obituary

Farewell to Greg Tate

Photo by Nisha Sondhe

We were deeply saddened to learn yesterday of the death of music and cultural critic Greg Tate, author of Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader (2016). He was 64. 

After attending Howard University, Tate launched his career at the Village Voice in 1987 and went on to write for many publications, including Vibe, Spin, The Wire, ARTNews, and Downbeat. He is the author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America and Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience and the editor of Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture. In 2016 we collected many of his writings in Flyboy 2, which features interviews, reviews, and art, book, and music criticism.

Tate was also a musician who led the conducted improvisation ensemble Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. He served as a visiting professor at Yale, Columbia, Brown and Williams. In 2020 he co-curated the exhibition Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

His editor, Ken Wissoker, says, “Greg Tate’s Voice essays invented a whole new critical language — both a new form of critical writing and a theoretical approach. It would be hard to underestimate how much a whole generation learned from him.  It was a privilege to know him and a dream and an honor to work with him on Flyboy 2.  An incalculable loss, far too soon.”

Duke University Press has a final book with Greg Tate under contract, to be published sometime in the next few years. Titled White Cube Fever: Hella Conjure and Writing on the Black Arts, it is a collection of his writing on Black arts, including essays on Carrie Mae Weems, Basquiat, Arthur Jafa, Kerry James Marshall, Sanford Biggers, Lonnie Holley, Ellen Gallagher, and Theaster Gates. It will be a bittersweet pleasure for our staff to work on this posthumous project.

Read more about Tate and his work in obituaries in NPR, Rolling Stone, and ARTNews.

Our condolences go out to Tate’s family, friends, and legions of fans. 

Farewell to Lauren Berlant

berlant1We are deeply sorry to learn of the death of theorist Lauren Berlant following a long illness. Berlant was the author or editor of six books with us. They were also a founding editor of the series Writing Matters! and Theory Q and a contributor to many edited collections and journal issues. 

Berlant was George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where they taught since 1984. Their first title with us was The Queen of American Goes to Washington City (1997), which Judith Butler called “a keen and disarming book.” They followed it up with The Female Complaint (2008) and then with Cruel Optimism (2011), which became their most popular book, reaching outside the academy and inspiring art and even a punk song. Writing in The Progressive, queer humorist Kate Clinton said, “If you are looking for some new language to use to describe the current crisis of hope, read Cruel Optimism. . . . It is a wild, deeply witty examination of our attachments to food, love, politics, family, and pop culture.” Berlant’s most recent book was Reading Sedgwick (2019), an edited collection on the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.

978-0-8223-5111-5_prCruel Optimism was the winner of the American Comparative Literature Association 2012 Rene Wellek Award. In 2019, Berlant received the  Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Literature Section of Modern Language Association. They were also a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Berlant contributed to a number of our journals, including Social Text, SAQ, the minnesota review, and Public Culture. We have made their 2012 interview in Qui Parle freely available until September 2021.

Berlant especially liked working collaboratively and published two co-written books with us, Sex, or the Unbearable (2013), with Lee Edelman, and The Hundreds (2019), with Kathleen Stewart. In an interview with UChicago News, Berlant said, “Other people’s minds are amazing. Collaboration is like a super-intensified version of teaching, where you and somebody else are working something out, and you’re building on each other—but you’re also just missing each other. There’s the complete joy of the ‘not me.’ Seeing somebody else at work, seeing somebody else’s generativity and seeing how, together, you can compose things that neither of you could have done by yourself.” Stewart says of Berlant, “Lauren held a door in the world open for so many of us. Now we shoulder on, in gratitude. The outpouring of love from everywhere is the biggest testimony to Lauren’s beauty and impact.”

The HundredsNot long after the publication of The Hundreds, Berlant was profiled by Hua Hsu in The New Yorker, an unusual honor for an academic, and a testament to the huge reach of Berlant’s work. Writing about The Hundreds, Hsu says, “In Berlant and Stewart’s hands, affect theory provides a way of understanding the sensations and resignations of the present, the normalized exhaustion that comes with life in the new economy. It is a way of framing uniquely modern questions.” 

