Literary Criticism & Theory

New Books in March

Spring brings a fresh crop of new books. Check out what’s new in March.

The Politics of Operations, edited by Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, investigates how capital reshapes its relation with politics, showing how contemporary capitalism operates through the extraction of mineral resources, data, and cultures; the logistical organization of relations between people, property, and objects; and the penetration of financialization into all realms of economic life.

Zorach cover with border low resIn Art for People’s Sake Rebecca Zorach traces the little-told story of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago, showing how its artistic innovations, institution building, and community engagement helped the residents of Chicago’s South and West Sides respond to social, political, and economic marginalization.

Drawing on previously unexamined archives, the contributors to The Revolution from Within, edited by Michael Bustamante and Jessica Lambe, examine the Cuban Revolution from a Cuba-centric perspective by foregrounding the experience of everyday Cubans in analyses of topics ranging from agrarian reform and fashion to dance and the Mariel Boatlift.

978-1-4780-0380-9.jpgIn Hush Mack Hagood outlines how noise-cancelling headphones, tinnitus maskers, white noise machines, nature-sound mobile apps, and other forms of media give users the ability to create sonic safe spaces for themselves, showing how the desire to block certain sounds are informed by ideologies of race, gender, and class.

In Thought Crime Max Ward explores the Japanese state’s efforts to suppress political radicalism in the 1920s and 1930s through the enforcement of what it called thought crime, providing a window into understanding how modern states develop ideological apparatuses to subject their respective populations.

In Breaking Bad and Cinematic Television, Angelo Restivo uses the innovative show Breaking Bad as a point of departure for theorizing a new aesthetics of television in which the concept of the cinematic points to the ways in which television can change the ways viewers relate to and interact with the world.978-1-4780-0092-1.jpg

Examining the work of writers and artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Allan deSouza, in The Difference Aesthetics Makes Kandice Chuh advocates for what she calls “illiberal humanism” as a way to counter the Eurocentric liberal humanism that perpetuates structures of social inequality.

In Surrogate Humanity Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system that is entrenched in and reinforces racial capitalism and patriarchy.

In The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery Alys Eve Weinbaum investigates the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary capitalism, showing how black feminist thought offers the best means through which to understand the myriad ways slavery continues to haunt the present.

Eliza Steinbock’s Shimmering Images traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change, thereby opening up new means to understand transgender ontologies and epistemologies.

978-1-4780-0091-4.jpgGökçe Günel’s Spaceship in the Desert examines the development and construction of Masdar City, a zero-carbon city built by Abu Dhabi that houses a research institute for renewable energy which implemented a series of green technologies and infrastructures as a way to deal with climate change and prepare for a post-oil future.

In Developments in Russian Politics 9 an international team of experts provide a comprehensive and critical discussion of the country’s most recent developments, offering substantive coverage of the key areas in domestic and foreign Russian politics, perfect for courses on Russia today.

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Call for Papers: Prism

artboard 1Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, edited by Zong-qi Cai and Yunte Huang, seeks contributions for the following upcoming themed issues:

  • “On Method,” edited by Carlos Rojas
  • “Theory and Chinese Literary Studies,” edited by Zong-qi Cai
  • “Sinophone/Xenophone Studies and Chinese Literature,” edited by David Der-wei Wang
  • “New Media and Chinese Literature,” edited by Yunte Huang

Prism presents cutting-edge research on modern literary production, dissemination, and reception in China and beyond. It also publishes works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. Prism actively promotes scholarly investigations from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, and it encourages integration of theoretical inquiry with empirical research. The journal strives to foster in-depth dialogues between Western and Chinese literary theories that illuminate both the unique features of each interlocutor and their shared insights into issues of universal interest. Prism is a new incarnation of the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC), founded in 1987 by the Centre for Humanities Research of Lingnan University of Hong Kong.

For submission guidelines and more information about the journal, please visit Prism’s website.

