Books

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Rose collects for the first time Price’s correspondence from Russia—official and unofficial, published and unpublished—to reveal a side of Russian life and politics that fell largely unreported in the years before, during, and after the Revolution.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.

Sneak Peek: Kristen Ghodsee, Red Hangover

We’re pleased to share the prelude, titled Freundschaft, of Kristen Ghodsee’s upcoming book Red Hangover: Legacies of Twentieth-Century Communism. In Red Hangover Ghodsee reflects 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 the fall of the Berlin Wall. This text is not final, but we hope it gives you a taste of this impactful new book, to be published in late October.

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Two pairs of earrings, four bracelets, and a mixtape inspired me to write this book. I was in the Stadtmuseum in the German city of Jena, peering into the various display cases of an exhibit called Freundschaft! Mythos und Realität im Alltag der DDR (Friendship! Myth and reality in everyday life in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]). The exhibit ruminated on the official and unofficial uses of the word “friendship” in the context of communist East Germany between 1949 and 1989. In one case, the museum’s curators displayed the personal items of a teenage girl who had gone to a Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth) summer camp in 1985. There, accompanying some photos and a letter she sent home to her parents, sat a white cassette tape, some plastic bracelets, and two pairs of oversized, cheap earrings, the kind once fashionable in the mid-1980s when every girl’s hair was two stories too high.

Back in 1985, I spent several weeks of my summer at a camp in the Cuyamaca Mountains one hour east of San Diego. When I left home, I remember packing several pairs of the same horrible earrings, some plastic bangles, and a stack of mixtapes with my favorite songs recorded off the local Top 40 radio station. Standing in Jena thirty years later, I experienced one of those moments of radical empathy, and tried to imagine what my life would have been like if I’d gone to summer camp in communist East Germany rather than in capitalist California. This girl and I might have shared the same passion for similar material objects, but we would have been ideological enemies, surviving our adolescences on different sides of the Iron Curtain.

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A billboard for the Freundschaft exhibit in Jena. All photos by the author.

From the placard on the display case, I understood that this girl was born in 1971, one year after me. Somewhere out there, this girl was now a woman about my age, and I longed to talk to her, to ask her what she remembered about that summer of 1985, and how things had worked out for her since. This German girl would have been eighteen when the Berlin Wall fell, and nineteen when her country ceased to exist. She would have just graduated from secondary school, and probably listened to Madonna and Fine Young Cannibals as I did: “Express Yourself,” “Like a Prayer,” and “She Drives Me Crazy.” But where I had the luxury of geopolitical continuity in my personal life, this East German faced a young adulthood of dramatic social and economic upheaval.

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Items from the East German Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth).

When I left the museum, I wandered through the cobblestone alleyways leading off the main market square. I saw posters for two upcoming demonstrations in Jena. The right-wing, anti-immigrant political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) would organize a rally and a march in the Marktplatz while Germany’s left-wing party, Die Linke (The Left), in a coalition with other centrist and leftist parties, would organize a counterdemonstration in front of the church. The counterprotesters had plastered the small city with posters saying “FCK AFD” and “refugees welcome,” and I guessed that the center/left demonstrators would outnumber their right-wing counterparts.

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Summer Vacation Reading Recommendations from our Staff

Our staff are voracious readers, including while they’re on vacation. There they can take a break from manuscripts and delve into something a little bit more fun. If you’re off to the beach or the mountains or somewhere in between on this coming long weekend, take time to stop off at a bookstore on your way and stock up on some of these recommended titles.

inthewoods_usJournals Marketing Manager, Jocelyn Dawson: Last year’s vacation reads recommendation from Elizabeth Ault, Assistant Editor, turned me on to the work of Tana French. She’s published six books to date—highly suspenseful psychological thrillers that are impossible to put down. But I can only recommend the first three (In the Woods, The Likeness, and Faithful Place)—I’m trying to spread the others out. The books are connected but not exactly sequential; still, I’d recommend starting from the beginning. Elizabeth’s recommendation has led to many enthralled reading hours for me and for at least three other people I’ve shared the books with.

joe ideSenior Managing Editor, Charles Brower: IQ, by Joe Ide. It’s a thriller about Isaiah Quintabe, a very appealing “underground” detective who’s equal parts Sherlock Holmes and Easy Rawlins; he’s trying to atone for some past mistakes by helping out his Long Beach neighbors, for whatever they can afford to pay him, even if it’s just a home-cooked meal. When he agrees to investigate a murder attempt on a paranoid rap star, he has to match wits with a hit man whose weapon of choice is a monstrous killer dog. It’s hair-raising and also very funny. Ide has another IQ novel coming out this fall, and I can’t wait to devour it!

