Books

The Best Books We Read in 2018

From literary fiction to graphic novels, 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 maybe find a few gift ideas for the holiday season.

Akwaeke_EmeziElizabeth Ault, Acquisitions Editor, recommends two books this year: “The best book I read in 2018 is definitely Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, the story of an Igbo-Tamil person whose bodymind is host to several ancient spirits/gods. It’s a stunning, poetic exploration of Igbo cosmologies, as well as of migration, gender, and dis/ability. The multiple voices in the book are brilliantly realized and distinctive, until they aren’t. I can’t wait to read it again.”

Alexander_MastersLiz Beasley, Managing Editor, recommends a biographical detective story: “I loved A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters. When Masters finds a large collection of diaries in a dumpster, a very slow (five-year) chase ensues as he tries to find their author. At turns fascinating, dull, and suspenseful, and full of charming Britishisms, this memoir/detective story is a delight. Spoiler alert: illustrations and photographs are included, so avoid the temptation to flip through the pages for clues!”

Jordy_RosenbergCourtney Berger, Executive Editor, recommends a debut LGBTQ-themed novel: “I tore through Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox during my summer vacation. A salty and smart retelling of the life of Jack Sheppard as a trans man, Rosenberg shows us an 18th-century London in the throes of imperial expansion and where the violences of racism, gender normativity, and class hierarchy are being countered by resistance. The book is framed by the story of Dr. Voth, whose discovery and annotation of Sheppard’s narrative likewise reveals the brutally extractive world of the corporate university as well as ongoing defiance to it. Great read for folks who love fiction and scholarly footnotes!”

Claudia_RankineJocelyn Dawson, Journals Marketing and Sales Manager, recommends the subject of a recent DUP staff book discussion: “The Press’s Equity and Inclusion group selected Citizen by Claudia Rankine for discussion in November. This beautifully written book intersperses art, poetry, and short essays to create a chilling portrait of racial aggression in the US. The book topped ‘best of the year’ lists for 2014 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the L.A. Times Book Prize, among many other awards.”

Alexandra_RowlandJessica Malitoris, an intern in Books Marketing, recommends a fantasy novel: “Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths is a fantastic tale about the power of stories, for good or ill. Chant, a traveling storyteller, finds himself on trial in a strange country for witchcraft. His desperate attempts to talk his way out of execution have repercussions not just for himself but for the entire country. Rowland’s writing—forceful, full of personality, and yet delicate—is a joy to read. I heartily recommend this book to any lovers of fantasy and perhaps even those who might not normally enjoy the genre.”

Patrick_NathanMichael McCullough, Books Marketing and Sales Senior Manager, recommends three LGBTQ-themed books this year: “Patrick Nathan’s Some Hell is the sad and powerful story of how a Minnesota family comes apart in the wake of a suicide. The focus is on the gay teenaged son and the mother, who are both—separately and in secret—reading through and protecting each other from the deceased father’s obsessive journals/notebooks, trying to understand his life and figure out how to keep going. It is hard to believe that this is a first novel, given the pinpoint control and maturity Nathan displays.

Andrew_Sean_Greer“On a much lighter note, I also read Less, Andrew Sean Greer’s hilarious novel about a minor gay novelist who puts together a deranged book tour to avoid his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. In a similar vein, My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley (one of my favorite writers) also features a middle-aged gay man who decides to flee San Francisco to escape the consequences of a failed relationship. McCauley’s three main characters are so funny, so appealing, so human, and so beleaguered by life that I was praying for a happy ending.”

Laurent_BinetChris Robinson, Copywriter in Books Marketing, recommends a book of literary fiction: “The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet is part detective caper, part alternative history, and a completely hilarious send-up of critical theory. Following the quest for Roman Jakobson’s mythical ‘seventh function of language’—which gives its possessor the ability to dictate the actions of other—readers learn the ‘real’ reason Althusser killed his wife, the motivations of the driver of the laundry truck that killed Barthes, Kristeva’s spycraft, a secret debate society, and a surprise revelation about Barack Obama. Anyone who has read even a bit of French theory should love this book.”

Emil_FerrisDan Ruccia, Designer in Journals Marketing, recommends a debut graphic novel: “My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris is a totally engrossing graphic novel about childhood, fitting in, Chicago in the late 1960s, monsters of various sorts, a mysterious murder, and so much more. The artwork is so vibrant and active, down to the lovingly recreated monster comic book covers that appear throughout. Can’t wait for the second volume!”

Celeste_NgLaura Sell, Publicity and Advertising Manager in Books Marketing, recommends a 2017 novel: “My favorite read of 2018 was Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. It’s the story of the apparently perfect Richardson family who live in apparently perfect Shaker Heights. Their perfect world is shattered when their close friends adopt a Chinese-American baby. The compelling story and carefully written characters bring up some uncomfortable truths for ‘liberal’ white readers without being overly preachy. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day and a half!”