2019 Modern Language Association Highlights and Awards

This year’s meeting of the Modern Language Association was absolutely packed with awards, receptions, and events—and, like always, we had a wonderful time meeting authors, editors, and attendees and selling our books and journals.

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Congratulations to Melanie Yergeau, whose book Authoring Autism won the MLA Prize for a First Book, and Fred Moten, whose book Black and Blur won the William Sanders Scarborough Prize!

Several of our journals and books also received awards from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) and from the GL/Q Caucus for the Modern Languages:

CELJ Awards

Archives of Asian Art, the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and American Literature each received a CELJ award this year—congratulations to these journals!

coverimageThis year’s Best Journal Design Award was given to Archives of Asian Art. Upon joining Duke University Press in 2017, the journal was redesigned by Sue Hall, our now-retired journals designer of 23 years. The 2018 Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show also recognized the journal’s redesign: “The new design stands out because of the luxurious and well-placed illustrations and because it combines an elegant, versatile page design with fine-grained typographic sophistication,” wrote eminent typographer Robert Bringhurst.

The CELJ also recognized two of our journal issues with the Best Special Issue Award: “Queer about Comics,” an issue of American Literature (volume 90, issue 2) edited by Darieck Scott and Ramzi Fawaz; and “The Bible and English Readers,” an issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (volume 47, issue 3) edited by Thomas Fulton.

GL/Q Caucus Celebration and Awards

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Marcia Ochoa and Jennifer DeVere Brody with the 25th-anniversary issue of GLQ

This year, the GL/Q Caucus celebrated the 25th anniversary of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies with a panel on the journal and a reception. The caucus also awarded prizes to several outstanding books and journal articles:

The Crompton-Noll Award was given to Mary Zaborskis for the article “Sexual Orphanings,” published in GLQ (volume 22, issue 4), and Margaret Galvan for the article “‘The Lesbian Norman Rockwell’: Alison Bechdel and Queer Grassroots Networks,” published in American Literature (volume 90, issue 2).

The Alan Bray Book Award was granted to Jasbir Puar, author of The Right to Maim, and Ariane Cruz, author of The Color of Kink (NYU Press). Kadji Amin, author of Disturbing Attachments, received honorable mention, as did Tourmaline, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, editors of Trap Door (New Museum and MIT Press).

Eric A. Stanley and Andrew Spieldenner received the Michael Lynch Award for Service, which, in Eve Sedgwick’s words, serves “to publicize and celebrate—and as widely as possible—the range, the forms, the energy, and the history of queer activism by academics.”

Other Highlights

We enjoyed celebrating several new journals with a wine reception Friday afternoon: Critical TimesEnglish Language Notes, Journal of Korean StudiesMeridiansPrism, and Qui Parle.

It was also wonderful to see several of our authors who stopped by the booth:

Thank you to all who came by to see us! For those of you who weren’t able to make it out to MLA, or who didn’t have enough room in your suitcase to pack all the books you wanted, don’t worry—you can still take advantage of the conference discount by using coupon code MLA19 at dukeupress.edu through the end of February.

2018 Foerster Prize Winner Announced

ddaml_90_3_coverWe’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Norman Foerster Prize, awarded to the best essay of the year in American Literature: “The Race of Machines: Blackness and Prosthetics in Early American Science Fiction” by Taylor Evans, published in volume 90, issue 3. Read the essay, freely available through the end of March, here.

The prize committee commented:

“Taylor Evans’s essay reveals an important—but previously unacknowledged—facet of the history and development of science fiction. To reveal the racialized nature of the figure of the ‘steam man,’ Evans draws parallels between the visual rhetoric of black caricatures (particularly minstrel tropes) and the development of the iconography of the ‘steam man.’ In so doing, Evans provides an important intervention in our understanding of the history of science fiction while broadening our understanding of the insidious means by which all facets of American popular culture are infected by racism. In addition to its contributions to the study of race, narrative, and popular culture, this essay should serve as a model for scholars looking to reveal the (seemingly) hidden cultural dimensions of fictional narratives, and particularly those that (like science fiction) are too easily dismissed as apolitical.”

