump and his “alt-right” (i.e. neo-Nazi) minions do not command the absolute form of control that they think they have and we often imagine them to have (hence contributing to the efficacy of such a power).”

readtorespond8. Read to Respond: Articles for Student Activists

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

ddbou_44_17. Bernard Stiegler: Amateur Philosophy

“The most recent issue of boundary 2, ‘Bernard Stiegler: Amateur Philosophy,’ edited by Arne De Boever, brings together three lectures on aesthetics delivered by the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler in Los Angeles in 2011 with articles by scholars of Stiegler’s work.

Aesthetics, understood as the theoretical investigation of sensibility, has been central to Stiegler’s work since the mid-1990s. The lectures featured here explicitly link Stiegler’s interest in sensibility to aesthetic theory proper as well as to art history. In “The Proletarianization of Sensibility,” “Kant, Art, and Time,” and “The Quarrel of the Amateurs,” Stiegler expounds his philosophy of technics and its effects on human sensibility, centering on how the figure of the amateur—who loves what he or she does—must be recovered from beneath the ruins of technical history. The other contributors engage the topics covered in the lectures, including the figure of the amateur, cinema, the digital, and extinction.”

sbriglia - author photo6. Slavoj Žižek: In Defense of a Lost Cause

“Happy birthday to renowned philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek! Today’s guest blog post comes from Russell Sbriglia, editor of the new collection Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek.

Today marks the 68th birthday of Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek. In my recent collection for Duke University Press, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek, I make the case for Žižek’s relevance for literary studies—a relevance long overshadowed by the work done on Žižek in other fields such as film, media, and cultural studies. On this particular occasion, however, I’d like to make the case for Žižek’s continued relevance as a political thinker. Žižek has come under heavy fire of late for a number of his public positions, most notably those regarding the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. For those well-versed in and sympathetic to Žižek’s work, there is little that is controversial, let alone “conservative,” about these stances. Yet there now seems to be an entire cottage industry devoted to misreading and misinterpreting Žižek.”

LittleManLittleMan5. Duke University Press to Bring James Baldwin’s Only Children’s Book Back Into Print

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

lynn_comella_by_krystal_ramirez_small4. Q&A with Lynn Comella, Author of Vibrator Nation

Lynn Comella is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. An award-winning researcher, she has written extensively about sexuality and culture for numerous academic publications and popular media outlets. She is coeditor of the comprehensive New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law, and a frequent media contributor. In Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure—the first book to tell the story of feminist sex-toy stores and the women who pioneered them—she takes a deep dive into the making of the consumer market for sex toys, tracing its emergence from the early 1970s to today. Drawing on more than eighty in-depth interviews with retailers and industry insiders, including a stint working as a vibrator clerk, she brings readers onto the sex-shop floor and into the world of sex-positive capitalism and cultural production. Lynn Comella is on a national tour this fall and winter; check back here next week for a full tour schedule.”

ddTSQ_1_1-2_cover3. TSQ 101 for International Transgender Day of Visibility

“In honor of the ninth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, a celebration of transgender people that raises awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, we selected nine articles from issues of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly that provide essential insights into terms, conversations, and challenges within the field of trans* studies.”

Wissoker, Ken2. Editorial Director Ken Wissoker on Why He Loves Peer Review

It’s Peer Review Week. In this guest post, our Editorial Director Ken Wissoker shares what he loves about this crucial, and sometimes misunderstood, element of academic publishing.

I love peer review. Many authors fear it, or see it as a necessary evil, perhaps good for others less accomplished than themselves. Many hope for it to be as quick and minimal as possible, or as with some commercial academic presses, done in a cursory and non-binding way. Enough of a review that the scholar can count their work as a peer-reviewed publication, but not so much that they would actually have to change their manuscript in light of what the reviewers say.”

The Revolution Has Come by Robyn C. Spencer1. The Black Panther Party and Black Anti-Fascism in the United States

Today’s guest post comes to us from Robyn C. Spencer, author of the new book The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland.

Fascism has been thrust into the mainstream political vocabulary of the United States after the election of President Donald Trump on a platform grounded in xenophobia, corporate dominance, and right wing white nationalism.  After the election, search engines and online dictionaries reported a dramatic increase in users seeking to define the term. News outlets from Al Jazeera (“The Foul Stench of Fascism in the Air”) to Forbes (“Yes, a Trump presidency would bring fascism to America”)  to the Washington Post  (“Donald Trump is actually a fascist”) published articles analyzing how Trump fits into fascist paradigms. Most recently, The Nation (“Anti-Fascists Will Fight Trump’s Fascism in the Streets”) chronicled the long history of anti-fascist organizing in Europe and the United States to inspire activists engaged in resistance at this political moment. Black history has been marginalized in this burgeoning contemporary discourse about fascism. Analyses of the US as fascist have a long history in the Black intellectual tradition. Black thinkers like Harry Hayward, Claudia Jones, George Jackson and Kuwasi Balagoon used fascism as an analytical framework to understand the rise of segregation in the South after Reconstruction; white populism at the turn of the 19th century; land and labor struggles in the Black Belt South, and the evolution of capitalism in the 1970s.”

