Music Studies

New Books in April

Spring is finally here, and what better way to welcome it than a round-up of new and forthcoming books? Here are all the fantastic new books to expect in April.

 Novak & Sakakeeny cover image, 5889-3Keywords in Soundby David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny, defines the field of sound studies and provides a comprehensive conceptual apparatus for why studying sound matters. Each essay includes the keyword’s intellectual history, a discussion of its role in cultural, social and political discourses, and suggestions for possible future research.

Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison’s Reclaiming Travel is a provocative meditation on the meaning of travel in the twenty-first century. Eschewing tourism, Stavans and Ellison urge for a rethinking of contemporary travel in order to return it to its roots as a tool for self-discovery and transformation.

Anthropologist Shalini Shankar explores how racial and ethnic differences are Shankar cover image, 5877-0created and commodified through advertisements and marketing in Advertising Diversity. Focusing on Asian American ad firms, she describes the day-to-day process of creating ads and argues that advertising has framed Asian Americans as “model consumers,” thereby legitimizing their presence in American popular culture.

The contributors to Postgenomicsedited by Sarah S. Richardson and Hallam Stevens, assess the changes to the life sciences the Human Genome Project’s completion brought, develop new frameworks for studying the human genome in the postgenomic era, and show how the environment, technology, race, and gender influence the genome and how we think about it.

In Unearthing ConflictFabiana Li examines the politics surrounding the rapid growth of mining in the Peruvian Andes, arguing that anti-mining protests are not only about mining’s negative environmental impacts, but about the legitimization of contested forms of knowledge.

Hochberg cover image, 5887-9In Visual Occupations, Gil Z. Hochberg examines films, photography, painting and literature by Israeli and Palestinian artists. Israel’s greater ability to control what can be seen, how, and from what position drives the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The artists Hochberg studies challenge Israel’s visual and social dominance by creating new ways to see the conflict.

Nancy van Deusen examines over one hundred lawsuits that indio slaves brought to the Spanish court in the mid-sixteenth century to gain their freedom in Global Indios. The category indio was largely constructed during these lawsuits, and van Deusen emphasizes the need to situate colonial indigenous subjects and slavery in a global context.

In Political Landscapes, an environmental history of twentieth-century Mexico, Christopher R. Boyer conceptualizes the forests of Chihuahua and Michoacán as political landscapes. Conflicts among local landowners, the federal government and timber companies politicized these geographies, demonstrating the crucial role that social forces play in the construction of environments.

In Repeating Žižekedited by Agon Hamza, the contributors read the influential and controversial Slavoj Žižek as a Hamza cover image, 5891-6
philosopher. They place his work in the Western philosophical tradition and analyze it using his own theses, concepts, and methods, all while attempting to formalize his thought into a philosophical school.

Challenging Social Inequality, edited by Miguel Carter, is a collection of essays examining the history and contemporary struggles of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement, the largest social movement in the Americas.

A Look at Theater: An Interview with Tom Sellar

Read the most recent issue of Theater by clicking the image above.

Read the most recent issue of Theater by clicking the image.

Tom Sellar, editor of Theater magazine, recently discussed with us the important topics and debates to which the magazine has contributed, future special issues, and how he sees the magazine developing in the next several years. As an undergrad, Tom used to read back copies of the magazine in used bookstores near his college campus and decided then that the magazine was “a debate about theater that I wanted to participate in.” He began his tenure at Theater in 1994 and was appointed editor of the magazine in 2003. In addition to editing Theater, Tom is also the lead theater critic for the Village Voice.

How do you differentiate yourself from other journals in your area?

We are more readable. We don’t regard ourselves as a strictly academic journal, we are a creative journal, I would say. Although we have some critical content that is scholarly, we are very careful to edit it so that it’s accessible to anyone who is interested in the subject matter. You don’t need a PhD in cultural theory to know what these ten-dollar words mean. It’s edited like the New Yorker, so that anybody could read it and get something from it; even if it’s a substantive critical essay, we work with the scholar or author to make sure that it is accessible to a general, non-specialized reader. I think what that means is that a lot of the writing has flair, what the French call élan. Theater has a kind of interesting, stylistic voice that hopefully makes it pleasurable to read. We hope that’s participating in a long tradition of theater criticism. So in any given issue you can find critical essays, interviews with directors or producers or artistic visionaries of one kind or another. There are photo dossiers showing set designs or photos of important productions, and there are reviews of performances, but you might also find manifestos by impassioned artists calling for a new form of theater that doesn’t exist yet. It can be a very inspiring journal to read. It’s there for artistic inspiration and reflection. I want that creative dimension to make it more inviting and readable.

What are the current hot topics in this field?

