In the News

Author Events in June

Our authors have in-person and virtual events around the world this month. Hope you can attend some of them!

June 4, 4 pm CEST: Lindsey A. Freeman, author of Running, appears in person at Hopscotch Reading Room. Kurfürstenstraße 14b, Hinterhof (Parterre, rechts), Berlin

June 7, 3 pm BST: Srila Roy, author of Changing the Subject is joined by Shuvatri Dasgupta for an online conversation supported by the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. 

June 8, 1 pm BST: The University of Birmingham Centre for the Study of North America hosts an online talk by Leigh Claire La Berge, author of Marx for Cats.

June 11, 7 pm EDT: Cisco Bradley, author of The Williamsburg Avant-Garde, will appear in-person at Unnameable Books. 615 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn

June 13, 6 pm CEST: Evren Savci, author of Queer in Translation, gives an in-person talk and is joined for discussion by Esra Sarıoğlu and Sinan Birdal at Humboldt University. Unter den Linden 6,  Room 1066e, 10099 Berlin

June 15, 6 pm EDT: Marquis Bey, author of Black Trans Feminism and Cistem Failure, speaks in-person at Arts Garage in Delray Beach. 94 NE 2nd Ave., Delray Beach, Florida

June 18, 5 pm EDT: Cisco Bradley, author of The Williamsburg Avant-Garde is joined by mystery musical guests at an in-person reading and performance at Diamond Hollow Books. Refreshments served, Admission is Free with a suggested donation to support the shop and the artists. Diamond Hollow Books  72 Main Street, Andes, New York

June 19, 4 pm CEST: Hi′ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart, author of Cooling the Tropics, gives an online talk sponsored by The Greenhouse.

June 22, 9:30 pm EDT: The Red Room at KGB Bar presents “Writing the Circus,” an in-person book launch event and variety performance celebrating art and culture on the fringe featuring Stewart Sinclair, author of Juggling. 5 East 4th Street New York City

June 22, 7:30 pm CEST: David Grubbs will give an in-person reading of Good night, the pleasure was ours at Pro qm. Almstadtstraße 48-50, Berlin

June 24, 6:30 pm PDT: Stewart Sinclair, author of Juggling reads from his book and offers juggling tips and practice at an interactive in-person event at Bart’s Books. 302 West Matilija Street, Ojai, California

Signing up for Death: Plan 75, A Guest Post by Anne Allison

Anne Allison is is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. In her new book Being Dead Otherwise, she examines the emergence of new death practices surrounding grieving, burial, and ritual in Japan as the old custom of family-based graves and mortuary care is coming undone. In this guest post she considers how her research intersects with the new film Plan 75. You can save 30% on Being Dead Otherwise with coupon E23ALLSN.

Premiering at the Cannes Festival last May, released then in Japan, and hitting the US now where Netflix will be streaming it soon, Plan 75 is a dystopic film about a state-sponsored plan that signs up over-75 seniors to be voluntarily euthanized. The story is set in a near-future Japan where its current high aging/low fertility demographics have progressed.

Already a “mass death society” where deaths exceed births every year, Japan’s national coffers are strained in subsidizing health costs for the elderly (at 28.9% of the population, due to rise to 40% by 2040, and with the longest life expectancy in the world). But it was the historically record low birthrate and population decline of 2022 that led Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to declare earlier this year that the country was in crisis: “on the brink of not being able of maintain social functions” (Yeung & Ogura 2023). With ever fewer births, Japan’s capacity to replace its workers and citizens as they die off is severely at risk—what prompted Kishida to propose more policies to incentivize childbirth (none of which have previously worked). But in the film, the demographic challenges facing the country are pinned on the escalating elderly population alone. And the solution proposed is to start eliminating them—a killing deemed to be a sacrifice for the well-being of the nation as a whole.

The premise of Plan 75 is that seniors will sign up for this themselves. In return for having their mortuary plans taken care of and receiving a small “fun” allowance to spend before death, those who do so are particularly likely to be socially and financially precarious—why they are also susceptible to the warm chats given them by the cadre of young workers employed to implement Plan 75. This is the case with 78-year-old Michi (played by veteran actress Chieko Baisho) who, once losing her job as a hotel cleaner and having no family, savings, or alternative way-to-live, signs up quite matter-of-factly as if such an ending is less dreary than expedient and banal. With chilling precision, this is how director Chie Hayakawa crafts her dystopic vision of a future death-plan by Japan for its aging society: efficient termination of senior citizens on government expense, winding up, as we learn by the film’s end, as waste in a garbage bin rather than being honorably, if collectively, buried as had been the promise when signing up for Plan 75.