Musical Duels and Troubadour Poets You Never Knew Existed

aec_photoSelf-described ethnographer-composer-academic-musician Alex E. Chávez shares a playlist and excerpts from his new book Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño, which explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in the sounds and poetics of huapango arribeño, a musical genre originating from north-central Mexico. In Sounds of Crossing, Chávez follows huapango arribeño’s improvisational performance on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to demonstrate how Mexican migrants use music to construct meaningful communities amid the United States’ often vitriolic immigration politics.

An accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist, Chávez has performance experience in an array of styles ranging from American popular music to traditional Mexican folk. He has recorded and toured with his own musical projects, composed documentary scores (most recently Emmy Award-winning El Despertar [2016] & Where Soldiers Come From [2011]), and has collaborated with various artists, including Grammy Award winners Quetzal and Grupo Fantasma and Latin Grammy Award-nominated Sones de México, in addition to Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Charanga Cakewalk/Lila Downs, and Ocote Soul Sounds. He has contributed to the volumes Making Sense of Language (2016), Latino, American, Dream (2016), Iconic Mexico (2015), Celebrating Latino Folklore (2012), and Con La Música a Otra Parte: Migración e Identidad en La Lírica Queretana (2010).

Sweat is trickling down the side of your face, welling at the back of your neck; the heat and humidity are smothering. It’s a typical sweltering July evening in Central Texas, close to ten o’clock. The incandescence of city lights in the distance washes over the starry night sky, an amber glow that crowns the ballroom outside of town where Mexican migrants have gathered. Some sit along concrete bleachers, others lean out across the flanking metal railing and peer leisurely toward the crowd of several hundred below. These soon-to-be dancers are nestled in between two stages, positioned at opposite ends of the dance floor. An indistinguishable murmur of laughter and conversation nervously crescendoes every now and then, in anticipation of the musical duel everyone is awaiting.

The multitude sways to and fro, wave after wave of shifting bodies stirring the dust beneath them into a cloud. Four silhouettes appear on one stage, moving leisurely with their instruments—two violins, a vihuela (small five-stringed chordophone), and a guitarra quinta huapanguera (larger modified eight-string bass guitar, similar to the more common six-stringed version). They assume their positions, exchange glances, and confer quietly, subtly coaxing the music about to be played. They gaze over at the other stage, now similarly occupied by a matching ensemble, waiting patiently. A collective sigh rushes across the congregation, quieting the chatter, tilting bodies forward as everyone focuses on the shadows emerging before them. Suddenly, the strumming of instruments booms out through the sound system; elaborate fiddle melodies erupt, followed by the soaring voice of the troubadour poet. The pulsing 2/4 cadence echoes forcefully, measured, trembling through the body, ascending upward, embracing those present, as do the unraveling verses. These eight musicians—composing two identical huapango arribeño ensembles—will face off in a bout of musical and poetic flyting, exchanging fiddle melodies and improvised verses all night long.

When I describe this type of musical duel—referred to as a topada (from the verb topar, to collide with)—to those unfamiliar with it, they are often amazed at the thought of an eight-, ten-, or twelve-hour back-and-forth at that level of intensity on the part of both the performers and the audience. The excessive nature of the time and energy spent is unlike so many other performance styles. In that very excess lies the conviviality, the tones and tensions, and the laborious explorations that are crucial to huapango arribeño as an intertextual and polyphonic locus of aesthetic enactments and responses. Think of huapango arribeño as a dense, musical architecture that yields a rhythmic and poetic complex. It has jagged, sharp edges in structure, timbre, and tone. There is gravity behind the sudden drops and shifts between verses and melodies. You become attentive to these modulations; they snag the ears—extreme changes that move you, catch you, confront you. Yet, despite this seemingly intense and virtuosic performance style, most of the Mexican public is unaware of this musical tradition.