Gerard_ReveMatt Tauch, Book Designer, recommends The Evenings by Gerard Reve: “I wasn’t aware of this author or his ‘Dutch postwar masterpiece’ before chancing upon a review in the Guardian some time ago. It was one quote from that review—‘I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again.’—that made me think ‘this sounds perfect.’ And, for me, it nearly was. Dry, dark (morose, occasionally to the point of macabre), and quietly hilarious, The Evenings follows our man Frits through ten droll days and damp Amsterdam nights leading up to New Year’s Eve 1946, his persistent neuroses forever in tow (others’ creeping baldness is of particular concern). But books aren’t all about content, right? Please consider also that this is the first and only English translation, and Pushkin has packaged it beautifully: wrapped in a gorgeously illustrated uncoated jacket and tucked in between the most precious light pink end papers.”

Oyinkan_BraithwaiteErica Woods Tucker, Production Coordinator, recommends My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: “This is such a smart, funny book that takes on themes of feminism while taking you through a wild romp into the lives of two sisters, one of whom obviously has the better end of the relationship. It’s a short book, so you can read it in one sitting. But since it’s short, I can’t give much away; but I will say, ‘This isn’t your average serial killer book.’ So if you like mystery-thrillers that make you think and laugh a bit, this one is for you.”

Thanks to our staff for another year of great reads and recommendations! We look forward to expanding our collective literary minds in 2019.

Q&A with Melissa Gregg, author of Counterproductive

GreggHeadshotMelissa Gregg is the Principal Engineer and Research Director, Client Computing Group at Intel, and author of the new book Counterproductive: Time Management in the Knowledge Economy. In Counterproductive, Gregg explores how productivity emerged as a way of thinking about job performance and shows how a focus on productivity isolates workers from one another, erasing their collective efforts to define work limits. We’re pleased to share an interview with her about the new book.

What sparked your interest in time management and the history of productivity culture? How has your own office-job experience influenced your study?

At one level I have always been fascinated by the way that some people seem to have an effortless ability to manage even the most intense workloads with grace and composure, while others really struggle to focus. I think this became more apparent when I joined a corporate job because time has a heightened cost in a publicly listed company. There are social pressures of accountability when you aren’t “getting things done” in a matrixed team environment. Those experiences can be intense, and can create a kind of dread when it seems as though you are not keeping up to speed, precisely in the athletic sense that the book describes. This differs from what my friends in contract careers deal with, trying to maintain motivation working from home or in a café on a temporary gig that may be the last paycheck for a while. It becomes very clear that time management problems aren’t the same in all of these situations. We need a better manual for living and working in a world where collective rituals and routines—and the respite they provide—are becoming harder to practice.

How have emergent technologies, like apps, reflected—or contributed to—an uptick in our obsession with productivity?

Software systems extend what is already a pervasive cultural desire in the United States for individuals to evince a strong work ethic. The convenience of having a mobile device always with you means it’s easier to establish this intimate infrastructure for living; to fully monitor and audit your activities since so many of them are digitally mediated. Apps bring a more obvious aesthetic to the productive lifestyle, making it simple, elegant and beautiful to organize your life, in the language of User Experience design (UX). Who can resist a tool that has a more reliable memory than you! But we do lock ourselves in to a bind by using technology to regulate our use of technology, whether for work or pleasure.

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What remedies does Counterproductive offer for a productivity-obsessed culture? How can we reclaim mindfulness as a tool for ourselves rather than as a method for coping with corporate life?

An appreciation of corporate history is a critical part of the remedy, including the curious self-help genres that have been used so often by so many. This book is deeply informed by my cultural studies training, and by the principle that popular culture is an index of capitalism’s contradictions. Self-help genres can be incredibly useful in the absence of more comprehensive social and economic change, especially for minorities faced with the anonymizing social wounds of large institutions. That’s one way of understanding the role of mindfulness today. It is a salve for too much productivity striving, the constant affective labor of knowledge work. But mindfulness is only bearable if it is not a smokescreen for solipsism. It has to adhere to an idea of collective withdrawal to be political. That is the post-work future we all need to build.

The preface to your book includes a deeply moving tribute to your mother. How does the personal inform your scholarship in Counterproductive?

To a much larger extent than I had realized! There was a moment when this wider purpose of reconciling her passing first became clear to me. It was during the auto-ethnographic component of the chapter on time management manuals, specifically while contemplating the insanity of David Allen’s directive to write a “Someday/Maybe list.” It struck me then how productivity gurus succeed by promising protection from the volatility of real life, the unpredictable nature of our own and others’ mortality. One can keep extremely occupied in the effort to manage time well, but this is also a socially sanctioned way to avoid thinking about bigger existential questions.

