Here in Durham, we’re in the middle of warm spring weather perfect for reading outside in the sunshine. Add some of these upcoming May reads to your own reading list, and don’t forget that you can save up to 50% on in-stock titles through May 10! (Read the fine print of our sale here.)
In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie’s historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics.
Through essays analyzing the photography of luminaries such as Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Susan Meiselas, pioneering feminist art critic Abigail Solomon-Godeau, in Photography after Photography, extends her politically engaged and theoretically sophisticated inquiry into the historical and cultural circuits of power as they shape and inform the practice, criticism, and historiography of photography.
In The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen Noenoe K. Silva creates a model indigenous intellectual history of a culture where—using Western standards—none is presumed to exist by examining the work of two lesser-known Hawaiian language writers from the nineteenth-century whose prolific output across many genres created a record of Native Hawaiian cultural history and thought.
Gabriel Rockhill, in Counter-History of the Present, examines the widespread understanding that we are living in an era of globalization that is bound by economic and technological networks and an unquestionable faith in democracy, replacing it with a counter-history that accounts for the diversity of lived experience and offers new ways to imagine the future.
In Archives of Labor Lori Merish establishes working-class women as significant actors within nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture by analyzing previously unexplored archives of working-class women’s literature, showing how white, African American, and Mexican American factory workers, seamstresses, domestic workers, and prostitutes understood themselves while forging class identity.
Beyond Civil Society challenges current understandings of the politics of protest, activism, and participation by examining the ways in which social movements in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Latin America blur the boundaries between civil and uncivil activism and between activism carried out in state and the streets. The collection is edited by Sonia E. Alvarez, Jeffrey W. Rubin, Millie Thayer, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, and Agustín Laó-Montes.
In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, arguing that genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region and that a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics.
The contributors to Photography and the Optical Unconscious, edited by Shawn Michelle Smith and Sharon Sliwinski, use Walter Benjamin’s concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency, thereby opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.
Judith Casselberry’s The Labor of Faith examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of a Black Pentecostal church in Harlem, showing how their work keeps the church running while providing them with a spiritual authority that allows them to exercise power in the male-led church.
In The Economization of Life Michelle Murphy examines the ways in which efforts at population control since World War II have tied reproduction to neoliberal capitalism, showing how data collection practices have been used to quantify the value of a human life in terms of its ability to improve the nation-state’s gross domestic product.
Erin Beck, in How Development Projects Persist, examines microfinance NGOs working with poor, rural women in Guatemala to show how these women creatively and strategically use the NGOs to their own benefit in ways that do not necessarily match the goals of the NGOs, demonstrating that development projects are often transformed and persist in unexpected ways.
We’re also distributing three new exhibition catalogues this month:
Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, a publication of the Nasher Musuem of Art at Duke University, accompanies the exhibition of the same name, a ten-year survey of one of the most provocative and iconoclastic artists working today. Royal Flush is on display at the Nasher until July 16, 2017.
A landmark exhibition on display at the Brooklyn Museum until September 17, 2017, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. The accompanying Sourcebook republishes an array of rare and little-known documents from the period by artists, writers, cultural critics, and art historians such as Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace. The exhibition will also be on display at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017, through January 14, 2018, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26, 2018, through September 30, 2018.
Julie Thomson’s Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College is the first in-depth exhibition and catalogue devoted to photography taken at the college and features over 100 photographs by more than forty artists as well as essays, photographer biographies, and a chronology of photography at Black Mountain College. The catalogue is published by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, where the exhibition is on display until May 20, 2017.
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