Books

Asian/Pacific American Cultures and Histories Syllabus

In response to recent acts of violence against Asian Americans stemming from a long history of anti-Asian sentiment in the United States, we wish to offer resources to contextualize the experiences of Asian and Pacific Americans. The articles, issues, and books in our Asian/Pacific American Cultures and Histories Syllabus discuss not only complex histories and contemporary experiences of racism and imperialism, but also community formation, solidarity between marginalized groups, and worldmaking possibilities.

All journal articles and issues in the syllabus are free to read until August 31, 2021. The introduction to each book is free, and books may be purchased at dukeupress.edu.

The Asian/Pacific American Cultures and Histories Syllabus is one of several staff-curated syllabi, with topics ranging from global immigration to racial justice to trans rights.

The Best Books We Read in 2020

Amid the many challenges of 2020, the Duke University Press staff took solace in—what else?—reading. Here are some of our staffers’ favorite books they read over the past year. We hope you’ll find a few picks for yourself to enjoy in the coming months.

Copywriter Chris Robinson recommends The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin. “I started this massive illustrated collection of all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels and stories at the start of October, when I needed some good escapism from the election. It did the trick. Her language is comforting, like a warm blanket. Wizards and dragons? Yes please.”

Dan Ruccia, Marketing Designer, enjoyed the first two books in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy. Her debut, Gideon the Ninth, “was the first book I was able to successfully read during the panicked early days of the pandemic, devouring it in a matter of days,” he writes. “Muir’s tale of necromancers is equal parts gothic fantasy, space opera, and whodunnit, all cast in nacreous, sepulchral tones with more words for ‘bones’ than you can shake a gnarled, ossified pile of knucklebones at. It’s also absurdly hilarious. The second volume (Harrow the Ninth) takes everything you learn in the first book, rips it apart, and reassembles it into some horrifying skeletal construct that is totally befuddling and somehow even more satisfying. I’ve read them both twice already, and I’m sad that I have to wait until 2022 for the series’ concluding volume (Alecto the Ninth) to be released.”

Michael McCullough, Senior Manager for Books Sales and Marketing, recommends The Summer House by Alice Thomas Ellis. “Three very different women—the bride-to-be, her mother’s old friend, and her prospective mother-in-law—tell the story of an ill-advised wedding. If I kept a commonplace book, it would be filled with quotations from The Summer House, because the writing is brilliant.”

Digital Content Manager Patty Chase writes, “The most enchanting book I read this year was Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. I was drawn into its surreal landscape immediately, and I let the uncertainty of what was happening wash over me. The unwinding of the story was entirely satisfying all the way through. This book was a welcome escape during these trying times.”

Book Designer Aimee Harrison’s favorite book this year was Masande Ntshanga’s Triangulum. “A blend of near-apocalypse science fiction and post-apartheid South African coming-of-age novel, Triangulum propelled me into history books and debates about whether change comes from destroying the machine or manipulating it, while I was still sitting beside the ghosts of the very real characters Ntshanga has created. This is Ntshanga’s second novel, and draws on elements of research and triptych friendships developed in The Reactive, but pushes language and genre even further to tie together disparate conspiracies and revolutions, environmental and governmental catastrophes, and histories of friendships and families.”

Charles Brower, Senior Project Editor, writes, “I think it’s fitting for 2020 to pick a horror novel as my read of the year: Stephen Graham Jones’s The Only Good Indians, which is tragic, funny, blood-curdling, and illuminating and sharp in its portrayal of contemporary Indigenous life on and off the reservation. And it climaxes with the most suspenseful basketball game between a Native teenage girl and a vengeful elk demon that you’ll ever read.”

Journals Marketing Manager Jocelyn Dawson’s pick is The Housekeeper by Natalie Barelli, a psychological thriller that she listened to as an audiobook. “It’s definitely better to read in print, because the last third of the book is impossible to put down and there’s only so much time that you can politely spend walking around with headphones in when you live with other people. If you like suspense, this is one to add to your list.”

And lastly, Editor Elizabeth Ault writes, “Two books that hit my quarantine sweet spot of exceptional writing, settings and characters I hadn’t seen a million times before, and just sheer joy in reading were Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors and Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks. Both told deeply emplaced stories (Washburn on Hawaiʻi and Oahu, Barry on the North Shore of Massachusetts) about places very unlike Durham, NC, so that certainly helped!”

Revisiting 2020: COVID-19 Resources

At the end of a turbulent year, we are revisiting resources pertaining to the big issues of 2020. In this post, we are re-sharing important COVID-19 articles, interviews, guest posts, and syllabi. This is the first in a two-part series.