Do you think of Counterproductive as an activist text? In what ways? What impact do you hope to have on readers?

The book is fueled by a number of irritants: the outrageously mythologized figures in the history of management studies, for example, and the whole “bias towards action” ideology that pervades certain sectors of Silicon Valley. For a long time I have been channeling rage at the inequities of a world governed by the 1%, where so many brilliant minds are drowning in mid-rank organizational email and jockeying PowerPoint files instead of fighting to save the planet. Meanwhile real estate entrepreneurs drink champagne on yachts! I want to offer a catalyst against the myopia of present day workplace heroics, which is unfinished business from my last book, Work’s Intimacy. I also think we need better management theory that calls out the privileges inherent in industrial era labor divisions, including the delegation dynamic that so differently affects workers according to race, class and gender. These biases continue to govern the experience of work today, and I see that more clearly in the corporate sector. I would dearly like for more academics and writers to take this project on. Finally, Counterproductive concludes with a manifesto of ideas that draw from the best legacies of labor activism but for a vastly different economy. I hope that it prompts readers to think differently about their relationship to work, and the motivations behind the sacrifices that it necessarily entails.  

Pick up your paperback copy of Counterproductive for 30% off using coupon code E18GREGG on our website.

Q&A with Tamura Lomax, Author of Jezebel Unhinged

unnamedTamura Lomax is an independent scholar, the CEO and founder of The Feminist Wire, and author of Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture. We asked her a few questions about the new book, which Foreword has called “phenomenal,” “provocative,” and “an amazing pick for book clubs.”

What drew you to this topic? How did your own experience in the Black Church, including your background as a “preacher’s kid,” affect your research or approach?

The conundrum I experienced after moving from my childhood church and community in Syracuse, NY, a Black Church in a working-class black community, to Mill Valley, CA, a predominantly white and wealthy environment, at age fourteen, turned my world upside down. Privileged white teenagers have a way of making you hyperaware of your difference. And not only their belief in your purported racial difference but your supposed sexual and gender difference. I will never forget the stares, the comments, the whispers, the laughter, the jokes. I was a dark-skinned black girl from the east coast, and clearly, I was alien to them. Their obsession with me, particularly my blackness, gender, femininity, and sexuality, launched my critical consciousness into overdrive.

Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the day my new friends referred to me as a monkey who “crave[d] and provide[d] sex to anyone and anything.” While I had not yet read Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1967), this was indeed my first “Look, a Negro!” moment—the point of sudden objecthood, nonbeing, fixation, bursting apart, and being put back together—by another self. To be sure, I had known what it meant to be placed under the gaze of another. I knew the feeling of being misread, sexualized, and even lusted after as an adolescent. Unfortunately, I learned these lessons, first, through older and grown men—within my previous black community, the Black Church, and the music and culture that I loved: Hip Hop. As I write in the Prolegomenon, the hypersexualization of young black girls is fierce early on.

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My earliest memory is at age eleven when a church elder told my parents he could not focus during altar call because he was enraptured by my pubescent derriere (x-xi). Rather than calling out his rapey pedophilic wantonness, I was made to feel shame, as if my body had done something wrong without my consent. I struggled with the cultural psyche around black femininity and all of the sexual messaging, not to mention my own conflicting responses. On one hand, I loved raunchy Hip Hop music that admittedly sexually objectified black women and girls, while on the other, I detested the pedophilic stares of older men and boys in my church and community, and more, the racist and sexist gazing of my new high school friends in California. And as much as these gazes were the same, to me, they felt slightly different. That dreadful day in California changed the course of my life and how I saw the world and interpreted my place in it.

I did everything to change my high school friends’ reading of me—to the point of de-sexualization. I wanted to be a “proper” black girl—a lady in training, as I was taught to be at home and in the Black Church, not a libidinous monkey. This kind of sexualized marking, I had not known. I remember going home and journaling about the incident right after it happened. My eyes welled up with tears as I made my entry. This was not an innocent case of teasing and hurt feelings. As a young girl I was taught that sex before marriage was bad and that sexualization is the fault of so-called “fast” and promiscuous girls or women. Meaning that black girls or women are sexualized because they have acted in an allegedly sexually “loose” manner. I learned the latter was sin. And not only that, this was a transgression seemingly particular to black women and girls.