I think that there is a convergence of disciplines that were formerly separated. It is a debate that’s a little hard to follow if you’re not in the field. Performance Studies and Theater Studies, which were sort of separate fields (Theater Studies was sort of confined to aesthetic theater and its histories while Performance Studies took a more expansive view and anything could be considered a performance–a baseball game, a political protest—and an attendant set of theories were worked out around that anthropological investigation.) Those disciplines are coming together at this moment intellectually, which is very exciting. It’s unclear what the outcome will be. Dramaturgy, the area in the field that is rooted in artistic practice, has been a part of that as well, and that’s what Yale specializes in training, that’s the department our journal is based in. So we’ve been able to draw on those fields, I hope in an inspiring way.

What debates or subjects in the field has the journal significantly contributed to?

ddthe_36_2_coverTheater has a long tradition of being the first journal to publish in English many important and controversial dramatists, including Sarah Kane, a tremendous, incredible artist who died very young, and also the Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek. We were one of the first and only journals to present her work in English even after she won the Nobel Prize. Her plays were hard to find. You would think the English speaking world would seek them out and want to stage them. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been the place where you can find that work– and often you can find it before they win the Nobel Prize! It’s a place where you can discover important ideas about theater from foreign theater cultures. In fact, the New York Times even cited our article about Elfriede Jelinek when they were writing about one of her plays when it premiered in New York. I think as a link or conduit to new ideas in the art form, we’ve always contributed to the creative development of the theater in a very important way.

ddthe_39_3In two recent intellectual debates we’ve also been an important voice. One is about curation and the way that art forms are converging in performance. Also a slightly more esoteric debate has emerged over what has been called “Postdramatic Theater” by the very important German theorist Hans-Thies Lehmann proposing a category of contemporary theater beyond the dramatic, with some of its theatrical vestiges. A lot of people are asking if this is the future of theater. We published a significant response to Lehamnn’s book by another German author, Bernd Stegemann, reflecting on the impact and validity of Lehamann’s proposition that contemporary theater has rejected mimesis and evolved beyond “drama” itself.  Hans-Thies Lehmann’s book is very important, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to continue the discussion about it.

What are some of the special issues you are most proud of?

ddthe_41_3I’m particularly proud of an edition we did about one of the greatest living stage artists, in my opinion; the Polish director Krystian Lupa, who I think is one of the great artists of the 20th century—and unjustly neglected and misunderstood in the English speaking world. I’ve followed his stage productions for more than a decade now and each one has completely blown my mind. It’s a revolutionary form of acting, a brilliant use of time and space on stage, and there was almost nothing about it in English as I started to look around to learn more. I commissioned first English translations of his writings about the stage, his aesthetic, journals, his essays on the art of acting, mise-en-scene, and design. So we did a special edition which I co-edited with a colleague from Poland in 2012, Piotr Gruszczyński, which is still one of the few English language publications on Lupa’s really important directing work. That’s the kind of project that can be quixotic to attempt; .when the edition comes out, no one knows who he is, but in 25 years, we will be really proud that we did that.

Similarly I’m proud of our Fall 2015 edition, which is a collection of new plays from Brazil, a very important global power on the rise, with which we have little cultural literacy here in the US. I hope that by presenting four new plays in first English translation with contextualizing information about each of those artists, we will be paving the way for more engagement with Brazilian theater. It’s surprisingly hard to find out about the theater there and they have some impressively innovative artists.

Can you tell me a little more about upcoming special issues?

ddthe_44_2In 2014 we did a special edition about the curation of performance, and we’re planning a second issue with curation-themed articles, interviews, and creative dossiers. I think it’s going to be very exciting. We have enjoyed a tremendous response to the first one both in the theater world and the art world. (The art world is interested in how to use performance and the theater world wants new ideas from the art world and thinks that maybe they have some answers. The curators are kind of go-betweens.) The issue will appear in 2016 and I’m hoping that this sequel edition will be more global in scope, perhaps including practitioners in the Middle East and Asia, because the first one was mostly North and South American and European. This will be a chance to look at the different kinds of strategies that people are taking to reinvent the presentation of the performing arts. It’s not just theater; it’s dance, performance art, social-engagement experiments that can’t be described by any single category. There’s generally a feeling that the old ways and old institutional thinking isn’t working anymore and has to be reimagined. Festival and art-organizations’ curators are on the front lines: . They must reinvent the context for their public, for their audience, or these institutions are going to fall by the wayside. So it’s interesting to talk to the pioneers who are leading the way, and I’m hooked. As an editor, I want to talk to all of them. I love doing the interviews, I’ve learned so much from making site visits and seeing what they’re doing and then asking them about it. And I think the interviews have been lively to read.

How do you see the journal developing in the next few years?

I hope that we will be more of a platform for artists and critics and scholars who are engaged with political questions because I think we’re entering a very turbulent political period. I hope that we will engage in the right ways. I hope that we will build on the success of our curation projects to include performance curators in the critical dialogue that we are building–using them more often as authors, presenting more of their work in dossier forms–because I think they are significant cultural agents and I would like to involve them in the published conversation.