Around the Press, those who worked with Berlant are deeply mourning the loss. Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker said, “I’ve known Lauren since shortly after they arrived at the University of Chicago in the mid-1980s. Lauren had a singularly brilliant mind, questioning their own thoughts mid-sentence in pursuit of a better account.  In book after book Lauren advanced a fully connected project, one with deep political commitments, but one that could never be fully known in advance. One of the greatest theorists of their generation— someone always generously reaching out to smart younger scholars—it was the greatest privilege to be their publisher and friend.”

Design Manager Amy Ruth Buchanan designed many of Berlant’s books, including the now iconic cover for Cruel Optimism. She says, “Lauren Berlant was one of the kindest, smartest, and most appreciative and generous authors a publisher could hope to work with. I am so sad to learn of their passing.”

Executive Editor Courtney Berger says, “Lauren was a fierce intellectual who relentlessly challenged our assumptions about gender, sex, nation, and feeling. Lauren was also an incredibly generous collaborator who sought out opportunities to think alongside and in conversation with others. Even as they dwelled on the structural violence and difficulties of thriving in a world dominated by capitalism, racism, and sexism, Lauren saw the potential for us to radically transform our relationship to the world and to ourselves. Lauren was a wit, who liked to share and hear new jokes. They loved cats, silly cat photos, and elaborate cat furniture. And they could always direct you to the best vegan food in town. Above all, Lauren was a friend and a comrade, and I will miss them terribly.”

Berger has been working with Berlant on their final book, On the Inconvenience of Other People. Berlant turned the manuscript in just a few weeks before their death and we expect to publish it in Fall 2022. In the new book Berlant considers how we might “loosen” our relations to the objects and situations that we are unhappily attached to in a way that might transform our political conditions and create new life worlds.

For three decades, we have been honored to publish the groundbreaking work of Lauren Berlant. We will miss them as a scholar, a collaborator, and a friend. Our condolences go out to all of Lauren’s friends, family, and colleagues, and especially to their partner Ian Horswill.

Farewell to Lesley Stern

lesley-stern-200x200We are sorry to learn of the death of Lesley Stern, author, most recently, of Diary of a Detour. Her editor, Ken Wissoker, says, “Lesley Stern was a singular intellectual presence, brilliant and funny.  That wit and insight came through in every literary genre. It was a huge privilege to work with her on this last book, Diary of a Detour, where her spirit will live on.”

Stern taught in a number of universities around the globe (including at the University of Zimbabwe; Glasgow University; La Trobe and Murdoch Universities; The University of New South Wales; and University of California, Irvine) before moving to University of California, San Diego in 2000, where she was Professor of Visual Arts until 2013. She was the author of Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book and The Scorsese Connection, and co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance.

Diary of a DetourDiary of a Detour is Stern’s memoir of living with the chronic lymphocytic leukemia that eventually led to her death. She chronicles the fears and daily experience of coming to grips with an incurable form of cancer by describing the dramas and delving into the science. Poet Eileen Myles called it “the most pleasurable cancer book imaginable.”

We invite you to watch the online celebration of Lesley Stern’s book as a way to remember her life and work. It features readings by Stern, Donna Haraway and Eileen Myles, and a Q&A moderated by Lisa Cartwright.

Remembering Mafalda Creator Quino

This week we learned of the death of Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as Quino, the creator of Latin America’s beloved comic strip character Mafalda. The Argentine cartoonist was 88.

MafaldaIn Mafalda: A Social and Political History of Latin America’s Global Comic—first published in Argentina in 2014 and appearing here in English for the first time—Isabella Cosse analyzes the comic’s vast appeal across multiple generations. From Mafalda breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to readers to express her opposition to the 1966 Argentine coup, to Spanish students’ protest signs bearing her face, to the comic’s cult status in Korea, Cosse provides insights into the cartoon’s production, circulation, and incorporation into social and political conversations. Analyzing how Mafalda reflects generational conflicts, gender, modernization, the Cold War, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and much more, Cosse demonstrates the unexpected power of humor to shape revolution and resistance.

Cosse shared this remembrance on Instagram:

He’s gone. Quino, the creator of Mafalda, one of the best artists in Argentina, has left us. We knew it could happen, but that doesn’t take the pain away. Soon, the media became filled with loving messages and memories. Quino and his creations have left a strong mark on many generations all over the world. I thought immediately in one of his self-portraits. He made few of them but he was somehow present in each of his characters. I recalled one in particular. On it, he is wearing prison clothes with his drawings on them. When I was writing about Mafalda, I had this image very present in my mind. I believe it expresses very well Quino`s relationship with his creations, his sense of humor and irony, and his peculiar philosophical approach, which he managed to convey through his art. His is a very original production, difficult to label. He will always be with us in these creations. And, then, he will come alive in the hearts of each and every one of us.