Margaret Galvan’s “‘The Lesbian Norman Rockwell’: Alison Bechdel and Queer Grassroots Networks,” published in volume 90, issue 2, is the runner-up for the prize. The essay is freely available through the end of March. The committee remarked:

“Margaret Galvan’s essay engages in detailed archival research in order to demonstrate the impact of the large and vibrant queer community on the work of Alison Bechdel, one of the most celebrated comix artists of her generation. Focusing on Bechdel’s influential early series—work that was often published and distributed among grass-roots periodicals, and which has not received the scholarly attention given to her later work—Galvan identifies the various local, regional, and national influences that Bechdel drew from for her series. As such, the identification of Bechdel as ‘the lesbian Norman Rockwell’ is made to suggest not only her importance to the history of comix, but also to connect her to a heretofore unrecognized ‘folk’ community that engaged in vibrant and cooperative networks of support and influence. In addition to its contributions to our understanding of an important author in the contemporary canon, this essay should serve as a reminder of the importance of archival research for understanding the larger contexts of literary works, their influences, and their reception.”

Congratulations to Taylor Evans and Margaret Galvan for these exceptional essays!

The Most Read Articles of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the most read articles across all our journals. Check out the top 10 articles that made the list, all freely available until the end of January.

TSQ_5_1_coverToward the Decipherment of a Set of Mid-Colonial Khipus from the Santa Valley, Coastal Peru” by Manuel Medrano and Gary Urton

Predatory Value Economies of Dispossession and Disturbed Relationalities” by Jodi A. Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, Jodi Melamed, and Chandan Reddy

Black Aesthetics, Black Value” by Lewis R. Gordon

Rural Voids” by Miriam Driessen

Desiring Blackness: A Queer Orientation to Marvel’s Black Panther, 1998–2016” by André Carrington

Conversational Exculpature” by Daniel Hoek

SMX_22_1(55)_coverThe Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner” by Saidiya Hartman

Collective Memory and the Transfeminist 1970s: Toward a Less Plausible History” by Finn Enke

Realism and the Absence of Value” Shamik Dasgupta

Partus sequitur ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery” by Jennifer L. Morgan

The Authoritarian Personality

The most recent issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, “The Authoritarian Personality,” edited by Robyn Marasco, is now available.SAQ_new_pr

In response to the recent rise of neo-fascist movements around the world, the intensification of racist violence against black and brown people, the reactionary backlash against feminism, and the crisis of neoliberal capitalism, contributors to this special issue of SAQ offer a reappraisal of The Authoritarian Personality (1950) that yields fresh insights and new resources for contemporary critique.

While arguably the first major contribution to the field of political psychology, the book by Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford has been relegated to the margins of Frankfurt School critical theory, even as an industry of scholarship has formed around Adorno’s philosophical and cultural criticism. By focusing on The Authoritarian Personality and its relevance for contemporary politics, the contributors aim to correct this imbalance and assess the empirical project in early critical theory, including its integration of political sociology and social psychology.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Three New Journal Partnerships for 2019

In 2019, Duke University Press will begin publishing three journals: Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, and the Illinois Journal of Mathematics. Read on to learn more about these new journal partnerships.