Plan 75 envisions a necropolitical solution to Japan’s “problem” of the rise of aging seniors: get them to sign up for pre-terminal death. But, for those in the rest of world following Japan’s trend in high aging/low birthrate demographics (such as China, Korea, Italy, Spain), the country has other models for what to do with aging seniors who live long past productivity and increasingly on their own without the sociological network (of family, marriage, neighborhood) that once took care of them. Rather than shipping them off to die, this is using death-planning itself as an activity, a mission, even moral investment by which aging seniors spend time—perhaps in the company of fellow “grave-friends”—taking care of their final affairs.

Cover of Being Dead Otherwise by Anne Allison. Cover is black, and at its center is an aerial view into a room filled with garbage, with sunlight coming in from a window with open curtains at the top end of the room. The room is being cradled by two disembodied hands.

This is one dimension of the ending landscape I discovered when conducting ethnographic fieldwork between 2013 and 2019 on changing mortuary trends in Japan. What was once conventional—family-based deathcare and burial in ancestral graves, often in temple cemeteries in the countryside long tied to the family line—is no longer practical or available for an increasing number of Japanese today. But, in lieu of a family grave or the prospect of having no place to go at all (and becoming abandoned as a “disconnected soul”—the worrisome fate of the “lonely dead, a rising phenomenon and at play in Plan 75 as well), alternatives are emerging that give more agency, but also responsibility, to the to-be-deceased herself. Rather than relying upon familial others to do so at the time of death or run the risk of having no one to be cared by at all, what is becoming increasingly popular is the trend of seizen seiri: handling one’s ending affairs ahead of time.

In what has arisen since the start of the twenty-first century as a cascade of new initiatives, businesses, and products catering to the ending needs of the more socially solo or “family-less” dead in Japan (Suzuki and Mori 2018), individuals are now incentivized to “freely choose” and customize their own ending plans. And the choices, but also tasks to perform, are endless. As I learned from attending workshops, information sessions, and get-togethers at everything from public community centers and civic lecture series to alternative burial societies and one-stop funeral facilities, the energy as well as time and sometimes money that is expended in these pursuits can be considerable. Over hours, with a slowness at odds to the expedience at work in Plan 75, these activities would be devoted to laying out the details of a great range of ending matters: inheritance, living wills, various interment plans, getting rid of one’s belongings, erasure of digital data, paying final bills.

And what surprised me, at first at least, was how animated these events would often be, and how lively so many of the participants—who included not only the elderly or middle-aged but sometimes younger people in their 20’s and 30’s as well. Advance death-planning as an art-form and craft, it also generated what I took to be a sense of meaning, purpose, and relationality among those so actively pursuing this work. And not all of this is high end, catering to the neoliberal sensibilities, and purse strings, of the privileged. At community centers and budget businesses (and also a few community and civic endeavors that cost nothing at all), shūkatsu (ending activity) can be rather cheap with funerals and interment options far more affordable than the typical family grave.

Plan 75 starts by replaying the scene of the 2016 Sagamihara killings when a former employee of a care home for the disabled broke in and stabbed 19 people to death, claiming this was a mercy killing for the nation by eliminating such “useless” citizens. In the film, and now armed with a gun, the killer here has embarked upon his plan to handle the problem of the elderly whom, by a logic of (re)productivity, he deems to be useless as well. That, in the story to follow, it is precisely at the point of losing her job that the protagonist Michi signs up for Plan 75 is telling—she has now lost her place in a world dictated by capitalist value and worth. And unwilling to register for welfare as somehow deficiency on her part, there is nothing left to do but die.

But for the post-productive seniors I met actively pursuing their ending plans in Japan, I sensed something quite different about their attitude towards both death and themselves, as being post- job (and possibly post-family as well). An engagement, even vitality, around final planning that generated something positive—about the subject doing it, the sociality that could sometimes be formed, and even the endpoint about death itself. Shifting a calculus by which only productivity determines “usefulness,” the active embrace of advance ending planning is a very different response to the rise of elderly (both in numbers and lifespan) than that posed by Plan 75.


Yeung, Jessie and Junko Ogura. 2023. “It’s “now or never” to reverse Japan’s population crisis.” CNN, January 24.