Dispatches on AIDS and COVID-19: Continuing Conversations from AIDS and the Distribution of Crises,” July 24, 2020

This three-part blog series curated by the editors of AIDS and the Distribution of Crises, Jih-Fei Cheng, Alexandra Juhasz, and Nishant Shahani, offers thoughts from the book’s contributors on the relationship between the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics. Check out part two and part three.

Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law COVID-19 Articles

The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law has published several articles that address the COVID-19 global health crisis from an array of disciplinary perspectives, and we will continue updating this page with new articles. The essays explore the pandemic as a political, social, and comparative phenomenon that is likely to redefine public health, health policy, and health care politics for years to come.

Joshua Neves on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Anti-Chinese Racism, and the Politics of Underglobalization,” March 11, 2020

In this guest blog post, Joshua Neves discusses how racist understandings of China tie into framings of the COVID-19 pandemic. Neves is the author, most recently, of Underglobalization: Beijing’s Media Urbanism and the Chimera of Legitimacy.

Navigating the Threat of Pandemic Syllabus, March 5, 2020

This staff-curated syllabus offers books and journal articles that build knowledge and understanding of how we navigate the spread of communicable diseases. View a full list of our syllabi here.

Care in Uncertain Times Syllabus, March 25, 2020

This staff-curated syllabus offers books, issues, and articles that investigate different ways that care can bind together individuals and communities where larger institutions or governments fail to intervene. As we collectively deal with the implications of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and a global pandemic, questions of care and self-care have become ever more important. This syllabus shows how radical care is essential to enduring precarity and to laying the groundwork for new futures. View a full list of our syllabi here.

COVID-19 and Labor History: A Guest Post by Leon Fink,” October 26, 2020

In this guest blog post, Leon Fink, editor of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, discusses how the journal is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and what role labor history scholarship plays in conversations about the pandemic.

Always a Poster Girl for Just Causes, Mafalda Now Takes on COVID-19: A Guest Post by Isabella Cosse,” May 19, 2020

In this guest blog post, Isabella Cosse discusses the role of Mafalda, Latin America’s most famous cartoon character, in raising awareness of COVID-19 safety measures. Cosse is the author of Mafalda: A Social and Political History of Latin America’s Global Comic.

Pandemic Time: A Guest Post by Harris Solomon,” April 29, 2020

In this guest blog post, Harris Solomon, author of Metabolic Living, recommends books that explore the forms of time and temporalities that an epidemic entails.

New Titles in African Studies

Every year we look forward to meeting authors, editors, and readers in person at the ASA Annual Meeting, and we are sad to be missing out this year, although the meeting has gone virtual. We know that many of you look forward to stocking up on new titles at special discounts at our conferences, so we are pleased to extend a discount on all in-stock books and journal issues with coupon code AFSA20 until December 31, 2020.

View our African Studies catalog below for a complete list of all our newest titles in African Studies and across disciplines. You can also explore all of our African Studies books and journals on dukeupress.edu.

Editor Elizabeth Ault has a welcome message for participants in this year’s African Studies Association Annual Meeting. See below, as well, for a brief written message.

Closed captioning is available.
Editor Elizabeth Ault

Hello African studies! I’m super looking forward to joining in the virtual panels over the next few days–something I rarely get to do at the in-person conference, so a real luxury. Since we won’t be able to celebrate the release of the new books I mention in my video above in person, I’m particularly excited for the panels devoted to three recent books: Monica Popescu’s At Penpoint, Xavier Livermon’s Kwaito Bodies, and Lynn Thomas’s Beneath the Surface. I’ll be the one with the champagne flute! And of course, as the Association continues to think about the racial politics of the field and the university more broadly, following an extraordinarily painful (if occasionally hopeful!) summer of pandemic and protests, I’m looking forward to President Ato Quayson’s address on Friday evening. 

But of course I’ll miss our in-person conversations and all the generosity that y’all have shown me since I started attending the conference back in 2014. I’m really excited to be in conversation about projects that think from the continent, that consider the relationship between African studies and Black studies, that center queer and trans lives, and that work to reach across disciplinary, regional, and linguistic barriers. Please sign up for office hours to discuss your work with me here

Elizabeth mentions a number of books and series in her video, including Hannah Appel’s The Licit Life of Capitalism, Catherine Besteman’s Militarized Global Apartheid, Leslie Green’s Rock |Water | Life, Stephanie Newell’s Histories of Dirt, and Jennifer Bajorek’s Unfixed. The Theory in Forms series features multiple new books: Naked Agency by Naminata Diabate, The Wombs of Women by Françoise Vergès, Beneath the Surface by Lynn Thomas, Genetic Afterlives by Noah Tamarkin, Revolution and Disenchantment by Fadi A. Bardawil, and At Penpoint by Monica Popescu.

