Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies

Unpacking Tourism

ddrhr_129Tourism shapes popular fantasies of adventure, structures urban and natural space, creates knowledge around difference, and demands an array of occupations servicing the insatiable needs of those who travel for leisure. Even as migrants and refugees have become targets of ire from far-right parties, international tourism has grown worldwide.

The most recent issue of Radical History Review, “Unpacking Tourism,” posits a radical approach to the study of tourism, highlighting how tourism as a paradigmatic modern encounter bleeds into diplomacy, militarism, and empire building. Contributors investigate, among other topics, how the United States has used tourism in Latin America as a tool of interventionist foreign policy, how Bethlehem’s Manger Square has become a contested space between Palestinians and the Israeli state, how Spain’s economy increasingly relies on northern European tourists, and how the US military’s Cold War–era guidebooks attempted to convert soldiers stationed abroad into “ambassadors of goodwill.”

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

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.


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.


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.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

InternationalWomensDay-portraitToday is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Since the early 1900s, this day has been a powerful platform that unifies tenacity and drives action for gender parity globally. IWD organizers are calling on supporters to help forge a better-working and more gender-inclusive world. In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, we are pleased to share these recent books and journals from Duke University Press that support this year’s IWD theme: #BeBoldForChange.

a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly

tsq_new_prThis special double issue of TSQ goes beyond the simplistic dichotomy between an exclusionary transphobic feminism and an inclusive trans-affirming feminism. Exploring the ways in which trans issues are addressed within feminist and women’s organizations and social movements around the world, contributors ask how trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary issues are related to feminist movements today, what kind of work is currently undertaken in the name of trans/feminism, what new paradigms and visions are emerging, and what questions still need to be taken up. Central to this special issue is the recognition that trans/feminist politics cannot restrict itself to the domain of gender alone.

This issue features numerous shorter works that represent the diversity of trans/feminist practices and problematics and, in addition to original research articles, includes theory, reports, manifestos, opinion pieces, reviews, and creative/artistic productions, as well as republished key documents of trans/feminist history and international scholarship.

Living a Feminist Life

978-0-8223-6319-4In Living a Feminist Life Sara Ahmed shows how feminist theory is generated from everyday life and the ordinary experiences of being a feminist at home and at work. Building on legacies of feminist of color scholarship in particular, Ahmed offers a poetic and personal meditation on how feminists become estranged from worlds they critique—often by naming and calling attention to problems—and how feminists learn about worlds from their efforts to transform them. Ahmed also provides her most sustained commentary on the figure of the feminist killjoy introduced in her earlier work while showing how feminists create inventive solutions—such as forming support systems—to survive the shattering experiences of facing the walls of racism and sexism. The killjoy survival kit and killjoy manifesto, with which the book concludes, supply practical tools for how to live a feminist life, thereby strengthening the ties between the inventive creation of feminist theory and living a life that sustains it.

1970s Feminisms
a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly

ddsaq_114_4For more than a decade, feminist historians and historiographers have engaged in challenging the “third wave” portrait of 1970s feminism as essentialist, white, middle-class, uninterested in racism, and theoretically naive. This task has involved setting the record straight about women’s liberation by interrogating how that image took hold in the public imagination and among academic feminists. This issue invites feminist theorists to return to women’s liberation—to the texts, genres, and cultural productions to which the movement gave rise—for a more nuanced look at its conceptual and political consequences. The essays in this issue explore such topics as the ambivalent legacies of women’s liberation; the production of feminist subjectivity in mass culture and abortion documentaries; the political effects of archiving Chicana feminism; and conceptual and generic innovations in the work of Gayle Rubin, Christine Delphy, and Shulamith Firestone.

The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland

978-0-8223-6286-9In The Revolution Has Come Robyn C. Spencer traces the Black Panther Party’s organizational evolution in Oakland, California, where hundreds of young people came to political awareness and journeyed to adulthood as members. Challenging the belief that the Panthers were a projection of the leadership, Spencer draws on interviews with rank-and-file members, FBI files, and archival materials to examine the impact the organization’s internal politics and COINTELPRO’s political repression had on its evolution and dissolution. She shows how the Panthers’ members interpreted, implemented, and influenced party ideology and programs; initiated dialogues about gender politics; highlighted ambiguities in the Panthers’ armed stance; and criticized organizational priorities. Spencer also centers gender politics and the experiences of women and their contributions to the Panthers and the Black Power movement as a whole. Providing a panoramic view of the party’s organization over its sixteen-year history, The Revolution Has Come shows how the Black Panthers embodied Black Power through the party’s international activism, interracial alliances, commitment to address state violence, and desire to foster self-determination in Oakland’s black communities.