Full disclosure: I was in no way perfect. But I was a “good girl.” Or at least I tried to be. If I caught myself being “loose”—“fast tailed,” sexual, sexualized, or appreciating base music and lyrics more than a “good girl” should, I could at least fix that. I could take responsibility for where I went or what I did wrong and repent, therefore releasing myself from temptress status and gaining “good girl” prestige again. But not this day. I cried quiet painful tears because the sexualized savagery assigned to me—and black girls everywhere—by my high school friends could not be as quickly remedied. I was not merely hypersexualized but animalized—in harmony. Further, I was inherently problemed. I could neither disrobe of nor cover my blackness nor reencode my black femaleness. And I could neither pray it away nor bathe it in Black Church respectability as I had been taught. Rather, I was indelibly marked. Or, so I thought.

The rhetorical marking of these collective gazes—from the church to my new white friends to my favorite music and so on—made me feel psychically, emotionally, and communally estranged. And I was not alone. I learned later that each of these projections spring forth from essentialist discourses on black womanhood. And while they sometimes feel different, they have more in common than not. They are all overdetermining. And they all sting, just differently perhaps. I will never get over being called a monkey and thusly being situated outside of the human race. But neither will I ever come to terms with the hypersexualization that happens to young girls and women in black communities and the posturing of black female bodies and sexual decision-making in sin—as something needing constant fixing and redemption.

I am convinced it is because of such relentless stereotyping and signifying that black Americans in general are so religious, especially black women. Sin and shame have long taken up residence in our bodies and consequentially our minds. Jezebel Unhinged not only works within these tensions, it attempts to do the work of “undoing,” of naming anxieties, antagonisms, and social-cultural-structural-epistemic evils, and the significant psychic, emotional, and communal breaks they cause. It does this work through an iconoclastic critique of racism, sexism, heterosexism, the Black Church, and black popular culture. And I do so intentionally not as a theologian tasked with proving certain truths about God, but rather as a black feminist scholar of religion, or more precisely, a black feminist-religio-cultural theorist, interested in exploring how discourse, power, knowledge, meanings, language, and grammars get invested with truth claims about God, people, and cultures.

Still, I approached this study as one well aware of my personal and professional location—as one reared in the Black Church and as one who has experienced the collective function of antiblack and sexist re/presentational mythmaking, which affects not only persons but relations, social arrangements, ways of seeing, politics, institutions, and treatment, first hand—within and well beyond the Black Church. That said, I endeavored to do this critical work without “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” The latter is a mistake too many critics make, thus making their analyses irrelevant. (more…)

Design Principles for Teaching History

Today we’re pleased to showcase the four books that currently comprise our Design Principles for Teaching History series, edited by Antoinette Burton. The most recent addition, A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, is newly available this season.

Books in this series provide a guide for college and secondary school teachers who are teaching a particular field of history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate specific topics into their history courses. These books are not intended to serve as a textbook nor advocate a particular school of thought. Rather, informed by the authors’ experiences in the classroom, they provide a guide to developing a syllabus around an integrated set of arguments and conceptual orientations. Ideal for teachers of all experience levels, the titles in this series help translate expert knowledge of a field into effective and thoughtful pedagogical strategies for a range of practitioners.

The series currently includes A Primer for Teaching World History, edited by Antoinette Burton; A Primer for Teaching African History, edited by Trevor Getz; A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, edited by Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry; and A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, edited by Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby.

ckn_24_3_coverAlso of interest is a newly published issue of Common Knowledge: the second part of a two-part symposium titled “In the Humanities Classroom.” The first set of case studies described particular pedagogical experiences rather than simply making general arguments about the value of the humanities. In its recently published second set of case studiesCommon Knowledge continues this approach of describing in detail the excitement and discovery that can occur in a particular humanities class but also expands upon the first to include the voices of graduate students and an undergraduate and to delineate the process by which one teacher put together an online course. This special section argues that descriptions of specific classroom experiences and of the careful planning and passionate commitment of teachers may help to cling to the moral values both professors and their students seem to need and want in troubled times. Article topics include “Teaching Western Civilization,” “Teaching an Online Course,” and “When History Meets Politics.”

Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day

In honor of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence Day, we’re pleased to present a selection of books that delve into the rich history and culture of the nation.

978-0-9987451-0-7Circles and Circuits, a richly illustrated exhibition catalog edited by Alexandra Chang, examines artistic production in Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Panama, where large immigrant populations and political, economic, and socio-cultural conditions enabled the development of rich art practices in the Chinese diasporic community. This catalog accompanied an exhibition of the same name, presented at the California African American Museum and at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.

Demonstrating how spirituality is inextricable from the political project of black liberation, in Spiritual Citizenship N. Fadeke Castor illustrates the ways in which Ifá/Orisha beliefs and practices offer Trinidadians the means to strengthen belonging throughout the diaspora, access past generations, heal historical wounds, and envision a decolonial future.

978-0-8223-6870-0In Erotic Islands, Lyndon K. Gill foregrounds the queer histories of Carnival, calypso, and HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, mapping a long queer presence in the Caribbean.