Huapango arribeño originates in the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luís Potosí, and takes its name from the Nahuatl word cuauhpanco—cuahuitl meaning ‘wood,’ pan designating ‘atop,’ and co ‘place,’ signifying ‘on top of the wood’ and referring to the wooden platform (tarima) atop which people perform patterned footwork (zapateado) to vernacular Mexican stringed music. This seems to indicate that huapango refers explicitly to ritual dance, and in part 
it does, for it may be seen as synonymous with the fandango, a social gathering centered on dance and music-making in 18th-century New Spain. The term arribeño (highlander) refers to the mountainous region of the states of Guanajuato and Querétaro (known as La Sierra Gorda) and to the midregion of San Luís Potosí (La Zona Media), which sits higher in altitude than the huasteca portion of the state, home to the Téenek (or Huastec) Indians and the more widely known huasteco style of huapango. The huasteco variant, specifically, is one of many regional string musics popularized 
in the years following the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) as state-sponsored cultural education efforts featuring sanitized folkloric performances of select aires nacionales (national anthems) played a role in deeming certain musics ideal expressions of Mexicanidad (Mexican cultural nationalism). At the same time, radio and cinema emerged as powerful commercial vehicles for disseminating the huasteco variant. The resulting streamlined popular huapango style quickly became an emblematic sound of assumed national tradition.

Given this, the term huapango—in a more general sense—typically references its signature rhythm, in a galloping 6/8 meter. Indeed, most appreciators of Mexican music can recognize huapango in many of its variations, whether it be the accordion-based stylings of Mexico’s música norteña or rendered with dramatic bel canto air by the immortal stars of the golden era of Mexican cinema. This latter image exists as an archetype of a sort of “classic” huapango. And again, while the popularity of this music outside its region of origin owes much to the silver screen, this stylized representation lays bare
 the complicated relationship between music and nationalism in the 20th century, and subsequently sheds light on the relative absence of huapango arribeño from this story.

978-0-8223-7018-5My book Sounds of Crossing represents the first extended study of huapango arribeño, a topic otherwise absent from scholarship on Mexican music. And although ethnomusicologists, folklorists, and linguistic anthropologists will be able to glean the details of its formal musico-poetic properties—particularly its extensive use of the Spanish décima (ten-line stanza) and its topada performance style—this book follows moments of this music’s lush and improvisational performance within the lives of both audiences and practitioners, from New Year’s festivities in the highlands of Guanajuato to backyard get-togethers along the back roads of Central Texas. In doing so, it provocatively uses “sounds of crossing” as a graphic model to map the bindings and cultural adjacencies produced through the enactment of huapango arribeño’s music and poetics across this transnational geography in the late twentieth and early twenty- first centuries.

As a student and practitioner of various Mexican folk musics for over two decades, I have engaged in music-making alongside my interlocuters, transforming my own experiences into a unique perspective on the body politics of performance that has shaped my understanding of how people cross various types of borders. This was certainly the case with the research that informs Sounds of Crossing. And while my musical curiosity first compelled me to make performance a cornerstone of my ethnographic process, I soon realized it was vital to gaining a deeper understanding of huapango arribeño music-making more generally given that very few sources exist on the topic. Consulting extensive written sources of any kind was not an option, and furthermore, recordings of the music are rare and have only been made by a few select musicians. So, apprehending both the conventions that govern performance and the rhetorical logics of composition required not only that I observe performances, but also participate in them as a practitioner.

Years later, one such relationship built through research and performance resulted in a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute where I was able to serve as lead producer of a Smithsonian Folkways recording of Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú entitled Serrano de Corazón (Highlander at Heart) (2016). This first-ever recording of its kind by an esteemed cultural institution of this caliber highlights huapango arribeño at its finest and makes anthropological knowledge of this music-culture accessible to a global audience. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States, and is dedicated to supporting increased awareness of peoples from around the world through the documentation and dissemination of sound recordings.

In this same spirit, the playlist I have compiled consists of music that represents the contemporary world of huapango arribeño. And while certainly not a definitive list, this sampling of transnational artists performing in Mexico is an excellent glimpse into both the sounds of this music and its various performative contexts. So, sit back and listen to the music and poetry of troubadour poets you probably never knew existed.

 

Tali Díaz y Los Díaz del Real—“Para que el tiempo no se quebrante” (poesía, valona, & son)

Featuring the young troubadour poet Tali Díaz and his group Los Díaz del Real, this track captures the typical huapango arribeño musical piece, which consists of three distinct components: (1) poesía— recited décimas anchored by a musico-poetic refrain; (2) decimal/valona—sung décimas accompanied by ornate violin interludes; and (3) son—violin-centered portion that displays the typical 6/8 galloping rhythm and showcases virtuosic fiddle melodies.