Reconsidering Gender, Violence, and the State
a special issue of Radical History Review

ddrhr_126In bringing together a geographically and temporally broad range of interdisciplinary historical scholarship, this issue of Radical History Review offers an expansive examination of gender, violence, and the state. Through analyses of New York penitentiaries, anarchists in early twentieth-century Japan, and militarism in the 1990s, contributors reconsider how historical conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the persistence of and punishments for gendered violence. The contributors to a section on violence and activism challenge the efficacy of state solutions to gendered violence in a contemporary US context, highlighting alternatives posited by radical feminist and queer activists. In five case studies drawn from South Africa, India, Ireland, East Asia, and Nigeria, contributors analyze the archive’s role in shaping current attitudes toward gender, violence, and the state, as well as its lasting imprint on future quests for restitution or reconciliation. This issue also features a visual essay on the “false positives” killings in Colombia and an exploration of Zanale Muholi’s postapartheid activist photography.

Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology

978-0-8223-6295-1The editors and contributors to Color of Violence ask: What would it take to end violence against women of color? Presenting the fierce and vital writing of INCITE!’s organizers, lawyers, scholars, poets, and policy makers, Color of Violence radically repositions the antiviolence movement by putting women of color at its center. The contributors shift the focus from domestic violence and sexual assault and map innovative strategies of movement building and resistance used by women of color around the world. The volume’s thirty pieces—which include poems, short essays, position papers, letters, and personal reflections—cover violence against women of color in its myriad forms, manifestations, and settings, while identifying the links between gender, militarism, reproductive and economic violence, prisons and policing, colonialism, and war. At a time of heightened state surveillance and repression of people of color, Color of Violence is an essential intervention.

World Policy Interrupted
a special issue of World Policy Journal

wpj33_4_23_frontcover_fppThis issue is penned entirely by female foreign policy experts and journalists and “imagines a world where we wouldn’t need to interpret to be heard at the table. In reconstructing a media landscape where the majority of foreign policy experts quoted, bylined, and miked are not men, we quickly gain deeper insight into a complex world, one historically narrated by only one segment of society,” co-editors Elmira Bayrasli and Lauren Bohn write. Bayrasli and Bohn lead Foreign Policy Interrupted, a program that mentors, develops, and amplifies the voices of women in the international policy field. Foreign Policy Interrupted combats the industry’s gender disparity through a visibility platform and a cohesive fellowship program, including media training and meaningful mentoring at partnering media institutions. The program helps women break both internal and external barriers.

Stay up to date on women’s studies scholarship with these journals on gender studies, feminist theory, queer theory, and gay and lesbian studies:

Camera Obscura
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies


Interview with Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller

We recently sat down with new Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller to discuss his background, how he’d like to shape the journal in the future, and plans for upcoming special issues. To learn more about Ethnohistory, visit

How did you come to be co-editor of this journal?

ddeh_64_1Matthew Restall [former co-editor of Ethnohistory] is a colleague and friend of mine and when he had served the journal for almost 10 years, he asked me if I would be interested in taking over the position from him. I’ve been a long-time follower and sometime author in Ethnohistory. My work in early colonial Mexico and especially my work in Nahuatl was very close to the journal, so it was a fun opportunity.

How would you like to shape the journal in the future?

What I really want to do is continue to emphasize high quality work on the rest of the Americas. Ethnohistory always has had very strong pieces on British and French North America. For the last ten to fifteen years the journal has included increasingly important pieces on what we now consider Latin America and I want to continue that tradition. Many of the articles have come from Mesoamerica—that’s Mexico and Central America. We have published a little bit in South America and we now have a couple of articles in the queue focused on South America. I would like to expand the offerings for Mesoamerica and South America significantly, so we have a really great presence for both continents in the journal.

What are some under-researched areas that you hope to publish about in the future?

I think, in terms of the profession at large it may not be as underserved, but there are certainly a lot of native peoples of South America that have not been covered sufficiently. We’re only beginning to see some really good studies of some of the native peoples of South America, and I would love to see more ethnohistories of peoples from South America.

Do you have any plans for upcoming special issues?