Photo of Mafalda statue surrounded by flowers and candles

Photo by Richard Shpuntoff. See more at http://www.bacityguide.com.

Earlier this year, Cosse wrote about how Mafalda was harnessed to encourage Argentinians to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about this iconic character by ordering a copy of Mafalda. Save 30% with coupon code E19COSSE.

Farewell to Amy Kaplan

Kaplan croppedWe are sorry to learn of the recent death of Amy Kaplan, Edward W. Kane Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and past president of the American Studies Association. Kaplan was co-editor, with Donald J. Pease, of Cultures of United States Imperialism (1994), a collection which marked a paradigm shift for the field of American Studies, forcing scholars to contend with the United States’s imperialist history. Kaplan also contributed to several edited collections we published: No More Separate Spheres! (2002), September 11 in History (2003), and The Futures of American Studies (2002).

Retired Executive Editor Reynolds Smith worked closely with Kaplan during his time at the Press. He shared these words

Trying to come to terms with the many emotions stirred by Amy’s death brings to mind her gift of quiet calm while the storm rages, her wry and reassuring grin in the midst of the disturbing facts on the ground. What a great loss for, first of all, the inhabitants of this nation, now engaged once again, and perhaps as never before, in trying to figure out how to rescue our country from the failures of its past that still linger, even seemingly proliferate, in the present. Cultures of United States Imperialism was one huge step forward in the struggle to recognize, understand, and accept these failures and move on from them to a greater good. For Amy it was an early step in the direction she followed in the rest of her brilliant career. I share some of the pain I know her friends and family feel, and I send them my deepest condolences at the loss of this very special person, who shined a light into the darkness we must negotiate for our survival and that of all the others who share our world.

Our condolences to Amy Kaplan’s family, friends and colleagues.

Farewell to Tony Allen

Tony_Allen_med_band_cropped_(231308)

Photo by  Tore Sætre

We are sorry to learn of the death of pioneering afrobeat drummer Tony Allen last week. We published Allen’s autobiography, a collaboration with Yale University’s Michael E. Veal, in 2013. Allen, who was 79, died at his home in Paris.

 

Allen was one of the creators of the afrobeat genre and was best known for his collaboration with Nigerian artist Fela Kuti in the 1960s and 70s. He then had a thriving solo career and was still releasing albums and playing gigs through 2019. His latest album, Rejoice, a collaboration with trumpeter Hugh Masekela, was just released in March.

978-0-8223-5591-5_prTony Allen: An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with the musician and scholar Michael E. Veal. Veal says, “I’m so grateful for our friendship. We spent a lot of time hanging out together, and most of it was spent laughing. I just spoke with him by phone two weeks ago and it was just as usual—we laughed and talked for an hour. I can truly say I had some of the best times of my life playing, writing and hanging with Tony.” Of Allen’s music, Veal says, “His groove was spectacular—extraordinary pocket, but loose and jazzy at all times. Kept it moving so beautifully. Knew just when to nail it and just when to let it flow.”

Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker acquired the memoir. He says, “Tony Allen was an absolute giant of late twentieth-century popular music, from the time when he was the engine of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 to his wide-ranging later collaborations. It was a complete honor to publish his memoir, a unique and indelible window into his life, afrobeat, and contemporary pop music.”

Tony Allen is remembered in obituaries in the New York Times, the Guardian, Rolling Stone, the BBC, NPR, Pitchfork, and many other prominent media outlets. We send our best to his friends and family and encourage everyone to seek out his music.

Farewell to Joanna Frueh

We were sorry to learn of the death of artist Joanna Frueh on February 20, 2020. We published Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert): Performance Pieces, 1979–2004, a collection of  eighteen of her essential performance texts, in 2008. Her work also appears in M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Theory, and Criticism.

Frueh’s work has been called trailblazing, inspiring, seductive, innovative, liberating, and playful. In 1976 The Feminist Art Journal published Frueh’s first piece of art criticism, and in 1979 she presented her first performance at the Deson Gallery in Chicago. In Chicago during the 1970s Frueh was the director of Artemesia Gallery, one of the first women’s galleries. As a professor of art history, contemporary art was her area of expertise, and she taught studio courses in performance art. Between 1997 and 2006 she was Professor of Art History, and then in 2007, Professor Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. Frueh received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art in 2008.