Suzuki Iwayumi, and Mori Kenji, eds. 2018. Gendainihon no sōsō toha hakasei: Ienakijidai no shisha. [Contemporary Japan’s grave and funeral system: the whereabouts of the dead in an era without family.] Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kokubun.

Tina Turner’s Turn to Rock by Maureen Mahon: The Weekly Read

Legendary rock and roll icon Tina Turner passed away this week. In her honor, we have made Chapter 8 of Maureen Mahon’s book Black Diamond Queens free to read through June 30, 2023. “Tina Turner’s Right to Rock” details Turner’s incredible rise to superstardom in the 1980s when she was in her forties.

You can also hear Maureen Mahon discuss Tina Turner’s legacy on NPR’s Morning Edition.

The Weekly Read is a weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

Save on New Titles in Latin American Studies

We look forward to meeting authors, editors, and friends of the Press in person at the 2023 LASA conference! Gisela Fosado is joining you in person in Vancouver. Visit booth AB03/AB04 in the exhibit hall or our conference landing page to browse the latest books and journals in Latin American studies. You can find our complete Latin American studies list on our website.

Use coupon code LASA23 to save 40% on books and journal issues when you order on our website through June 30, 2023. Customers in the UK and Europe can order books with this code from our UK partner, Combined Academic Publishers.

If you are looking to connect with any of our editors about your book project, see our editors’ specialties and contact information and our online submissions guidelines and submission portal.

The Weekly Read

The Weekly Read for May 20, 2023, is Anybody, Everybody, All the Time: Marquis Bey and Andrew Cutrone in Conversation. The conversation appears in Black and Queer, Music on Screen, an issue of liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies (Volume 7, Issue 1), guest-edited by James Tobias, stef torralba, and Ïxkári Noé Estelle.


“Marquis and I “met” virtually five or so years ago. A friend of mine shared a paper of Marquis’s on blackness, presuming I would like it because Marquis took up some of Fred Moten’s ideas, of which I am incredibly fond, on blackness and fugitivity. I then wrote Marquis thanking them for writing the essay, and Marquis, as is their wont, was like, “Oh, what’s up? You like Moten, too? We should talk more.” And so we did. And that is our beginning. It is also our present. Marquis and I just talk. We have deep phone conversations for hours on end. We send each other half-random essay-length texts with our newest ideas, knowing that the other person will receive and consider it with care: that is, with the archives of black study in mind and with black feminism at work.”

Read their conversation, and the full issue of the open-access journal, for free.

Cover of "Black and Queer, Music on Screen" (liquid blackness vol. 7 iss. 1): A bare-chested person with blue-painted arms wrapped around them in front of a black curtain. Image overlayed with blue, orange, and white text.

Marquis Bey is the author, most recently, of Black Trans Feminism and Cistem Failure: Essays on Blackness and Cisgender, both published by Duke University Press in 2022. Bey was also a special issue editor, along with Jesse A. Goldberg, of Queer Fire: Liberation and Abolition, an issue of GLQ (28:2).

Andrew Cutrone is a PhD candidate in sociology and a Graduate Affiliate of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas–Austin. He writes and studies black critical theory and abolition politics. His work appears in Social Text, and is forthcoming in South Atlantic Quarterly.

liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies seeks to carve out a place for aesthetic theory and the most radical agenda of Black studies to come together in productive ways, with the goal of attending to the aesthetic work of blackness and the political work of form. Articles are published under a Creative Commons license (BY-NC-ND) and are open immediately upon publication.

The Weekly Read is a weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

The Weekly Read

The Weekly Read for May 13, 2023 is Decentering Disability: Louis Béjart’s Crip Social Gain, Onstage and Off, by Jennifer Row. The article appears in Decentering Molière, a thematic issue of Theater (Volume 52, Issue 3), edited by Benoît Bolduc, Sylvaine Guyot, Christophe Schuwey, and Tom Sellar.


“Frauds, fakers, charlatans, and hypocrites: the plays of Molière are replete with colorful characters who rarely, if ever, are exactly who they profess to be. Indeed, in the interplay between “true” (dévots, intellects, gentlemen, lovers, or ill people) and “false” (swindlers, précieuses, social climbers, or Don Juans), the audience is made to delight in the art of the con, to chuckle at the skewering of a poor dupe, or to cheer for the just reprimand of an unscrupulous rake. Deception and epistemological ambiguity are the fodder for comedic delight.”

Read the article here, for free, through July.