drums of autumn.jpgBooks Publicity and Advertising Manager, Laura Sell: I’m a little late to the “Outlander” game, but if you like romance, history, time travel, and men in kilts, I can thoroughly recommend the series. The books are huge, over 700 pages, and totally immersive, which makes a perfect vacation book for me. I’ve been watching the TV series, too, but the books are much better. I’m taking Book 4, Drums of Autumn, which is set partly in colonial North Carolina, on my vacation to Maine this year and am looking forward to many pleasant hours on the porch with it.

game of thronesManaging Editor of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Michael Cornett: George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones, vol. 1 of the series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” otherwise known as the “Game of Thrones” series. While many have enjoyed the popular television series, the novels are far far better. As an academic medievalist and a devout lover of Tolkien’s writing, I had serious doubts about reading this, figuring it would be pulpy fantasy fiction imitative of Tolkien (have you noticed the R. R. middle initials?). I gave it a try and I have become utterly absorbed. Martin’s beautifully written narrative is not at all like Tolkien’s mythological tale of good and evil. It is rather an imaginative blend of historical-psychological realism and medievalistic fantasy. The chapters are told from various characters’ points of view—half of them female characters, many of them children. Everyone is in peril as the world convulses from factional struggles for power, and the reader—who can too easily imagine every scene—turns the pages madly hoping for order to be established. An apocalyptic winter is coming, the characters brood, but summer is the perfect time to start into this rewarding series of novels.

Everything,_EverythingJournals Marketing Intern, Camille Wright: I recommend Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything. Through this novel, the readers are able to experience the world from fresh perspective. Maddy was diagnosed with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) as an infant and has been unable to leave her home since. After a mysterious boy named Oli and his family move across the street, the eighteen-year-old risks everything to find herself, the meaning of love and the difference between being alive and living. The novel brings a new excitement to the activities people take for granted because they are experienced in normal, daily life.

In The Company of WomenJournals Publicist and Exhibits Coordinator, Katie Smart: Grace Bonney’s edited collection In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs isn’t a traditional vacation read (its hardcover form weighs three pounds!), but the content and images are so beautiful you’ll want to lug this book around with you all summer. This collection features interviews with creative and diverse women—furniture makers, graphic designers, comedians, tattoo artists, fashion designers, the list goes on—that include questions like “What did you want to be when you were a child?;” “What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?;” and “In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?” Alongside the Q&As, the book features exquisite photography that highlights the work spaces where these women chose to be most creative. I challenge you not to be motivated to tap into your own creative genius after finishing this book!Ivory+HC

Digital Access and Books Specialist, Rebecca Hambleton:  Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh. This is a YA book with similar themes as Pride and Prejudice. What makes this book interesting and unique is that it’s set in prehistoric times and follows a boy and his family who are desperate to make alliances with other clans through marriage.

What vacation reads would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

The Hypervisibility of Violence in Mexico

Rielle Navitski, author of the new book Public Spectacles of Violence: Sensational Cinema and Journalism in Early Twentieth-Century Mexico and Brazil, brings us today’s guest blog post.

Photo by Dina Canup

The epidemic levels of violence affecting Mexico made international headlines this past month when a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies declared it the deadliest nation in the world after Syria, with a toll of 23,000 homicides in 2016. While the report’s critics called for greater nuance than this headline offers, there is no question that the conflict poses a profound threat to the very fabric of public life in Mexico. Criminal organizations challenge the government’s control of territory and its exclusive privilege to exercise physical force (its monopoly on violence, in sociologist Max Weber’s terms), although widespread corruption makes any sharp distinction between state and criminal actors difficult to sustain. Violence’s capacity to terrorize is amplified by unspeakable displays of cruelty—the staging of victims’ bodies in public spaces, the circulation of images of torture and murder online—even as forced disappearances and clandestine mass graves mask the conflict’s true extent.

As I observe in my book Public Spectacles of Violence, the proliferation of graphic images of violence and the blurring of boundaries between state and criminal aggression are far from a new phenomenon in Mexico. During the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920—arguably the twentieth-century’s first social revolution—novel forms of visual culture like illustrated newspapers and magazines, postcard photographs, and film offered a flood of images of combat, executions, hangings, and ravaged bodies. Sparked by opposition to the thirty-five year dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, the revolution claimed an estimated 1 million lives in a country of 12 million, drifting away from democratic ideals and rural demands for economic equality. The character of the conflict—marked by prolonged struggles between military factions defined more by their charismatic leaders rather than by their ideologies—continually threw into question the legitimacy of the deadly use of force and attacks on private property.

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This crisis of political legitimacy is evident in the earliest box-office success of Mexican cinema, a 1919 crime film entitled El automóvil gris (The Grey Automobile). Based on the exploits of a criminal gang who traveled in the grey automobile of the film’s title and committed robberies dressed as soldiers from the army of Venustiano Carranza, El automóvil gris was shot by cameraman Enrique Rosas in an effort to mend the reputation of General Pablo González, who was suspected of complicity in the crimes. Patterned on popular crime films produced in France and the United States, El automóvil gris also drew on Mexico City’s sensationalistic press, which presented acts of robbery, kidnapping, and murder as signs of local modernity, since they demonstrated that the capital suffered the same social ills as industrialized metropolises like London, Paris, and New York. Implicit in these accounts of criminality was an acceptance of industrialization and urbanization’s social costs as the price of progress, measured by the standards of Europe and the United States.