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú feat. Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano—“Brota mi canto y se ufana” (valona & son)

This track is taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón (Highlander at Heart) featuring Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú. Chabe Flores takes the helm on this decimal/valona, showcasing her trademark voice. Here, she addresses the topic of women’s empowerment and self-determination with a commanding and powerful performance. The valona is crowned by a traditional son arribeño titled “La rosita arribeña” (the rose from the highlands).

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú—“Serrano de corazón” (poesía-inspired composition & son)

Also taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón, this song typifies both the lyrical virtuosity and musical energy Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú bring to their live performances. The song is a hybrid form that alternates between recited décimas—in the spirit of the poesía portion previously described—and a lively canción portion played in 6/8 that features harmonized lyrics in the style of the huapango-canción and canción típica genres. The track ends with another variant of the son “La rosita arribeña.”

El Conjunto de Pedro Sauceda—“La virgen tendió su manto en la tierra del placer” (jarabe)

Taken from the set of albums titled Antologia del Son de Mexico released by Discos Corasón in 1985, this track features El Conjunto de Pedro Sauceda performing a traditional jarabe arribeño. The name jarabe is an analogous reference to the drug of the same name, which is made of various healing herbs, and the musical jarabe is similarly composed of various musical sounds and melodies that give it structure.

Toño Escalante y Conjunto Los Gorrioncillos de la Sierra—“El pajarillo” (son)

Also taken from the Antologia del Son de Mexico (1985), this track features Toño Escalante y Conjunto Los Gorriones de La Sierra performing a traditional son arribeño “El Pajarillo”.

Las Palomitas Serranas with Ángel González (jarabes & son)

This is a live performance featuring the all-female huapango group Las Palomitas Serranas with veteran troubadour poet Ángel González. The group is performing a traditional jarabe arribeño as they arrive in the rural hamlet of Palomas, Guanajuato for an artistic summit centered around Ibero-American music and poetry.

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú—“La topada de poetas”

Also taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón, “La topada de poetas” is Velázquez’s magnum opus on this album, which both narrates
 and performs the atmosphere of the topada, vividly detailing the portions of the marathon encounter, as night turns into day. It begins with a shortened poesía with a narrated ending, followed by an instrumental polka (typically called a pieza) with narration. Another shortened poesía with a narrated ending ensues, which then introduces two poesías de bravata (boasting poesías, wherein poets engage each other in banter and jibes)—here, Vincent Velázquez and Nicacio López take on the roles of opposing poets. Finally, Guillermo Velázquez performs a valona, followed by an extended jarabe, which captures the climactic energy of the topada in full bloom, when violinists are locked in after several hours, stretching out the music while the zapateado of the audience echoes out in percussive response.

Ángel González with Las Palomitas Serranas (pieza [polka])

This is a live performance featuring the troubadour poet Ángel González with members of the all-female huapango group Las Palomitas Serranas. The group is performing a traditional instrumental polka (typically called a pieza) in the rural hamlet of Palomas, Guanajuato.

Santa Vibra feat. Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano & Tali Díaz—“Llegar al mesón” (huapango)

While not a traditional huapango arribeño, this track is nonetheless in the galloping 6/8 huapango style and features a duet between Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano and troubadour poet Tali Díaz. The group Santa Vibra provides the musical backing.

Los Tiradores—“Otro ratito nomas” (valona from Michoacán)

Taken from the album Michoacán: sones de la Tierra Caliente produced by Fonoteca del INAH (the official sound library of the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History), this track features the group Los Tiradores performing a valona typical to the stringed music genre of the state of Michoacán known as son de la Tierra Caliente. I have included this example to demonstrate the musical and poetic similarities the valona maintains across genres. As you will hear, both valona variants feature décima poetry, and the principle violin interlude—referred to as the valoneado in huapango arribeño—expresses some melodic resemblance in both styles.

Los Caporales—“Jarabe ranchero” (jarabe from Michoacán)

Also taken from the album Michoacán: sones de la Tierra Caliente, this track features the group Los Caporales performing a jarabe typical to the son de la Tierra Caliente of Michoacán. This example likewise demonstrates the musical and poetic similarities the jarabe expresses across genres, particularly the virtuosic bundling of violin melodies.

Want to read more about huapango arribeño? Pick up Alex Chávez’s book Sounds of Crossing for 30% off using coupon code E17SOUND on dukeupress.edu.

The Best Books We Read in 2017

From young adult literature to sci-fi trilogies, we love to read at Duke University Press! In this post, our staff members share their favorite reads from the past year. We hope you enjoy their suggestions, and perhaps find a few gift ideas in the mix.