We have two proposals for special issues right now. One deals with Nahuatl speaking people, and I’m very excited about that. It’s an outgrowth of a panel at the American Society for Ethnohistory meeting in Nashville [November 2016] in which we looked at language and cultural identity in modern Mexico. We had several native Nahuatl speakers who were part of the panel. The organizers of the panel have asked if Ethnohistory would be interested in looking at the papers and the presentations for a special issue and I’ve told them absolutely. If it comes to fruition, at least one or perhaps two of the shorter presentations will be in Nahuatl with English translations.

What are you looking for in submissions?

I’m excited about everything. I really want people to think of Ethnohistory as an important place for their work to appear if they work on native peoples of the Americas.

Obviously with the revolution in languages that we’ve had since the 1970s, many of us are very excited by documentation and works based on documentation in native languages. We need not be blind to the fact that there still are valid and important sources that are only Spanish, Portuguese, English, or French, that can also enlighten us as to the history of native peoples.

To learn more about the journal or to subscribe, visit To submit your work to the journal, review the submission guidelines.

Labor and Empire

ddlab_13_3_4In the most recent issue of Labor, “Land and Empire,” edited by Leon Fink and Julie Greene, contributors consider the question: “Who built the US empire?” By taking us into the world of working class people across North and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, the essays in this double issue recount a history of empire building focused on the interconnections between capitalist and state expansionism.

Topics include labor and resistance in the US Army during the Civil War, Imperial politics of Filipino labor, Puerto Rican laborers in the Dominican Republic, and the decolonization of Korean labor under US occupation, among others.

From the introduction:

The articles in this double issue of Labor thus emerge from and reflect an exciting field of historical research and intellectual engagement, including new directions in transnational and imperial history and renewed engagement in both of these fields by labor historians. Together they demonstrate the inextricable connections between the history of US empire and the history of labor. The articles reveal dynamics in the logic of US empire that would not be visible in a top-down historical methodology. Furthermore, they demonstrate that what we think of as “US labor history” involved working people and sites of labor around the world. They challenge us not only to make global processes and interactions relevant to our narratives and interpretations of labor and working-class history but, more particularly, to realize the significance of imperial and colonial power relations in shaping that broader labor history. Five major themes weave through the essays as they engage with the labor history of empire. They draw our attention to the unfree labor of military service and its central role in building North American and US empire; struggles over citizenship in the unequal territories of the United States; the complex role of colonial and postcolonial subjects as migrant laborers; the labor tensions involved in US occupations; and labor migration as central to the logic of empire.

Read the full introduction, made freely available.

New Books in September

Here we finally are in September, which always means a welcome reprieve from the sticky summer heat, as well as a healthy roster of forthcoming books. These are the titles to keep an eye out for this month:

McCracken cover image, 5936-4Allison McCracken’s book,  Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture, charts the rise and fall of crooners between 1925 and 1934, showing how the backlash against crooners’ perceived sexual and gender deviance created stylistically masculine norms for white male pop singers that continue to exist today.

In The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary, Kimberly Juanita Brown explores the literary and visual representations of how black women bear the marks of slavery, centers black women in narratives of slavery, and uncovers and critiques the refusal to see the violence done to black women’s bodies.

Lewis cover image, 5934-0In Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, Reina Lewis analyzes Muslim modest clothing as fashion and shows how young Muslim women (with a focus on Britain, North America, and Turkey) are part of an emergent transnational youth subculture who use fashion to negotiate religion, identity, ethnicity, and mainstream consumer culture.

Rachel Hall characterizes post-9/11 airport security practices in The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security as operating under the “aesthetics of transparency,” which requires passengers to perform innocence and be open to inspection—those who cannot are deemed opaque and presumed to be a threat. Travelers are no longer innocent until proven guilty; they are guilty until proven transparent.

Anthes cover image, 5994-4In Edgar Heap of Birds, the first book-length study of contemporary Native American artist Edgar Heap of Birds, Bill Anthes analyzes Heap of Bird’s art and politics in relation to Native American history, spirituality, and culture, the international art scene, and how his art critiques the subjugation of Native Americans.

Petra R. Rivera-Rideau shows in Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico how the popular music style reggaetón offers a space for Puerto Rican musicians to express identities that center blackness, forge links across the African diaspora, and critique the popular Puerto Rican discourse of racial democracy, which conceals racism and marginalizes black Puerto Ricans.

In Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of BlacknessSimone Browne shows how racial ideologies and the long history of policing black bodies under transatlantic slavery structure contemporary surveillance technologies and practices. Analyzing a wide array of archival and contemporary texts, she demonstrates how surveillance reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines.

Anzaldua cover image, 6009-4Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro is the culmination of Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s mature thought and the most comprehensive presentation of her philosophy. Focusing on aesthetics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, it contains several developments in her many important theoretical contributions.

Mayra Rivera outlines the relationship between the ways ancient Christian thinkers and Western philosophers conceive of the “body” and “flesh” in Poetics of the Flesh. Rivera’s analysis furthers developments in new materialism and helps us to better understand the influence of Christian texts on contemporary theorizations of social structure, gender, race, and faith.

Project on Vegas, 5967-8In Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las VegasThe Project on Vegas shows how the Las Vegas Strip concentrates and magnifies American culture’s core truths. Among others, the Strip’s buffets, surveillance, large scale branding and consumption, and transformation of nature reflects larger trends and practices throughout America. Includes over 100 photographs by Karen Klugman.

In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman explores why water is chronically unavailable in Mumbai, India’s economic and financial capital. She attributes water shortage to economic reforms that allowed urban development to ignore the water infrastructure, which means that in Mumbai, politics is often about water.

Corbett cover image, 5870-1Microgroove continues John Corbett’s exploration of diverse musics, with essays, interviews, and musician profiles that focus on jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical, rock, folk, blues, post-punk, and cartoon music, as well as painting, design, dance, and poetry.

An Interview with Marcia Ochoa: How She Envisions the Future of GLQ

Recently we had the opportunity to talk to Marcia Ochoa about her new role as co-editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies and learn more about what she has planned for the journal’s future. Ochoa will serve as co-editor of GLQ for the next five years. In addition to her work on GLQ as co-editor and special issue editor of two recent issues entitled “On the Visceral,” parts One and Two, Ochoa also serves on the editorial board of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and published “Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela,” with Duke University Press.

How did you come to be editor of GLQ?

ddglq_20_4I have been a reader of GLQ for many years. I was really honored to be asked by Beth Freeman who I think was looking for somebody who was in the social sciences who also had some understanding of the journal and understood its theoretical orientation. I was asked last year and was really happy to accept the editorship. I think part of it came out of the work I did with Sharon Holland and Kyla Wazana Tompkins on the “On the Visceral” Parts One and Two, which was a really wonderful process of building intellectual community, understanding the very generous and generative and rigorous peer review process we have in place at GLQ, and seeing some of back end—what does it take to put a journal together? So that was fascinating. I’m really a system oriented person, I like when systems come together so I was really happy to help out. I was mostly focused on, in addition to the curatorship of the content, I was really attentive to making sure the files were in order and making sure things were moving along the way they needed to.

What are some under researched areas you hope to publish in the future?

ddglq_21_1I think GLQ has done a really nice job of bringing in research from all kinds of fields. I’ve been really excited to see the science studies and feminist science studies that have come out recently in GLQ. It has always been very strong in the humanities and literature in particular. I’m really excited at—having been part of the Association for Queer Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association—seeing GLQ expand its offerings in queer anthropology and in the social sciences more broadly, in the way that really deepens its theoretical innovation. I think as a journal of social theory and queer theory, GLQ has an excellent reputation. Because of some of the historical kinds of reductionism in some kinds of social sciences, the social sciences haven’t been the place to develop that. As an anthropologist, I come at social sciences as a place where we can talk about complexity and not reducing things. I’m always very in dialogue with humanistic approaches. I’m really looking forward to offering more in the social sciences.

I’m also really invested in having a lot more in the global south reflected in the pages of GLQ. I think queer theory as an analytic has really travelled well. And it’s not about replacing local categories of meaning with the word queer in a way that erases the particularities of that meaning, but for me it’s really about what can queer do for us in the different places. How can we use queer as a way to put all different forms of being in dialogue with each other? What would queer theory look like if we centered the experiences of people in the global south or marginalized through binary systems of gender and sexuality that are developed in colonialism and enslavement? What would queer look like if we centered those forms of knowledge? That’s my real project with GLQ, to build an intellectual culture in the discipline of queer theory that really expands that conversation that includes voices from the global south in much more of a sustained, rigorous, and accountable way. I’m really hoping to expand those offerings. I’ve been working with several different people in the world on the possibility of co-publishing with different presses and journals in the global south that also engage in the debates that we engage in with queer theory on their own terms and how that could possibly shift how we talk about it here in the United States.