David McDermott Hughes, in Energy without Conscience, investigates why climate change has yet to be seen as a moral issue, examining the forces that render the use of fossil fuels ordinary and therefore exempt from ethical evaluation. Hughes centers his analysis on Trinidad and Tobago, drawing parallels between Trinidad’s eighteenth- and nineteenth-century slave labor energy economy and its contemporary oil industry.

978-0-8223-5774-2Roy Cape, a Trinidadian saxophonist, is known throughout the islands and the Caribbean diaspora in North America and Europe. Part ethnography, part biography, and part Caribbean music history, Roy Cape is about the making of reputation and circulation, and about the meaning of labor and work ethics. An experiment in storytelling, it joins Roy’s voice with that of ethnomusicologist Jocelyne Guilbault.

In Thiefing Sugar, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley explores the poetry and prose of Caribbean women writers, revealing in their imagery a rich tradition of erotic relations between women. Tinsley is also author of the new book Ezili’s Mirrors, which theorizes black Atlantic sexuality by tracing how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers and performers evoke the Ezili pantheon of Vodoun spirits, which represent the divine forces of love, sexuality, prosperity, pleasure, maternity, creativity, and fertility.

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We’ve published several works by and about Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James, one of the most significant historians and Marxist theorists of the twentieth century. The Life of Captain Cipriani, James’s earliest full-length work of nonfiction, is based on his interviews with Arthur Andrew Cipriani, a captain with the British West Indies Regiment during the First World War who later became a Trinidadian political leader and advocate for West Indian self-government. Christian Høgsbjerg’s C. L. R. James in Imperial Britain chronicles James’s life and work during his first extended stay in Britain, revealing the radicalizing effect of this critical period on James’s intellectual and political trajectory. C. L. R. James’s Caribbean, edited by Paget Henry and Paul Buhle, examine the roots of both James’s life and oeuvre in connection with the economic, social, and political environment of the West Indies. For more on this important figure, explore our series The C. L. R. James Archives.

978-0-8223-3388-3Mixing—whether referred to as mestizaje, callaloo, hybridity, creolization, or multiculturalism—is a foundational cultural trope in Caribbean and Latin American societies. As Aisha Khan shows in Callaloo Nation, ideas about mixing reveal the tension that exists between identity as a source of equality and identity as an instrument through which social and cultural hierarchies are reinforced. Focusing on the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean, Khan examines this paradox as it is expressed in key dimensions of Hindu and Muslim cultural history and social relationships in southern Trinidad.

In Bacchanalian Sentiments, Kevin K. Birth argues that Trinidadian musical genres and traditions such as soca, parang, and chutney not only provide a soundtrack to daily life on the southern Caribbean island; they are central to the ways that Trinidadians experience and navigate their social lives and interpret political events.

978-0-8223-4226-7-frontcoverOur Caribbean is an anthology of lesbian and gay writing from across the Antilles, gathering outstanding fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry by little-known writers together with selections by internationally celebrated figures such as José Alcántara Almánzar, Reinaldo Arenas, Dionne Brand, Michelle Cliff, Audre Lorde, Achy Obejas, and Assotto Saint.

Offering an innovative analysis of how ideas of Indian identity negotiated within the Indian diaspora in Trinidad affect cultural identities “back home,” in Mobilizing India Tejaswini Niranjana draws on nineteenth-century travel narratives, anthropological and historical studies of Trinidad, Hindi film music, and the lyrics, performance, and reception of chutney-soca and calypso songs to argue that perceptions of Indian female sexuality in Trinidad have long been central to the formation and disruption of dominant narratives of nationhood, modernity, and normative sexuality in India.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a day honored by the United Nations. This year’s theme is indigenous people’s migration and movement. The UN writes:

“As a result of loss of their lands, territories and resources due to development and other pressures, many indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas in search of better prospects of life, education and employment. They also migrate between countries to escape conflict, persecution and climate change impacts. Despite the widespread assumption that indigenous peoples live overwhelmingly in rural territories, urban areas are now home to a significant proportion of indigenous populations. In Latin America, around 40 per cent of all indigenous peoples live in urban areas — even 80 per cent in some countries of the region. In most cases, indigenous peoples who migrate find better employment opportunities and improve their economic situation but alienate themselves from their traditional lands and customs. Additionally, indigenous migrants face a myriad of challenges, including lack of access to public services and additional layers of discrimination.”

We invite you to learn about the various issues affecting indigenous peoples by reading some of our latest scholarship in native and indigenous studies.