Ultimately, as someone who is entering the curation field a little bit on the side, I wonder whether there could be a live component to a journal. If a journal is a convening of people with ideas that relate to each other, organized into the rubric of print or web discussion, is there a live equivalent of that? What if we brought all the artists who work on, say, surveillance themes–or migration issues–together to talk on these topics, as we would in the pages of Theater? If we had an event where their theater projects could be seen side by side, we could really discover some connections. I don’t know what the answer is to this exactly. But as a theater person, I aspire to find a live incarnation of what we already do in print and online.

To subscribe to Theater, visit dukeupress.edu/theater.

New Books in March

It’s March already, and time again for our round-up of new books be coming out this month. We have quite a list this time around!

Olsson cover image, 5804-6In Hitchcock à la Carte, a study of Alfred Hitchcock’s two television series, Jan Olsson demonstrates how Hitchcock created a personal brand built on his large body, gastronomical proclivities, and the manipulation of bodies and food, which allowed him to mark his creative oeuvre as strictly his own.

In It’s Been Beautiful, Gayle Wald examines Soul!, the first African American black variety television show on public television, which between 1968 and 1973 was instrumental in expressing the diversity of black popular culture, thought and politics, as well as helping to create the notion of black community.

South Side GirlsMarcia Chatelain recasts Chicago’s Great Migration through the lens of black girlhood in South Side Girls. She argues that the construction of black girlhood in Chicago between 1910 and 1940 reflected the black community’s anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress, as well as responses to major events and social crises.

Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison’s Reclaiming Travel is a provocative meditation on the meaning of travel in the twenty-first century. Eschewing tourism, Stavans and Ellison urge for a rethinking of contemporary travel in order to return it to its roots as a tool for self-discovery and transformation.

Keywords in Sound, edited by David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny, defines the field of sound studies and provides a comprehensive conceptual apparatus for why studying sound matters. Each essay includes the keyword’s intellectual history, a discussion of its role in cultural, social and political discourses, and suggestions for possible future research.

Wang cover image, 5890-9In Legions of Boom, Oliver Wang chronicles the history of the San Francisco Bay Area Filipino American mobile DJ scene of the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. He shows how DJ crews helped unify the Bay Area’s Filipino American community, gave its members social status and brotherhood, and drew huge crowds.

Colin Milburn examines how nanotechnology research has developed in relation to video games, allowing for the creation of new technologies that enable the transformation of scientific speculation and video game fantasy into reality in Mondo Nano.

Interdisciplinary in design and concept, Speculation, Now, edited by Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao, with Prem Krishnamurthy and Carin Kuoni, illuminates unexpected convergences between images, concepts, and language.

The contributors to Plastic Materialities, edited by Brenna Bhandar and Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, explore the ways in which Catherine Malabou’s new materialism and concept of plasticity can provide new insights into issues of race, colonialism, subjectivity, science, social order, sovereignty and justice. This collection also includes three new essays by Malabou and an interview.

Newly back in print, Normal Life, by Dean Spade, sets forth a politic that goes beyond the quest for mere legal inclusion, and is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require.

Starosielski cover image, 5755-1Nicole Starosielski examines undersea communication cable network in The Undersea Network, bringing it to the surface of media scholarship and making visible the “wireless” network’s materiality. She argues that the network is inextricably linked to historical and political factors and that it is precarious, rural, aquatic, territorially entrench and semi-centralized.

Using the influential and controversial Writing Culture as a point of departure, the thirteen essays in Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology, edited by Orin Starn, consider anthropology’s past, document the current state of the field, and outline its future possibilities.

The Limits of Okinawa, by Wendy Matsumura, traces the emergence of a sense of Okinawan difference, showing how local and mainland capitalists, intellectuals, and politicians attempted to resolve clashes with labor by appealing to the idea of a unified Okinawan community.

Fabiana Li examines the politics surrounding the rapid growth of mining in the Peruvian Andes, arguing that anti-mining protests are not only about mining’s negative environmental impacts, but about the legitimization of contested forms of knowledge in Unearthing Conflict.

Ferguson cover image, 5886-2James Ferguson examines the rise of social welfare programs in southern Africa in Give a Man a Fish in which states give cash payments to their low income citizens. These programs, Ferguson argues, offer new opportunities for political mobilization and inspire new ways to think about issues of production, distribution, markets, labor and unemployment.

In Broadcasting Modernity, Yeidy M. Rivero shows how commercial Cuban television, which only existed from 1950-1960, was instrumental in the creation and representation of Cuba’s identity as a modern and Western nation-state.

Gavilan Sanchez cover image, 5851-0When Rains Became Floods is the stunning autobiography of Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez, who as a child soldier fought for both the Peruvian guerilla insurgency Shining Path and the Peruvian military during the Peruvian Civil War. After escaping the war, he became a Franciscan priest.

Brunoby Robert Gay, is the story of a Brazilian navy corporal turned drug dealer, who after being imprisoned became the leader of one of Brazil’s biggest criminal factions, the Comando Vermelho. Bruno’s story provides insights into the Brazilian drug trade, prison life, and explains the epidemic of violence in Rio’s favelas.