And don’t forget about our outstanding journals in African studies, including Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. All special issues, such as “Rethinking Cosmopolitanism: Africa in Europe ⁄ Europe in Africa,” “Black British Art Histories,” and “Time out of Joint: The Queer and the Customary in Africa,” are eligible for the 50% discount using code AFSA20.

Ian Baucom’s launch event for History 4° Celsius was hosted by Ranjana Khanna and Achille Mbembe and the Forum for Scholar’s and Publics. Check out new titles in the Visual Arts of Africa and Its Diasporas series and the Religious Cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora People series. And look out for a video conversation with Delinda Collier, author of Media Primitivism, very soon!

ASA President Ato Quayson will deliver the ASA Presidential Lecture Friday, November 20, 4:00pm-5:45pm EST.

Join DUP authors for author-meets-critics sessions:
Monica Popescu, At Penpoint, Saturday, November 21, 8:00am-9:45am EST
Xavier Livermon, Kwaito Bodies, Saturday, November 21, 12:00pm-1:45pm EST
Lynn Thomas, Beneath the Surface, Saturday, November 21, 4:00pm-5:45pm EST

The ASA will commemorate the work of the late Tejumola Olaniyan with four sessions on Thursday and Friday:
Thursday, November 19, 8:00am-9:45am EST | Thursday, November 19, 10:00am-11:45am EST | Thursday, November 19, 12:00pm-1:45pm EST | Friday, November 20, 10:00am-11:45am EST

New Titles in Women’s Studies

Every year we look forward to meeting authors in person at the NWSA Annual Meeting, and we are sad to be missing out on that this year. We know that many of you look forward to stocking up on new books at special discounts at our conferences, so we are pleased to extend a 50% discount on all in-stock books and journal issues with coupon code NWSA20 until November 23, 2020.

View our Women’s Studies catalog below for a complete list of all our newest titles in women, gender, and sexuality studies and across disciplines. You can also explore all of our books and journals in the field on dukeupress.edu. And although you cannot join us in the booth this year, you can listen to a number of our authors discuss their books through our In Conversation series on our YouTube channel.

Editor Elizabeth Ault has a message for everyone who would have attended NWSA this year, with her recommendations of the latest books in women, gender, and sexuality studies.

Editor Elizabeth Ault

Dear NWSA,

I was so looking forward to gathering with you all in the greatest city in the world, Minneapolis, this fall, but it’s not to be. I’m sending solidarity to all the folks who have been doing incredible organizing work there for years before the murder of George Floyd (#justiceforfonglee, #justiceforjamarclarke, #ceceisfree, #cecetaughtme #justiceforphilandocastile) and continue to provide networks of care and support every dang day. 

I am so excited to be in conversation with y’all about the feminist work in Black studies, disability studies, geography, trans studies, queer theory, history, and more that has its home at NWSA. Please sign up for office hours to discuss your work with me here

In the meantime, I know many of you are shopping the sale. Here are some crucial feminist texts that would never have made it to 50% off day in the booth–and you can get them shipped directly to you for 50% off from our website!!!  You’ll see important strands of Black feminist thought and queer theory throughout these books, so I’ve tried to organize them more by method and topic to help you find what you’re looking for. 

I’m writing this in late October and you’ll be reading it on the other side of whatever happens on November 3. Regardless, I’m confident these books have important wisdom to offer us as we move through this extraordinarily painful year, fortified by the work of organizers in Minneapolis and around the world, and by these thinkers and writers. They’re all helping us to imagine the world we want to live in and work to make it possible.

Jih-Fei Cheng, Alex Juhasz, and Nishant Shahani’s AIDS and the Distribution of Crises comes directly out of that scholarly/activist nexus, bringing together insights from a range of fields and positions about the ongoing viral crises that COVID-19 cratered into this winter. Sima Shakhsari’s book The Politics of Rightful Killing looks at transnational online networks of writers and activists to consider how Iranians in the diaspora and Iran itself thought about reconstituting democracy. Jillian Hernandez’s Aesthetics of Excess is right there too, drawing on her work with Black and Latina girls in Women on The Rise in Miami.