978-1-4780-0023-5Ethnographies of U.S. Empire, edited by Carole McGranahan and John F. Collins, presents scholarship from across U.S. imperial formations: settler colonialism, overseas territories, communities impacted by U.S. military action or political intervention, Cold War alliances and fissures, and, most recently, new forms of U.S. empire after 9/11. From the Mohawk Nation, Korea, and the Philippines to Iraq and the hills of New Jersey, the contributors show how a methodological and theoretical commitment to ethnography sharpens our understandings of the ways people live, thrive, and resist in the imperial present.

In Colonial Lives of Property Brenna Bhandar examines how modern property law contributes to the formation of racial subjects in settler colonies and to the development of racial capitalism. Examining both historical cases and ongoing processes of settler colonialism in Canada, Australia, and Israel and Palestine, Bhandar shows how the colonial appropriation of indigenous lands depends upon ideologies of European racial superiority as well as upon legal narratives that equate civilized life with English concepts of property.

ddeh_64_1_coverEthnohistory reflects the wide range of current scholarship inspired by anthropological and historical approaches to the human condition around the world, but with a particular emphasis on the Americas. Of particular interest are those analyses and interpretations that seek to make evident the experiences, organizations, and identities of indigenous, diasporic, and minority peoples that otherwise elude the histories and anthropologies of nations, states, and colonial empires. The journal welcomes a theoretical and cross-cultural discussion of ethnohistorical materials and publishes work from the disciplines of art history, geography, literature, archaeology, anthropology, and history, among others. Recent special issue topics include “Native American Slavery in the Seventeenth Century” and “Colonial Mesoamerican Literacy: Method, Form, and Consequence.”

978-0-8223-6994-3Dana E. Powell, in Landscapes of Powerexamines the rise and fall of the controversial Desert Rock Power Plant initiative in New Mexico to trace the political conflicts surrounding native sovereignty and contemporary energy development on Navajo (Diné) Nation land.  Examining the labor of activists, artists, politicians, elders, technicians, and others, Powell emphasizes the generative potential of Navajo resistance to articulate a vision of autonomy in the face of twenty-first-century colonial conditions.

In Art for an Undivided Earth Jessica L. Horton reveals how the spatial philosophies underlying the American Indian Movement (AIM) were refigured by a generation of artists searching for new places to stand. Upending the assumption that Jimmie Durham, James Luna, Kay WalkingStick, Robert Houle, and others were primarily concerned with identity politics, she joins them in remapping the coordinates of a widely shared yet deeply contested modernity that is defined in great part by the colonization of the Americas.

978-0-8223-6368-2In The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen Noenoe K. Silva reconstructs the indigenous intellectual history of a culture where—using Western standards—none is presumed to exist. Silva examines the work of two lesser-known Hawaiian writers—Joseph Ho‘ona‘auao Kanepu‘u and Joseph Moku‘ohai Poepoe—to show how the rich intellectual history preserved in Hawaiian-language newspapers is key to understanding Native Hawaiian epistemology and ontology.

Critically Sovereign, 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. Following the politics of gender, sexuality, and feminism across diverse historical and cultural contexts, the contributors question and reframe the thinking about Indigenous knowledge, nationhood, citizenship, history, identity, belonging, and the possibilities for a decolonial future.

978-0-8223-6297-5What does it mean to say that Native peoples exist in the present?  In Beyond Settler Time Mark Rifkin investigates the dangers of seeking to include Indigenous peoples within settler temporal frameworks. Claims that Native peoples should be recognized as coeval with Euro-Americans, Rifkin argues, implicitly treat dominant non-native ideologies and institutions as the basis for defining time itself. Drawing on physics, phenomenology, queer studies, and postcolonial theory, Rifkin develops the concept of “settler time” to address how Native peoples are both consigned to the past and inserted into the present in ways that normalize non-native histories, geographies, and expectations.

Bolivian Independence Day

Today is Bolivian Independence Day, and in honor of the occasion, we’re sharing some of our most significant scholarship on Bolivia.

978-0-8223-7152-6We’re pleased to announce the recent publication of The Bolivia Reader, which provides a panoramic view, from antiquity to the present, of the history, culture, and politics of a country known for its ethnic and regional diversity, its rich natural resources and dilemmas of economic development, and its political conflict and creativity. Featuring both classic and little-known texts ranging from fiction, memoir, and poetry to government documents, journalism, and political speeches, the volume challenges stereotypes of Bolivia as a backward nation while offering insights into the country’s history of mineral extraction, revolution, labor organizing, indigenous peoples’ movements, and much more.

978-0-8223-7108-3In Domesticating Democracy Susan Helen Ellison examines foreign-funded alternate dispute resolution (ADR) organizations that provide legal aid and conflict resolution to vulnerable citizens in El Alto, Bolivia. Ellison shows that these programs do more than just help residents cope with their interpersonal disputes and economic troubles—they also aim to change the ways Bolivians interact with the state and with global capitalism, making them into self-reliant citizens.