Cover of "Decentering Moliere" (vol 52, iss 3): Features a yellow background and the bust of a statue of a person with long wavy hair. The cover is textured with faint dots.

For almost fifty years Theater has been the most informative, serious, and imaginative American journal available to readers interested in contemporary theater and performance. It has been the first publisher of pathbreaking plays from artists as diverse as Romeo Castellucci, Guillermo Calderón, Richard Foreman, W. David Hancock, Peter Handke, Elfriede Jelinek, Sarah Kane, Toshiki Okada, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Theater has also featured lively polemics and essays by dramatists including Dario Fo, Heiner Müller, and Mac Wellman. Special issues have covered site-specific performance, digital dramaturgies, contemporary Brazilian drama, theater and social change, new Polish directing, and the curation of performance.

Published on behalf of the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale/Yale Repertory Theatre.
Tom Sellar, editor

The Weekly Read is a weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

Save on New Titles in Native and Indigenous Studies

We look forward to meeting authors, editors, and friends of the Press in person at the 2023 NAISA conference! Courtney Berger is joining you in person in Toronto, and you can browse our latest Native and Indigenous studies books and journal issues in the exhibit hall or on our conference landing page. You can find our complete Native and Indigenous studies list on our website.

Use coupon code NAISA23 to save 40% on books and journal issues when you order on our website through June 30, 2023. Customers in the UK and Europe can order books with this code from our UK partner, Combined Academic Publishers.

If you are looking to connect with any of our editors about your book project, see our editors’ specialties and contact information and our online submissions guidelines and submission portal.

All issues of South Atlantic Quarterly are now online!

We are thrilled to announce that all issues of South Atlantic Quarterly (SAQ), dating back to Volume 1, Issue 1, published in 1902, are now available online!

For over 120 years, South Atlantic Quarterly has been a leading academic journal, publishing cutting-edge research in the humanities and social sciences. The journal has been at the forefront of intellectual inquiry, featuring articles, essays, and reviews that engage with some of the most pressing issues of our time. For the first time, scholars and researchers can now access the full range of the journal’s history, including articles written by some of the most influential thinkers of the past century.

The searchable digital archive offers a wealth of resources for those interested in academic and cultural thought history. As SAQ reflects changing intellectual trends and societal issues over the past century, it provides a unique window into the evolution of scholarship and discourse. We invite you to explore all issues of SAQ and discover the rich intellectual legacy it offers.

The Weekly Read

The Weekly Read for April 29, 2023, is Wikipedia’s Race and Ethnicity Gap and the Unverifiability of Whiteness, by Michael Mandiberg. The article was published in Social Text 154.

Article Abstract

Although Wikipedia has a widely studied gender gap, almost no research has attempted to discover if it has a comparable race and ethnicity gap among its editors or its articles. No such comprehensive analysis of Wikipedia’s editors exists because legal, cultural, and social structures complicate surveying them about race and ethnicity. Nor is it possible to precisely measure how many of Wikipedia’s biographies are about people from indigenous and nondominant ethnic groups, because most articles lack ethnicity information. While it seems that many of these uncategorized biographies are about white people, these biographies are not categorized by ethnicity because policies require reliable sources to do so. These sources do not exist for white people because whiteness is a social construct that has historically been treated as a transparent default. Thus, these biographies cannot be categorized as white because whiteness is unverifiable in Wikipedia’s white epistemology. In the absence of a precise analysis of the gaps in its editors or its articles, I present a quantitative and qualitative analysis of these structures that prevent such an analysis. I examine policy discussions about categorization by race and ethnicity, demonstrating persistent anti-Black racism. Turning to Wikidata, I reveal how the ontology of whiteness shifts as it enters the database, functioning differently than existing theories of whiteness account for. While the data does point toward a significant race and ethnicity gap, the data cannot definitively reveal meaning beyond its inability to reveal quantitative meaning. Yet the unverifiability of whiteness is itself an undeniable verification of Wikipedia’s whiteness.

Read the article here, for free, through September.

Cover of "Social Text issue 154." Three white books titled "Wikipedia" stand upright, centered on a white shelf with white background. The journal title, Social Text, appears in the top-center in turquose text.