Jeff VanderMeerChris Robinson, Copywriter in Books Marketing, recommends the Southern Reach trilogy: “This year I crossed off one of my bucket-list reads (Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow) but what really struck me was Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. It’s set in a coastal region in the southeastern US where some kind of unknown supernatural event has transformed the landscape so that nature is removing traces of human development. The Southern Reach is a government agency tasked with investigating the area, but it’s never quite clear what happened or is going on. Part sci-fi, part eco-criticism, part surrealist adventure, there’s something for everybody. And the movie trailer for the first book – Annihilation – looks great.”

Gabrielle ZevinKatie Smart, Publicist and Exhibits Coordinator in Journals Marketing, recommends a new novel: “This year I challenged myself to read 100 books written by women and I finished the challenge with four books by Gabrielle Zevin on my list! My favorite was her most recent novel, Young Jane Young, which tells the story of a young congressional intern who has an affair with the congressman she’s working for. Zevin’s latest is funny and thoughtful, and her main characters are courageous and so well-written I wanted to know them in real life.”

Han KangMary Hoch, Senior Editorial Assistant in Acquisitions, recommends two books: “The Vegetarian by Han Kang. This novel, told from three perspectives, is equal parts beauty and brutality. I recommend setting aside time to read it all in one go (it’s quite short!) and reading nothing about it before starting. Tenth of December by George Saunders. Before he won this year’s Booker prize with Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders was best-known for his sci-fi short stories. This collection showcases his ability to put you immediately and intimately inside his characters’ heads.”

 

CaveBarbara Williams, a Production Specialist, recommends a study on books: “The History of Books in 100 Books by Roderick Cabe and Sara Ayad appeals to me because it covers so many time spans and cultures (cave paintings to e-books). It’s necessarily superficial, but succinct and beautifully illustrated. Although I’ve have done a lot of reading on Western book history, I knew very little about the book in Asia and South America; 100 Books was a helpful introduction.”

SaundersLiz Beasley, Managing Editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, recommends three books for 2017: “I read so many beautiful books this year, and oddly, many of them were written by—or about—people who died at a far too young age: Max Ritvo’s stunning poetry debut, Four Reincarnations, which was published just after his death at age twenty-five; Nina Riggs’s brave, funny cancer memoir The Bright Hour; and George Saunders’s strange but superb Booker Prize–winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo, whose plot is fueled by the death of Willie Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son. All are deeply moving, gorgeously written, and sui generis. Ritvo’s lines from ‘The Big Loser’ capture the spirit of all three books: ‘The angel thinks he’s applying lemon oil / to the creaky, wounded wood of the box. / He knows it’s palliative, but it’s beautiful.'”

SpuffordSenior Project Editor for Journals, Charles Brower, recommends two books this year: “Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill, set in 1740s New York, offers everything you want in a historical novel—a secretive stranger, romance, a duel, a trial, a witty narrator—but also is impressively woke to themes of race, gender, and sexuality. Emil Ferris’s graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the illustrated diary of a young girl in 1960s Chicago who’s trying to come to terms with her mother’s illness, her loving but careless older brother, her sexual identity, and the mysterious death of her upstairs neighbor, a haunted Holocaust survivor. The story is a page-turner, but the art is so intricate and gorgeous that you want to linger over each drawing.”

Thanks to our staff for another year of great reads and recommendations! We look forward to expanding our collective literary minds in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

978-0-8223-7004-8

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

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

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

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

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American Anthropological Association 2017

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Booth staffers ready to go on the first day

The 2017 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., was a great chance for us to meet authors and editors, sell books and journals to excited customers, and celebrate prize-winning books!

Our authors racked up quite a few awards at this year’s conference:

Metabolic Living by Harris Solomon and Tell Me Why My Children Died by Charles Briggs and Clara Mantini-Briggs were co-winners of the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology.

Sareeta Amrute’s Encoding Race, Encoding Class won the Diana Forsythe Prize from the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology & Computing. Plastic Bodies by Emilia Sanabria received honorable mention for this prize.

Emilia Sanabria’s Plastic Bodies also won the Michelle Rosaldo First Book Prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology. Downwardly Global by Lalaie Ameeriar was a finalist for the same prize.

Aimee Meredith Cox’s Shapeshifters won the Delmos Jones & Jagna Sharff Memorial Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of North America.

The Look of a Woman by Eric Plemons won the Ruth Benedict Prize in the Single-Authored Monograph category from the Association for Queer Anthropology.

Yolanda Covington-Ward’s Gesture and Power won the Elliott P. Skinner Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology.

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João Biehl toasts new edited collection Unfinished

Reel World by Anand Pandian won second place for the Victor Turner Prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and David McDermott Hughes’s Energy without Conscience received honorable mention for the same prize.