Writing in Space

Alongside the amazing art Jillian and her interlocutors at WOTR created, much of which is included in full color in the book, we have some really amazing feminist art books out right now. Lorraine O’Grady’s work was at the center of the mind-blowing, pathbreaking We Wanted a Revolution show at the Brooklyn Museum a few years back, and now she has her own solo show there, accompanied by this new book of her writings about art practice and her vision for a Black feminist art world, Writing in Space. Maya Stovall has been performing and showing Liquor Store Theatre, a Detroit-based art and performance project for several years; her book by the same name considers the project as an ethnographic one reimagining what dispossessed neighborhoods in Detroit might still play host to. Bakirathi Mani’s new book, Unseeing Empire, centers work by South Asian women artists Annu Matthew, Seher Shah, and Gauri Gill to consider how empire continues to haunt South Asian desires for representation and representability.

978-1-4780-0663-3But it’s not just visual arts that are important – feminist approaches to music also play a big role on this list, with books by Maureen Mahon, Shana Redmond, Ren Ellis Neyra, and Xavier Livermon centering the sonic.

And Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s Dub is a work of art–no less than an oracle for our times. 

Another oracular work newly available is Jose Munoz’s posthumous Sense of Brown. This book is deep and lasting and Jose’s influence and importance is so clear and undeniable. More theoretical work on this list alongside Jose’s is Cressida Heyes’s book Anaesthetics of Existence, which is really speaking to me as this year continues to take and take. It’s a feminist phenomenology for this moment. Other books theorizing embodiment here include Neetu Khanna’s Visceral Logics of Decolonization, and Naked Agency, in which author Naminata Diabate considers women’s naked protests across Africa and the diaspora as a weighty, powerful form of vulnerable resistance.

naked agency

Diabate’s work is embedded in a long history of such protests–new feminist history work from Brandi Brimmer, Francoise Verges, and Lynn Thomas provides important tools for understanding how we got here, and how things could be different. 

And feminist ethnography has a strong presence on this list too, with nuanced and sensitive accounts of relationality and care in everyday life from Abigail Dumes, Saiba Varma, and Marilyn Strathern

information activism
Click cover image for In Conversation talk with McKinney!

Relations, the topic of Strathern’s capacious theorization, are also at the foundation of Brigitte Fielder’s rethinking of kinship and race. Her book is part of a strong list in queer and feminist cultural and literary studies that includes new books from Jack Halberstam (important queer theory, yes, but also important Kate Bush content!), Bo Ruberg (whose new book series is accepting proposals), Gillian Harkins (why are you still watching To Catch a Predator? I mean, you won’t after reading this book), Cait McKinney (the book we fondly refer to as “how lesbians invented the internet”), Erica Fretwell (She’ll make you care about The Yellow Wallpaper again, through centering the role of SMELL of all things), and Sam Pinto (the definitive take on Sarah Baartman and Sally Hemings that you have been waiting for!!).

That’s a lot of books! There’s so much richness and brilliance here. I’m excited to hear what you think about these books and how they’re informing your own work on twitter and in my office hours. In the meantime, keep well.

If you were hoping to connect with Elizabeth Ault or another of our editors about your book project at NWSA, please reach out to them by email. See our editors’ specialties and contact information here and our online submissions guidelines here.

And don’t forget about our great journals in gender studies, like Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism; the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies; Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies; differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies; GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. If you don’t have access through your library, ask them to subscribe, pick up a personal subscription, or add a special issue to your sale order!

Elections in Global History Syllabus

Our Elections in Global History Syllabus, new today, features scholarship on historical elections. Topics include the study of past election events, voting inequity, election quotas, media politics, protests during election times, and more.

All journal articles in this syllabus are freely available through January 31, 2021. Book introductions are always free.

The Elections in Global History Syllabus is one of our many staff-curated syllabi, with topics ranging from global immigration to racial justice to trans rights. Check out all the syllabi here.

Freely Available Resources for #BlackLivesMatter Activists

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen an outpouring of response from grieving communities against structural oppression and police brutality. As we balance political action and education about history and critical race theory, we encourage you to read and share the following resources with your community.

Syllabi

Our staff-curated syllabi offer journal articles and issues that are free for a limited time; please note that the books on these lists are not free but can be purchased via your local black-owned bookstore.

Syllabus topics include:

See the full list here.

Articles on racial inequity & COVID-19

The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law has released pre-publication manuscripts about COVID-19 and health policy, which are free to read until late August. Several of these articles, such as “Racism and the Political Economy of COVID-19: Will We Continue to Resurrect the Past?” by Zinzi Bailey and J. Robin Moon, address the structural racism providing the foundation for significant racial inequity during this pandemic. See the full article list here.

Policing and state violence resources from Radical History Review

The Radical History Review has curated a list of articles on policing and state violence. These articles, along with RHR’s new issue “Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination,” are free to read online through the end of September. (This issue can be read alongside Public Culture‘s 2019 issue “Violence and Policing,” also free through September as part of our Police Violence Syllabus.)