CaptureCritical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory is an open-access, online journal established by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs with the aim of foregrounding the global reach and form of contemporary critical theory. Its content is currently hosted here and will soon move to our website. Critical Times reflects on and facilitates forms of transnational solidarity that draw upon critical theory and political practice. It seeks to redress missed opportunities for critical dialogue between the global South and global North and to generate contacts across the current divisions of knowledge and languages in the South and across the peripheries. The journal publishes essays, interviews, dialogues, dispatches, visual art, and various other platforms for critical reflection that engage with social and political theory, literature, philosophy, art criticism, and other fields. It also publishes texts that shed light on contemporary practices of authoritarian and neo-fascist politics, nativist and atavistic cultural formations, economic exclusion, and forms of life where different, emancipatory social worlds might be imagined and articulated. The journal’s editors are Anuj Bhuwania, Judith Butler, Robin Celikates (Commissioning Editor), Rodrigo De La Fabián, Samera Esmeir (Commissioning Editor), Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Ramsey McGlazer, Juan Obarrio (Commissioning Editor), and Katharine Wallerstein.

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Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature presents cutting-edge research on modern literary production, dissemination, and reception in China and beyond. It also publishes works that study the shaping influence of traditional literature and culture on modern and contemporary China. Prism actively promotes scholarly investigations from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, and it encourages integration of theoretical inquiry with empirical research. The journal strives to foster in-depth dialogues between Western and Chinese literary theories that illuminate both the unique features of each interlocutor and their shared insights into issues of universal interest. Prism is edited by Zong-qi Cai and Yunte Huang and is a new incarnation of Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC), founded in 1987 by the Centre for Humanities Research of Lingnan University.

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Founded in 1957, the Illinois Journal of Mathematics (IJM) featured in its inaugural volume the papers of many of the world’s leading mathematicians. Since then, IJM has published many influential papers, including the proof of the Four Color Conjecture, and continues to publish original research articles in all areas of mathematics. The quarterly journal is edited by Steven Bradlow and sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The editorial board comprises a mix of preeminent mathematicians from within its host department and across the mathematical research establishment. Learn more about this publishing partnership.

Check dukeupress.edu/journals for these journals, coming soon.

Science and Literature in North and South Korea

coverimageThe most recent issue of the Journal of Korean Studies, “Science and Literature in North and South Korea,” edited by Christopher P. Hanscom and Dafna Zur, is now available.

This issue offers a groundbreaking framework for approaching the multilayered relations between literature and science both in Korea and in other sites in the modern world. Paying particular attention to the ways in which literature and science share a linguistic medium, the nine articles that comprise this special issue show how literature and science interconnect as modes of understanding and perceiving the world. This issue is a must-read not only for specialists in modern Korean literature but also for scholars of modern Korea working across all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

The Novel and Neoliberalism

coverimageThe most recent issue of Novel, “The Novel and Neoliberalism,” edited by John Marx and Nancy Armstrong, is now available.

How has the form of the novel responded to the conditions now grouped under the term “neoliberalism”? These conditions have generated an explosion of narrative forms that make the past two decades one of the two or three most significant periods in the history of the novel. The contributors to this issue ask whether these formal innovations can be understood as an unprecedented break from the past or the latest chapter in a process that has been playing out over the past three centuries. In response to this question, they use a range of contemporary novels to consider whether conditions of multinational capitalism limit the novel’s ability to imagine a future beyond the limits of that world. Do novels that reject the option of an alternative world nevertheless reimagine the limits of multinational capitalism as the precondition for such a future? With these concerns in mind, contributors demonstrate how major contemporary novelists challenge national traditions of the novel both in the Anglophone West and across the Global South. This collective inquiry begins with a new essay by and interview with British novelist Tom McCarthy.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Chinese Encounters with Western Theories

coverimageThe most recent issue of Modern Language Quarterly, “Chinese Encounters with Western Theories,” edited by Wang Ning and Marshall Brown, is now available.

Like so much in today’s China, literary theorists have met Western work with a mix of importation, imitation, adaptation, and confrontation. Autonomy and engagement are both esteemed, but not easily reconciled. Both historical and polemical, “Chinese  Encounters with Western Theories” offers both close-up and broad-spectrum accounts from three of China’s leading academics together with authoritative Western critiques and a sovereign overview by a scholar based in both countries. The result is a vivid snapshot of cross-currents and competing ideologies.

Read the introduction, made freely available.