Everyday Conversions by Attiya Ahmad received honorable mention for the Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

Congratulations to these outstanding authors!

On Friday we enjoyed a wine reception for the new collection Unfinished: The Anthropology of Becoming with its editors João Biehl and Peter Locke.

It was exciting to see so many of our authors and editors in person. Check out the photo gallery:

 

Did you miss AAA this year? Not enough room in your luggage to carry all the books and journals you wanted? You can still take advantage of our 30% conference discount—just use coupon code AAA17 on our website through January 15.

Readings on the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

October 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and a distinct turning point in world history. Check out our books and journal issues on the Revolution and its legacy.

ddlab_14_3In the most recent issue of Labor, the journal’s Up for Debate section focuses solely on the anniversary of October 1917. In the introduction to the section, Eric Arnesen writes, “The revolution brought about by the Bolsheviks had a profound impact not merely on what was to become the Soviet Union but on the development of the Left and the fate of workers’ movements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well.”

Contributors to the section track socialism throughout the last 100 years, analyze the Revolution and the American Left, and view the Revolution through a micro-history of a Brazilian metalworker of African descent. Read the essays from this section, made freely available.

978-0-8223-6949-3The centenary of the Russian Revolution is the perfect time to consider the legacy of communism. In her new book Red Hangover, Kristen Ghodsee examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell. Ghodsee’s essays and short stories reflect on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989. An accessible introduction to the history of European state socialism and postcommunism, Red Hangover reveals how the events of 1989 continue to shape the world today.

dispatchesA special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Morgan Philips Price was one of the few Englishmen in Russia during all phases of the Revolution. Although his Bolshevik sympathies accorded him an insider’s perspective on much of the turmoil, his reports were often heavily revised or suppressed. In Dispatches from the RevolutionTania Rose collects for the first time Price’s correspondence from Russia—official and unofficial, published and unpublished—to reveal a side of Russian life and politics that fell largely unreported in the years before, during, and after the Revolution.

978-0-8223-6324-8Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James’s World Revolution, 1917-1936 is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the history of revolutions during the interwar period and of the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin. A new definitive edition, published this year to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, features an introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James’s 1939 interview with Trotsky.

The Russia Reader, edited by Adele Marie Barker and Bruce Grant, includes a section on the Revolution that reprints many primary documents, from The Communist Manifesto, Lenin’s The Withering Away of the State, and Viktor Shklovsky’s Revolution and the Front to Anton Okninsky’s Two Years among the Peasants in Tambov Province and letters written by ordinary Russians in the wake of the Revolution.

Forthcoming from South Atlantic Quarterly

ddsaq_116_4October! The Soviet Centenary
edited by Michael Hardt and Sandro Mezzadra

Contributors to this issue approach the October 1917 Russian Revolution and the experiments of the revolutionary period as events that opened new possibilities for politics that remain vital one hundred years later. The essays highlight how those events not only affected Russia and Europe but led to the emergence of a new political image of the world and a profound rethinking of Marxist traditions. This issue globalizes the 1917 revolution, emphasizing its echoes throughout the world and the parallel development of political possibilities beyond Russia. Topics include the Soviets from the revolution to the present, the impact of the revolution in Latin America, the work of the legal theorist Evgeny Pashukanis analyzed through the lens of the revolution, anarchist imaginaries, and the historicizing of communism.

Look for this issue of South Atlantic Quarterly in November.

The Face Is a Population

Thank you to Kris Cohen, author of new book Never Alone, Except for Now: Art, Networks, Populations, for today’s guest blog post.

cohen-krisApple’s design aesthetic mimics social media intimacy, so the arrival of a new Apple product can feel a lot like something blowing up on one’s Facebook feed, even if not a single person in the world actually cares. Nevertheless, the arrival of a technological capability such as facial recognition software, built into Apple’s new iPhone 8, is worth paying attention to even if it does follow the now entirely predictable commodity arc from military-funded R&D fantasy to ordinary mass consumer good. Maybe its new ordinariness means that people have become numb to it, but it always means that people now have to bargain with it in their daily lives. In the case of facial recognition software—a technology that now plays a major if sometimes shadowy role in all aspects of the security industry: border policing, population control, crime prevention—what exactly are we being made to bargain with?

Like the cameras on our phones and computers, embedded facial recognition software is one more place where the “personal” device becomes entirely porous to the corporations and governments that extract data from all devices. Try shopping for computer camera covers and you will get a sense of how deep and habitual the feeling is that the most personal devices are now the ones we control the least. The threat with a camera is quite concrete: someone is watching. The threat with facial recognition software is slightly more abstract (for some), but it exists because in order to recognize one’s face, the software has to create an open channel between our device and the massive database of faces and correlated data that make automated recognition possible (for some), but over which we have no control at all.