ddtsq_2_1One more under researched area which I think GLQ has actually been good at incorporating but I want to see more of is transgender studies because now with the launch of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, which I am currently serving on the editorial board of, I think we have a new venue. I think TSQ is very inspired by GLQ and I think TSQ is going to do really amazing things. I think GLQ can continue that conversation. Queer is more and more developed as a concept in dialogue with trans in ways that are not mutually exclusive or negating of anybody. I think that’s going to be exciting to see the development now that we have two really amazing venues to develop trans studies in.

Tell us about “Queer Inhumanisms” and forthcoming special issues of GLQ.

We have a couple of special issues in the pipeline and then I think we’re going to have to take a break from special issues for a little while and publish some of the submissions that we’ve been getting. We have a nice, healthy amount of submissions that are really waiting to see the world and I’m looking forward to seeing those in our journal.

ddglq_21_2_3The most recent special issue, volume 21, issues 3-4, just released, is called “Queer Inhumanisms” with Dana Luciano and Mel Chen serving as special issue editors. This is one of the issues that is doing a lot of interesting work with feminist science studies. Karen Barad has an article in it which I think is really going to blow people’s minds. It’s called “Transmaterialities.” In addition to that, even beyond Karen, we have wonderful people thinking about race, materiality, the constitution of the human, cruelty, racialization, intimacy, even to the point that “Queer Inhuamnisms” really brings together a lot of currents of thought around new materialism, as well as animal studies and feminist science studies more generally, to really get at the basic texture of our lives and of power in our lives. I think this is really great. I had a really wonderful experience with “On the Visceral,” and just seeing how ready we are to extend the conversation about power and sexuality and race and consumption into the fabric of our lives, of our existences. It’s going to be really exciting. There is a wonderful piece by Tavia Nyong’o on “Beast of the Southern Wild” and the concept of wildness. I have a great piece by Jayna Brown about Henrietta Lacks and the plasticity of life through the idea. The case of Henrietta Lacks is about the propagation of her cell line, the HeLa cell line. I’m not going to talk about every single one, but there is a wonderful dossier called “Theorizing Queer Inhumanisms” where we see the last piece of writing from José Muñoz and I think it’s going to be a really important dialogue for people thinking about race and queerness together. I loved every piece in this issue so I’ll stop there, but I think people will have a lot to read about.

The next special issue on the docket is “Area Impossible,” volume 22 and issue 2, which is being edited by Anjali Arondekar and Geeta Patel. These are two South Asian scholars who work on geopolitics and reframing area studies, challenging the concept of various studies and the kind of work it can do and occlude in terms of thinking through queer theory and questions of power and society. We haven’t gotten those essays in, they’re still in the developmental process, but I’m really looking forward to seeing where they end up.

For more information about GLQ or to subscribe, visit

Download our Fall 2015 Catalog!

F15 Catalog CoverOur Fall 2015 catalog is here! Download it and check out all the great new titles we’ll have beginning in July.

Here are some highlights from the new catalog.

Nadia Sablin’s Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmilla, the winner of the 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. Sablin’s lyrical and evocative photographs in Aunties capture the small details and daily rituals of her septuagenarian aunts in a small Russian village.

Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality by Gloria E. Light in the DarkAnzaldúa. Edited by Ana Louise Keating, this book is the culmination of Anzaldúa’s mature thought and the most comprehensive presentation of her philosophy. Focusing on aesthetics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, it contains several developments in her many important theoretical contributions.

OntopowerOntopower by Brian Massumi. The culmination of Massumi’s powerful trilogy of social theory (What Animals Teach Us about Politics, The Power at the End of the Economy), Ontopower explains how the logic of preemption governs U.S. military policy in the War on Terror. Threats are now felt into reality, which makes preemptive action necessary. The logic of preemption’s working out creates the self-sustaining force of ontopower.

Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power by Susan E. Cahan. Cahan Mounting Frustrationuncovers the moment when the civil rights movement reached New York City’s elite art galleries. Focusing on three controversial exhibitions that integrated African American culture and art, Cahan shows how the art world’s racial politics is far more complicated than overcoming past exclusions.