Many of Bolivia’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens work as vendors in the Cancha mega-market in the city of Cochabamba, where they must navigate systems of informality and illegality in order to survive. In Owners of the Sidewalk Daniel M. Goldstein examines the ways these systems correlate in the marginal spaces of the Latin American city, showing how the state’s deliberate neglect and criminalization of the Cancha’s poor—a practice common to neoliberal modern cities—makes the poor exploitable and consigns them to an insecure existence.

978-0-8223-6045-2Also by Daniel Goldstein, Outlawed reveals how indigenous residents of marginal neighborhoods in Cochabamba struggle to balance security with rights. Feeling abandoned to the crime and violence that grip their communities, they sometimes turn to vigilante practices, including lynching, to apprehend and punish suspected criminals. Goldstein describes those in this precarious position as “outlawed”: not protected from crime by the law but forced to comply with legal measures in other areas of their lives, their solutions to protection criminalized while their needs for security are ignored. Outlawed illuminates the complex interconnections between differing definitions of security and human rights at the local, national, and global levels.

978-0-8223-5617-2Earth Politics by Waskar Ari focuses on the lives of four indigenous activist-intellectuals in Bolivia, key leaders in the Alcaldes Mayores Particulares (AMP), a movement established to claim rights for indigenous education and reclaim indigenous lands from hacienda owners. Depicting the social worlds and life work of the activists, Ari traverses Bolivia’s political and social landscape from the 1920s into the early 1970s, revealing the AMP’s extensive geographic reach, genuine grassroots quality, and vibrant regional diversity.

Between 2000 and 2005, Bolivia was radically transformed by a series of popular indigenous uprisings against the country’s neoliberal and antidemocratic policies. In Rhythms of the Pachakuti, Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar documents these mass collective actions, tracing the internal dynamics of such disruptions to consider how motivation and execution incite political change.

978-0-8223-4546-6During the mid-1990s, a bilingual intercultural education initiative was launched to promote the introduction of indigenous languages alongside Spanish in public elementary schools in Bolivia’s indigenous regions. Drawing on his collaborative work with indigenous organizations and bilingual-education activists as well as more traditional ethnographic research, Bret Gustafson, in New Languages of the State, traces two decades of indigenous resurgence and education politics in Bolivia, from the 1980s through the election of Evo Morales in 2005.

A Revolution for Our Rights by Laura Gotkowitz is a critical reassessment of the causes and significance of the Bolivian Revolution of 1952. Historians have tended to view the revolution as the result of class-based movements that accompanied the rise of peasant leagues, mineworker unions, and reformist political projects in the 1930s. Challenging conventional wisdom, Gotkowitz argues that the revolution had deeper roots in the indigenous struggles for land and justice that swept through Bolivia during the first half of the twentieth century.

978-0-8223-4154-3-frontcoverCombining anthropological methods and theories with political philosophy, in El Alto, Rebel City Sian Lazar analyzes everyday practices and experiences of citizenship in El Alto, Bolivia, where more than three-quarters of the population identify as indigenous Aymara. For several years, El Alto has been at the heart of resistance to neoliberal market reforms, such as the export of natural resources and the privatization of public water systems. Lazar examines the values, practices, and conflicts behind the astonishing political power exercised by El Alto citizens in the twenty-first century.

Unequal Cures by Ann Zulawski illuminates the connections between public health and political change in Bolivia from the beginning of the twentieth century, when the country was a political oligarchy, until the eve of the 1952 national revolution that ushered in universal suffrage, agrarian reform, and the nationalization of Bolivia’s tin mines. Zulawski examines both how the period’s major ideological and social transformations changed medical thinking and how ideas of public health figured in debates about what kind of country Bolivia should become.

Summer Reading Recommendations from our Staff

Heading on vacation soon? Or just retreating inside to read on these hot days? Our staff love to read and we’re happy to offer some of their suggestions for your summer reading list.

WordsonBathroomWallsCustomer Relations Representative Camille Wright recommends Julia Walton’s Words on Bathroom Walls. “This is a young adult novel bringing awareness to mental illnesses and warming hearts with an interracial love story. Adam’s journey sheds light on what it might be like to deal with the diagnosis and symptoms of schizophrenia as a teenager in high school. As he begins his junior year at a new school, St. Agatha’s Catholic School, he attempts to keep his schizophrenia a secret from his classmates and friends. A clinical trial medication helps him determine if people, objects, and voices are real or hallucinations but the secret becomes harder to keep once the medication begins to fail. Adam’s story is told through his coping mechanism – extremely honest, sarcastic, and funny journal entries to psychiatrist.”