978-0-8223-6940-0Here we see how, in networked cultures, an intensely individualistic address is tightly laminated to a massive effort to form groups of people that can be put to work, producing value, relations, suggestions. As I say in my recent book Never Alone, Except for Now: Art, Networks, Populations, individuality in networked cultures is a kind of group form. In order to better understand individuals in relation to group form, I adapt the term population. The term comes from census technologies used for managing the resources of a nation, but also from Michel Foucault’s late work on neoliberalism. A population logic is one that addresses and organizes individuals through the informatic power of statistics, making the individual into a kind of effect, even a side effect of the population as a predictive and statistical entity. In networked cultures, populations get assembled in databases and prediction is keyed to desire: what we want to see, read, buy. Networked populations make the individual a distillate of the database, and the database an effect of the ordinary habits and activities of individuals, recorded as data. I think this is the untold story of the too-told story of the individual and individualism in contemporary American politics. And this is why populations are not the same as the masses of modernity, which always prioritized some form of unity or sameness. Facial recognition software prioritizes individuality, the quiddity of the unique face, but can only do so by participating deeply in population logics. How can we learn about such effects even as they’re being rolled out at paces and scales beyond human comprehension?

I’m an art historian as well as a media studies theorist, so one of my methods is to look to art: not art as in fine art objects magisterially pronouncing judgment upon the jumbled events of ordinary life, but art as a mode of thought about the present embodied in an encounter between more than one person, any of whom are invited to improvise a relation with one another in a scene that can work at a range of paces. On this view, art is no less mired in and impacted by the present tense than anyone else, and one can read the marks of those impacts on the work as a kind of impression of the ways the present tense shapes people, labor, environments, institutions. The artist Josh Kline would be one kind of resource for thinking about facial recognition software, as it appears so often in his work. There, the mediation of the problem is more or less direct. In this, Kline’s work offers the anchor of concrete feeling, even the prospect of a community of sorts galvanized by shared feeling.

But in the book I also think about artists whose work has no biographical or directly referential relationship to the networked technologies I study (performance artist Sharon Hayes and installation artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres). But as facial recognition software shows so graphically, one of the most distinctive features of networked technologies is that they are distributive by nature, automating the extraction of data from gestures, from movements through streets, from things we say out loud and in print, from our very facial expressions. So we need better resources for thinking about that kind of spread, in which literally nothing doesn’t bear the imprint—maybe slight, maybe bruising, maybe overt, often subliminal or subdermal—of networked technologies. Working between media technologies and works of art that often seem to operate at some distance from those technologies helps me to sense some of these more distributed and deeply encoded impacts.

Facial recognition technology fundamentally, even physically, changes what faces are. Think about that next time you encounter faces such as those in the paintings of Kehinde Wiley, Chuck Close, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Henry Taylor, or Amy Sillman; in the early videos or late paintings of Sadie Benning; or even in the massive public works of Julie Mehretu, which contain no faces, but then neither do the circuits that connect our phones with the populations of people that allow phones to discern a single face out of millions, a face we might once have called our own.

Read the introduction to Kris Cohen’s Never Alone, Except for Now free online, then pick up the paperback for 30% off—just use coupon code E17COHEN at dukeupress.edu.

National Coming Out Day: New Books in LGBTQ Studies

Today is the 29th annual National Coming Out Day, a celebration of the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. We’re happy to contribute to the occasion by sharing our newest scholarship in LGBTQ and sexuality studies.

978-0-8223-6914-1Developed 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.

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. Comella describes a world where sex-positive retailers double as social activists, where products are framed as tools of liberation, and where consumers are willing to pay for the promise of better living—one conversation, vibrator, and orgasm at a time.

978-0-8223-6367-5The contributors to The War on Sex, edited by David M. Halperin and Trevor Hoppe, document how government and civil society are waging a war on stigmatized sex by means of law, surveillance, and social control—from sex offender registries to the criminalization of HIV to highly punitive measures against sex work. By examining how the ever-intensifying war on sex affects both privileged and marginalized communities, the essays collected here show why sexual liberation is indispensable to social justice and human rights.

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.

978-0-8223-6365-1Critically Sovereign, a collection edited by Joanne Barker, traces the ways in which gender is inextricably a part of Indigenous politics and U.S. and Canadian imperialism and colonialism. The contributors show how gender, sexuality, and feminism work as co-productive forces of Native American and Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and epistemology.