MicrogrooveMicrogroove by John Corbett. The beloved music writer (Extended Play) continues his exploration of diverse musics, with essays, interviews, and musician profiles that focus on jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical, rock, folk, blues, post-punk, and cartoon music, as well as painting, design, dance, and poetry.

The Rio de Janiero Reader edited by Daryle Williams, Amy Chazkel, and Paulo Knauss. In timeRio Reader for next year’s Olympics, this latest edition to The Latin America Readers traces Rio’s history, culture, and politics. It contains a mix of primary documents—many appearing in English for the first time—that present the “Marvelous City” in all its complexity, importance, and intrigue.

We are also excited to announce the launch of two new math journals, the Banach Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Annals of Functional Analysis. Other journals highlights include a special issue of French Historical Studies, Food and France: What Food Studies Can Teach Us about History, and a special issue of SAQ on 1970s feminism, as well as special issues of differences, Radical History Review, and positions.

And there’s so much more. Download your catalog to see all our great titles in cultural studies, anthropology, music and sound studies, African American studies, and many other disciplines.

Drugs in the Americas

Recent special issues and articles in Hispanic American Historical Review and Comparative Literature include studies of drugs and drug culture in history and literature.

ddhahr_95_1An issue of Hispanic American Historical Review entitled “The New Drug History of the Americas” brings the study of Latin American drug trades and cultures into conversation with the region’s historiography. Special issue editors Paul Gootenberg and Isaac Campos argue for “a new drug history of the Americas:”

We argue here that the fetishization of drugs by prohibitionists and enthusiasts alike has been no accident. Whether due to the resemblance between drug-induced and spiritually inspired ecstasy, or the way that drugs can undermine the razón on which Western civilization has supposedly hinged, or their life-and-death medicinal implications, these are no ordinary goods. Thus drugs also possess, we believe, extraordinary potential for expanding historical study.

The issue includes articles by Valeria Manzano, Lina Britto, and Alexander S. Dawson on such topics as youth culture in Argentina, marijuana traffic in Colombia, and psychedelic psychiatry. Read the full introduction here.

ddclj_66_3In “Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Drug War: The Critical Limits of Narconarratives,” Oswaldo Zavala analyzes narconarratives, interrelated corpus of texts, films, music, and conceptual art focusing on the drug trade. He argues, “with the exception of a few Mexican novels, only a particular narrative trend of fiction and non-fiction published in the United States has been able to articulate a necessary, critical, and subversive view of the official discourse on drug trafficking and its related organizations in both countries.” Read an excerpt:

With their romantic focus on death as an ontological destiny and their emphasis on an imagined narcocultura that makes victims of the official institutions of justice, most narconarratives propagate an illusory enemy that the Mexican state relies upon in order to legitimize its actions in the drug war. In short, most of the narconarratives written during the last decade in Mexico reify the simulacrum of truth constructed by official propaganda. Only through the articulation of deliberately political counternarratives can light be shed on drug trafficking as one of the many dimensions of official power in both countries. To achieve this, critical narconarratives must abandon the exhausted myths of drug lords and their fantastic kingdoms and stop objectifying drug trafficking as a problem external to official power in Mexico and the U.S. and instead propose a careful historical revision of its place inside that power: drug trafficking as power itself.

To read the full article, made freely available, click here.

Twentieth Anniversary of the Murder of Selena

978-0-8223-4502-2Twenty years ago today the Tejana pop star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was murdered in Corpus Christi. Her death led to an outpouring of grief, especially in Latino/a communities. In 2009 Deborah Paredez wrote about the afterlife of Selena fandom in her book Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. Paredez spoke recently to the Austin American-Statesman about researching people’s response to the tragedy. “What I found was that it became a way for people to mourn the tragedies in their own lives. It also became a way for people to celebrate the triumphs in their own lives. She represented both a sense of tragedy and promise. Remembering Selena really became a way of understanding who Latinos were as citizens, as cultural makers, as political constituencies, as markets.” Paredez also argues that Selena’s death changed the way U.S. companies market to Latino/as. After the special Selena-themed cover of People Magazine sold out, People en Español was launched. Paredez told NBC news, “Her death served as a cue to the larger culture that Latinos were becoming more visible, more important. Selena spurred the growth of the Hispanic market. Our culture became a hot commodity.” Below watch Deborah Paredez discuss her book in a 2009 interview.

Want to learn more? Read the introduction to Selenidad here. (If your library subscribes to the e-Duke Books Scholarly Collection you can read the whole book. Ask your librarian!)