Social Text covers a broad spectrum of social and cultural phenomena, applying the latest interpretive methods to the world at large. A daring and controversial leader in the field of cultural studies, the journal consistently focuses attention on questions of gender, sexuality, race, and the environment, publishing key works by the most influential social and cultural theorists. As a journal at the forefront of cultural theory, Social Text seeks provocative interviews and challenging articles from emerging critical voices. Each issue breaks new ground in the debates about postcolonialism, postmodernism, and popular culture.
Jonathan Beller, Jayna Brown, and David Sartorius, editors

The Weekly Read is a weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

Author Events in May

Duke Press authors have virtual and in-person events scheduled around the world throughout the month of May. We hope you’re able to attend some of them!

May 1, 12:30 pm PDT: The University of California Riverside English department hosts an in-person book launch for Richard T. Rodríguez’s A Kiss across the Ocean. The event will begin with some questions about the new book and Ricky’s reading of passages, followed by readings from David Lloyd’s The Harm Fields and Ricky’s poetry. CHASS Interdisciplinary Building South, Rm 1111, Riverside, California

May 3, 4 pm EDT: A roundtable discussion on Claudia Calirman’s Dissident Practices will be held at the accompanying exhibition. Julia Bryan-Wilson, André Lepecki, and Vivian Crockett will join Calirman. A reception will follow. Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 860 11th Avenue, New York

May 3, Harry Harootunian, author of The Unspoken as Heritage will have an in-person conversation with James Chandler and Thomas Lamarre at the Seminary Co-op bookstore. 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave, Chicago

May 5, 10 am EDT: Naveeda Khan, author of River Life and the Upspring of Nature, participates in an online book launch sponsored by the NYU Center for Global Asia.

May 7, 3 pm EDT: artbook and MoMA PS1 host McKenzie Wark, author of Raving,  in an in-person conversation with Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky. Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Bookstore, 22-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, New York

May 11, 10 am EDT: The Penn State AFI book talk series hosts Lindsey B. Green-Simms, author of Queer African Cinemas, in an online discussion with Zinhle ka’Nobuhlaluse.

May 11, 4:30 pm CDT: Stephen Finley, author of In and Out of This World gives a plenary talk at the hybrid Archives of the Impossible conference at Rice University. 

May 11, 5 pm CDT: La Marr Jurelle Bruce, author of How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind, gives an in-person talk entitled “The Swiftly Fading Residue of Soon-Forgotten Dreams: On Love and Madness” at DePaul University. Schmitt Academic Center, Room 154, 2320 N Kenmore Ave, Chicago

May 11, 7pm CDT: The LGBTQ Religious Archives Network hosts an online book talk with Monique Moultrie, author of Hidden Histories.

May 11, 6:30 pm PDT: Thomas Beller discusses and signs his recent book Lost in the Game at Diesel Books in Santa Monica. 225 26th St, Suite 33, Santa Monica, California

May 13, 5 pm BST: Sami Schalk, author of Black Disability Politics, gives an online keynote address at GIFCon23.

May 13, 5:30 pm CDT: AnaLouise Keating, author of The Anzaldúan Theory Handbook, gives a plenary talk at the hybrid Archives of the Impossible conference at Rice University.

May 15, 1 pm EDT: The Dedalus Foundation hosts an online panel on transforming a dissertation into a book, featuring our own Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker, along with Annie Bourneuf, Kaira Cabañas, and Rachel Haidu.

May 16, 5 pm PDT: Sami Schalk, author of Black Disability Studies, gives the ICDS Scholar’s Week Virtual Keynote Presentation at Western Washington University.

May 17, 3:30 pm PDT: UCLA’s Gender Studies program hosts an in-person talk by Eric Stanley, author of Atmospheres of Violence. Young Research Library Presentation Room, 280 Charles E Young Dr N, Los Angeles

May 18, 3:30 pm GMT, The Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University hosts an online talk by Xine Yao, author of Disaffected.

May 18, 11 am PDF: Eric Stanley, author of Atmospheres of Violence, joins Miss Major and Toshio Meronek on an in-person panel entitled Collective Escape: Trans Worldmaking Against Catastrophic Violence. CHASS Interdisciplinary Building South, Riverside, California

May 18, 7 pm PDT: Eric Stanley, author of Atmospheres of Violence, appears in person at Midnight Books in Whittier, California. 7201 Greenleaf Ave Suite D, Whittier, California

May 27, 11 am SAST: Tanya Zack, author of Wake Up, This is Joburg joins Tshidiso Moletsane  and Sunday Times book editor Jennifer Platt to discuss some new facets of South Africa’s biggest city at a session of the Kingsmead Book Fair. Mornington venue, Johannesburg