The most recent “In Practice” section of Camera Obscura, “Queerness and Games,” seeks to expand the relationship between feminist film theory and practice and feminist and queer video game culture and criticism. It features essays exploring topics such as Adrienne Shaw’s LGBTQ Video Game Archive, the Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon), and queer performativity in mobile device–assisted interactive play.

ddsaq_116_3The essays in South Atlantic Quarterly’sAgainst the Day” section, “Unrecognizable: On Trans Recognition in 2017,” confront urgent questions regarding transgender recognition in the current political moment. Since Trump was elected, the trans communities in the United States have expressed fear and outrage at the possibility that the “transgender tipping point” might be about to tip back. However, contributors to these essays explore the complicated relationship of the trans community to the “transgender tipping point” and express that even if recognition is inevitable, trans people may not always want to be identified. These essays invent new terms to describe the impossibility and violence of recognition and speculatively suggest an entirely different relation to visibility. In relation to the backlash, too, they argue that we cannot do trans politics without an analysis of political economy, without an analysis of the history of racialization and the violence of liberalism, as well as of hetero and gender normativity.

Women’s Equality Day Reads

Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, and we couldn’t be more glad for an occasion both to commemorate strides in women’s rights and to renew the call for further progress. Today we’re contributing to the cause by sharing some of our most recent scholarship in women’s studies.

In the 1970s a group of pioneering feminist entrepreneurs launched a movement that ultimately changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed. Boldly reimagining who sex shops were for and the kinds of spaces they could be, these entrepreneurs opened sex-toy stores like Eve’s Garden, Good Vibrations, and Babeland not just as commercial enterprises, but to provide educational and community resources as well. In Vibrator Nation Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how these stores raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, and changed women’s lives.

While news of the Rwandan genocide reached all corners of the globe, the nation’s recovery and the key role of women are less well known. In Rwandan Women Rising Swanee Hunt shares the stories of some seventy women—heralded activists and unsung heroes alike—who overcame unfathomable brutality, unrecoverable loss, and unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society.

Developed in the United States in the 1980s, facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of 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. Plemons demonstrates how FFS is changing the project of surgical sex reassignment by reconfiguring the kind of sex that surgery aims to change.

In Politics with Beauvoir Lori Jo Marso treats Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist theory and practice as part of her political theory, arguing that freedom is Beauvoir’s central concern and that this is best apprehended through Marso’s notion of the encounter. Beauvoir’s encounters, Marso shows, exemplify freedom as a shared, relational, collective practice.

In The Labor of Faith Judith Casselberry examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of one of the oldest and largest historically Black Pentecostal churches in the United States. This male-headed church only functions through the work of the church’s women, who, despite making up three-quarters of its adult membership, hold no formal positions of power. Focusing on the circumstances of producing a holy black female personhood, Casselberry reveals the ways twenty-first-century women’s spiritual power operates and resonates with meaning in Pentecostal, female-majority, male-led churches.

wpj33_4_23_frontcover_fppIn “Interrupted,” a special issue of World Policy Journal penned entirely by female foreign policy experts and journalists, contributors imagine a world where the majority of foreign policy experts quoted, bylined, and miked are not men. The issue challenges the perception that women are not policymakers by showcasing the voices of female experts and leaders. Contributors to this issue address topics such as feminism in Chinaabortion laws across the Americascombating violent extremism by working with religious leaders, and women in media. The issue also features a conversation with Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritus.

In The Economization of Life Michelle Murphy provocatively describes the twentieth-century rise of infrastructures of calculation and experiment aimed at governing population for the sake of national economy. Murphy traces the methods and imaginaries through which family planning calculated lives not worth living, lives not worth saving, and lives not worth being born. The resulting archive of thick data transmuted into financialized “Invest in a Girl” campaigns that reframed survival as a question of human capital. The book challenges readers to reject the economy as our collective container and to refuse population as a term of reproductive justice.

Lori Merish, in Archives of Labor, establishes working-class women as significant actors within literary culture, dramatically redrawing the map of nineteenth-century US literary and cultural history. Delving into previously unexplored archives of working-class women’s literature, Merish recovers working-class women’s vital presence as writers and readers in the antebellum era. She restores the tradition of working women’s class protest and dissent, shows how race and gender are central to class identity, and traces the ways working women understood themselves and were understood as workers and class subjects.

Among Arab countries, Egypt has witnessed the largest production of feminist writings as Egyptian women begin to write in the mainstream. A themed section on Egyptian women writers and feminism from the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies features three articles about Egyptian women writers and their novels, which investigate the role of gender assignation in late twentieth-century Egyptian society. These literary works interrogate assumptions about the ways in which men and women are seen and are expected to behave.

For more books and journal articles on women’s issues, check out our Read to Respond post on feminism and women’s rights. These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017.