978-0-8223-4040-9_prAlong with Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert), her books include Erotic Faculties (1996), Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love (2001), Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure (2006), The Glamour of Being Real (2011), A Short Story about a Big Healing (2013), and Unapologetic Beauty (2019). In 2005 the exhibition Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective, curated by Tanya Augsburg, was at Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV.

In a cover endorsment for Clairvoyance, (For Those in the Desert),  James Elkins of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote, “There is a lot of talk in academia about innovation and independence, but there is also a lot of what Nietzsche called ‘herd mentality.’ For those searching for an independent voice, here it is. Joanna is everything academic critics like: theoretically sophisticated, complex, ambiguous, experimental. She is also a lot of things academic critics don’t trust: openly sexual, oblivious of convention, dreamy, ecstatic, wild beyond classification.”

Joanna Frueh’s personal archives are at Stanford University. She is survived by her beloved spouse Kathleen Williamson of Tucson, Arizona, and her sister Renee Wood, of Willow Springs, Missouri. We at the Press send them our condolences.

 

 

Farewell to Annette Kolodny

Kolodny F12 Author Photo color Photograph by Susanna Corcoran

Photo by Susanna Corcoran

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Annette Kolodny on September 11 after a long illness. Kolodny was College of Humanities Professor Emerita of American Literature and Culture at the University of Arizona. Kolodny published several books with us.

From 1988 to 1993, Kolodny served as Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. Following her tenure, she wrote Failing the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century (1998). The book explored the changing structure of the American family and its impact on both curriculum and university benefits policies, offered recommendations for overhauling the culture of decision making on campus, explored the present state of higher education and offered a sobering view of what lies ahead.

Kolodny also edited a highly-praised edition of The Life and Traditions of the Red Man  (2007) by Joseph Nicolar. The Maine Sunday Telegram said the book’s publication was, “a cause for multicultural celebration and a benchmark event in local, regional and even North American scholarship.”

978-0-8223-5286-0_prIn 2012, Kolodny published the capstone to her long and distinguished career, In Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery. The book offers a radically new interpretation of two medieval Icelandic tales, known as the Vinland sagas. Indian Country Today called it “groundbreaking,” and novelist Margaret Atwood shared her enthusiasm for the book on Twitter, calling it “fascinating.”

Read more about Annette Kolodny’s many achievements in her obituary.

We offer our condolences to Professor Kolodny’s colleagues, friends, and family.

 

Farewell to Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel_Wallerstein.2008We were saddened to learn of the recent death of esteemed sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein. We published his book World-Systems Analysis in 2004.

Wallerstein taught at Columbia University, Binghamton University (where he led the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilization), and finally at Yale University, where he was a Senior Research Scholar until his death on August 31.

In World-Systems Analysis, Immanuel Wallerstein provided a concise and accessible introduction to the comprehensive approach that he pioneered forty years ago to understanding the history and development of the modern world. Since Wallerstein first developed world-systems analysis, it has become a widely utilized methodology within the historical social sciences and a common point of 978-0-8223-3442-2_prreference in discussions of globalization. Wallerstein explains the defining characteristics of world-systems analysis: its emphasis on world-systems rather than nation-states, on the need to consider historical processes as they unfold over long periods of time, and on combining within a single analytical framework bodies of knowledge usually viewed as distinct from one another—such as history, political science, economics, and sociology. He describes the world-system as a social reality comprised of interconnected nations, firms, households, classes, and identity groups of all kinds.

In 2011, we published a collection of essays about Wallerstein’s important work, Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World, edited by David Palumbo-Liu, Nirvana Tanoukhi,  and Bruce Robbins. Scholars of comparative literature, gender, geography, history, law, race, and sociology all consider what thinking on the world scale might mean for particular disciplinary practices, knowledge formations, and objects of study. The collection shows the impact of Wallerstein’s ideas throughout academe.

In his cover endorsement for World-Systems Analysis, Kai Erickson of Yale University said, “Immanuel Wallerstein’s mind can reach as far and encompass as much as anyone’s in our time.” He will be greatly missed.