TrulyMadlyGuiltyJournals Marketing Manager Jocelyn Dawson says, “If you enjoyed the television series Big Little Lies, check out Truly Madly Guilty, also written by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty is an Australian author with a gift for compelling plots (crucial for summer reading) and realistic characters. I found myself still thinking about the people in the book days after I finished it.”

WhatItMeansEditor Elizabeth Ault’s summer reading is Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. She says, “I’d slept on the collection, which came out last spring and is now out in paperback, because I’m not normally a fan of short stories, but hearing a couple of the pieces from this book on LeVar Burton’s podcast intrigued me. I’m finding a lot of literary fiction novels too heavy right now and Arimah’s stories, blending Nigeria, Minneapolis, family, work, romance, and an occasional dose of magical realism, all framed with a wry sense of humor are hitting the spot. The stories are deep and wise, but also super YouThinkItIllSayItfunny and just the right length (which means they sometimes feel too short).”

Journals Publicist and Exhibits Coordinator Katie Smart also recommends a story collection: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. “Much like everything else that Sittenfeld has written—I couldn’t put it down. Each short story in this book is linked to a game that two characters play in ​a  story in the collection. The “You Think It, I’ll Say It” game is all about passing judgement on people from observation only, not from actual interactions. Time and again we see the main characters of each short story building false narratives and limiting beliefs in their mind (and in many cases becoming consumed by them) before discovering that all along things weren’t as they had initially seemed. Sittenfeld is an excellent storyteller, and each set of characters and situations is unique and refreshing. I appreciated her attempts at humanizing her characters while also unapologetically displaying their flaws.​ This collection was so good that I found myself quickly starting the next story, even when I intended to set the book down for the day.”

FlashSenior Project Editor Charles Brower is looking forward to reading: Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous, by Christopher Bonanos, the first full-length biography of the great noir photographer (“If I can hold off a month before digging into it, he says.) “Probably my most eagerly anticipated novel of the year, Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, in which the main character is serving two consecutive life sentences in a California women’s prison for killing a man that was stalking her. Perfect for the beach!”

Publicity and Advertising Manager Laura Sell HighSeasonsuggests a beach read that actually takes place at the beach: The High Season by Judy Blundell. She says, “This is a gossipy book poking fun at the super-rich who head for the Hamptons every summer and a fun skewering of the art world and its rich board members whom many nonprofit toilers will recognize. Suspenseful and well-written, I breezed through it in two days.”

FireontheMountainEditorial Associate Sandra Korn says, “I’ve been listening to Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown’s podcast about apocalypse called How to Survive the End of the World (my summer listening recommendation!) and thinking a lot about the role of science fiction in imagining different futures. So I’m reading Terry Bisson’s 1988 utopian novel Fire on the MountainPM Press published a new edition in 2009 with a powerful introduction from Mumia Abu-JamalThe story is set in 1959 in Nova Africa, the independent socialist country that was founded after John Brown and Harriet Tubman led a successful raid on Harper’s Ferry. Nova Africa is about to make its second Mars landing and one of the main characters, a teenager named Harriet Odinga, has incredible space-age ‘living shoes’ from Africa that conform to her feet as she wears Venusiathem.”

Copywriter Chris Robinson also suggests some speculative fiction, but leans toward the dystopian: “Venusia by Mark von Schlegell is one of the most absolutely bonkers books I’ve read. Imagine China Mieville and Jean Baudrillard getting really stoned and co-writing a postmodern dystopian sci-fi pulp novel: set in a 23rd century totalitarian colony on Venus where the residents only eat hallucinogenic flowers, sentient plants are telepathic, and a junk dealer, psychiatrist, and secret agent explore the meanings of reality, perception, and consciousness. At least that’s what I think is going on.”

PalisadesParkProject Editor Sara Leone says she read Palisades Park by Alan Brennert a few years ago and loved it so much she recently re-read it. “The author evokes Dickens in his detailed descriptions of daily life and dreams from the 1920s through the 1970s. The novel has a broad range of characters, including wanderers willing to take on any job to survive the Depression, women dreaming of daring careers like high diving, courageous citizens battling to end segregation in swimming pools, and of course the workers in the park whose lives connect and change with each new summer season. Salt water, New York/New Jersey culture, and the evolving perception of amusements in America are the backdrop. Plus it’s a fun read if, like me, you were a kid hearing the Palisades Park jingle on the radio every summer on the NY stations!”

Stay cool and happy reading!

 

 

Series Launch: On Decoloniality

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

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

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

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

2019 Pricing Now Available

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

New titles join the 2019 journals list

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

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

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

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

New e-book subject collections

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

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

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

Tikkun ceases publication

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

Direct subscriptions now available for two mathematics titles

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

Change in frequency for History of Political Economy

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

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

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