As I hope to show in my book by examining parallel developments in the early mass cultures of Mexico and Brazil, the profound impact of violence on public life in modern Latin America cannot solely be attributed to failures of state formation or economic development in individual nations. Instead, it must be understood in light of the global dynamics of the capitalist economy, its role in the circulation of commodities and images, and its production of inequality. Commentators note that present-day criminal organizations in Mexico—whose ranks are swelled by young men with few opportunities in the formal economy—borrow and extend the business strategies of multinational corporations. In his book Narconomics, journalist Tom Wainright notes that Mexican cartels benefit from outsourcing select activities to Central American countries where operating costs are cheaper, and expand rapidly by lending their names and reputation to locally rooted criminal groups in a process akin to franchising. Observing the role of conspicuous consumption in cultures of organized crime in Mexico, Ed Vulliamy wrote in 2011 that “the greed for violence reflects the greed for brands, and becomes a brand in itself.” Observing that drug trafficking exemplifies the free flow of commodities underlying the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, he provocatively describes the accompanying violence as “the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad.”

In their response to the IISS report mentioned above, Mexico’s foreign and interior ministries stressed the transnational character of the current violence, fueled by demand for narcotics north of the US-Mexico border and the flow of illegal firearms south from the United States. (A 2014 study found that arms purchased in the United States account for at least 70 percent of the weapons used in the conflict). Rather than remaining as spectators of this horrific conflict—or worse, turning away our gaze—it is essential that we examine our own position within the flows of narcotics, weapons, and images fueling it. Attending to its historical echoes can better attune us to the national and transnational forces that forge public spheres profoundly marked by spectacles of violence.

Read the introduction to Public Spectacles of Violence free online, and save 30% on the paperback using coupon code E17NAVIT on our website.

Subject Collections in Gender Studies and Latin American Studies

As we close out another academic year, we want to remind you of useful resources for two of the strongest areas of our publishing program: gender studies and Latin American studies. In 2017, we launched new e-book subject collections in Gender Studies and Latin American Studies.

GENDER STUDIES

Our Gender Studies/Feminist Theory book list features authors well known for their work in gender studies, gay and lesbian studies, transgender studies, and queer and feminist theory. Many of our journals also address gender studies from transnational and interdisciplinary perspectives:

View the title list for the Gender Studies collection, which features more than 500 e-books and is available to libraries by purchase, lease, or lease-to-own.

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

Our Latin American Studies authors are well known for their work in anthropology, art, cultural studies, Caribbean studies, Chicano and Latino studies, history, literature, film and media, and politics. Many of our journals also cover Latin America:

View the title list for the Latin American Studies collection, which features more than 500 e-books and is available to libraries by purchase, lease, or lease-to-own.

If you’re interested in gaining access to these resources, have your librarian contact our Library Relations team to get more information.

2018 Pricing is Now Available

dup_pr_filled_k_pngDuke University Press 2018 pricing for single-issue journal titles, the e-Duke Journals collections, the e-Duke Books collection, and Euclid Prime, a collection of mathematics and statistics titles hosted on Project Euclid, is now available online at dukeupress.edu/Libraries.

New Online Content Platform

In November 2017 all Duke University Press humanities and social science journals and e-books will migrate to the Silverchair Information Systems platform, providing scholars with a single reading and research experience across books and journals. Visit dukeupress.edu/Libraries/migration for additional details and to sign up for e-mail alerts.

Partnership with MSP

Duke University Press, Project Euclid, and MSP (Mathematical Sciences Publishers) have entered into a partnership to sell a package of seven MSP journals hosted on the Project Euclid platform. Institutional subscribers gain a subscription management tool that stores librarian contact and IP information. Project Euclid also exclusively provides COUNTER- and SUSHI-compliant usage statistics. Pricing for MSP on Euclid is now available online at dukeupress.edu/Libraries.

Addition of Two Titles to the 2018 Journals List

Duke University Press is pleased to announce the additions of the Journal of Korean Studies and English Language Notes to its journal list. Both journals are published biannually.

The Journal of Korean Studies is the preeminent journal in its field, publishing high-quality articles in all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences on a broad range of Korea-related topics, both historical and contemporary.

A respected forum of criticism and scholarship in literary and cultural studies since 1962, English Language Notes is dedicated to pushing the edge of scholarship in literature and related fields in new directions.

For more information about 2018 pricing, please contact our Library Relations team.

Read To Respond: Feminism and Women’s Rights


R2R final logoOur “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. This post focuses on feminism and women’s rights with articles tackling topics from abortion laws, maternity leave, Islamic feminism, and more. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Feminism and Women’s Rights

These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.