Open-access books

Duke University Press has published many open-access books, all accessible here. Titles of interest include Ontological Terror: Blackness, Nihilism and Emancipation by Calvin L. Warren, Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson by Shana L. Redmond, The Race of Sound: Listening, Timbre, and Vocality in African American Music by Nina Sun Eidsheim, and An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti by Marcus Rainsford.

Black art resources from Nka

In recognition of the importance of art and visual culture in the history of struggle against racism, the following issues of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art are free online through the end of September:

Spring Awards

We’d like to celebrate our many authors who have earned various awards and honors for their books this spring. Congratulations!

Suzanne Preston Blier’s book Picasso’s Demoiselles has won the Robert Motherwell Book Award from the Dedalus Foundation and was also selected as a finalist for the PROSE Awards from the Association of American Publishers.

Nina Sun Eidsheim’s book The Race of Sound was selected as a finalist for the Big Other Book Award for Nonfiction from Big Other magazine.

Sasha Su-Ling Welland’s book Experimental Beijing has won the Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Post-1900) from the Association for Asian Studies (AAS).

Juno Salazar Parreñas’s book Decolonizing Extinction has received an honorable mention for the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (SEAC/AAS).

Renisa Mawani’s book Across Oceans of Law has won the AAAS History Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS).

The following books were selected as finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation: Beside You in Time by Elizabeth Freeman, Bloodflowers by W. Ian Bourland, Honeypot by E. Patrick Johnson, Queering Black Atlantic Religions by Roberto Strongman, and Trans Exploits by Jian Neo Chen.

Kathleen M. Millar’s book Reclaiming the Discarded was selected as a finalist for the SEA Book Prize from the Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA).

Matt Brim’s book Poor Queer Studies was selected as a finalist for the O.L. Davis, Jr. Outstanding Book Award from the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum.

Elspeth H. Brown’s book Work! was selected as a finalist for the Mary Jurich Nickliss Prize in US Women’s and/or Gender History from the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

Aren Z. Aizura’s book Mobile Subjects has won the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS).

Noémi Tousignant’s book Edges of Exposure has won the Ludwik Fleck Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Sara Ann Wylie’s book Fractivism has won the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Esther Gabara’s book Pop América, 1965–1975 has received an honorable mention for the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from the College Art Association (CAA).

We also congratulate our own Design Manager Amy Ruth Buchanan. She was honored by the Association of University Presses for her design of Susan Laxton’s book Surrealism at Play

Political Protests and Movements of Resistance Syllabus

politicalprotestsOur syllabi series highlights articles, books, and journal issues that encourage thoughtful discussion of today’s most pressing issues. The Political Protests and Movements of Resistance Syllabus, new today, lists titles that tackle topics of political protest, resistance, and activism. Subjects include transnational social movements, spatial reclamation, student occupation, protest literature, and more.

All journal articles and issues in this syllabus are freely available online until August 31, 2020. The books in this syllabus can be purchased from your local independent bookseller, from online booksellers, and at dukeupress.edu.

Start reading the Political Protests and Movements of Resistance Syllabus, or explore our full list of syllabi, many with free journals content.

New Books in June

Summer is just around the corner. As this new season begins, we’re releasing some exciting titles in history, art, anthropology, and more. Check out these brand new books arriving in June!

A Primer for Teaching Pacific Histories is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching Pacific histories for the first time or for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses. It can also serve those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, as well as teachers who want to incorporate Pacific histories into their world history courses.

In Disordering the Establishment, Lily Woodruff examines the development of artistic strategies of political resistance in France in the decades following World War II, showing how artists countered establishment ideology, challenged traditional art institutions, appealed to direct political engagement, and grappled with French intellectuals’ modeling of society.

Pointing out that presumptions of solidarity, antagonism, or incommensurability between Black and Native communities are insufficient to understand the relationships between both groups, the scholars, artists, and activists contributing to Otherwise Worlds investigate the complex relationships between settler colonialism and anti-Blackness to explore the political possibilities that emerge from such inquiries. This volume is edited by Tiffany Lethabo King, Jenell Navarro, and Andrea Smith.

In Trafficking, Hector Amaya examines how the dramatic escalation of drug violence in Mexico in 2008 transformed how people discussed violence and the rules of participation in the public sphere.

Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor draw on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in The Moral Triangle to explore the asymmetric relationships between Germans and Israeli and Palestinian immigrants in the context of official German policies, public discourse, and the impact of coming to terms with the past. You can watch Assistant Editor Sandra Korn interview Atshan and Galor here.

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