What is a novel, how did the genre emerge, and how has it changed throughout history? This special issue addresses these perennial questions by bringing the formalist approach of narrative theory into dialogue with the historical approach of novel studies. It identifies and interrogates the convergences between current scholarship in both fields in order to shed new light on English, French, Danish and American fiction from the seventeenth century to the present.
The five essays collected in this special issue focus closely on the period many have identified as a turning point for poet Marianne Moore: the poems and essays she published between 1935 and 1944. The recent editions of The Pangolin and Other Verse and What Are Years account in part for this focus, but there are particular aspects of Moore’s career in this crucial decade that also compel attention. Like other poets of her generation, Moore turned her mind more fully to national and world events in the 1930s; with this came the explicitly ethical emphasis in her writing discussed in the first and last essays in this issue, by Heather White and David Herd, respectively. Like these two, the other articles make their larger claims—about criticism, about revision, about verse form, about performance, about politics—by means of detailed case study.
Read the introduction to this issue, now freely available.
How to get through the cold, dark days of February? With a great new book, of course! Check out what’s releasing this month.
Fans of 2016’s Spill are eagerly awaiting the next book in Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s experimental triptych, M Archive. Engaging with the work of M. Jacqui Alexander and Black feminist thought more generally, M Archive is a series of prose poems that speculatively documents the survival of Black people following a worldwide cataclysm while examining the possibilities of being that exceed the human.
Ari Larissa Heinrich’s Chinese Surplus examines transnational Chinese aesthetic production—from the earliest appearance of Frankenstein in China to the more recent phenomenon of “cadaver art”— to demonstrate how representations of the medically commodified body can illuminate the effects of biopolitical violence and postcolonialism in contemporary life.
Conditions of the Present collects essays by the late Lindon Barrett that theorize race and liberation in the United States, confront critical blind spots within both academic and popular discourse, and speak across institutional divides and the gulf between academia and the street.
Arturo Escobar’s Designs for the Pluriverse presents a new vision of design theory by arguing for the creation of what he calls “autonomous design”—a design practice aimed at channeling design’s world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth.
In The Political Sublime Michael J. Shapiro formulates a new politics of aesthetics by analyzing the experience of the sublime as rendered by a number of artistic and cultural texts that deal with race, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and industrialism, showing how the sublime’s disruptive effects provides the opportunity for a new oppositional politics.
Trevor Getz’s A Primer for Teaching African History is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching African history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, and for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own African history syllabi. It’s part of a new series, Design Principles for Teaching History, which will also feature books on teaching Environmental History and Gender History.
Assembling a range of interviews, essays, and conversations, Sisters in the Life, edited by Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz, narrates the history of African American lesbian media-making during the past thirty years, thereby documenting the important and influential work of this group of understudied and underappreciated artists.
Jason Borge’s Tropical Riffs traces how jazz helped forge modern identities and national imaginaries in Latin America during the mid-twentieth century, showing how throughout the region, jazz functioned as a conduit through which debates about race, sexuality, nation, technology, and modernity raged in newspapers, magazines, literature, and film.
Martin Duberman’s The Rest of It is the untold and revealing story of how Duberman—a major historian and a founding figure in the history of gay and lesbian studies—managed to survive and be productive during a difficult twelve year period in which he was beset by drug addiction, health problems, and personal loss.
In Diaspora’s Homeland Shelly Chan provides a broad historical study of how the mass migration of more than twenty million Chinese overseas influenced China’s politics, economics, and culture and helped establish China as a nation-state within a global system.
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Most of the articles in this volume point to new directions in the study of Song literature and cultural history. Contributors explore new lines of inquiry concerning familiar topics, such as the role that the practice of calligraphy played in Su Shi’s life (rather than his calligraphy style), and a new interpretation of the relationship between writing and moral values among Northern Song thinkers. Other articles take up topics that have been overlooked in previous scholarship, span fields that are usually kept separate (such as Su Shi’s biography, Buddhist lineage rivalries, and late imperial vernacular literature), or explore normative virtues, like filial piety, not as part of a philosophical system but as grappled with in lived experience. Collectively, the articles suggest the range of new approaches and topics that still await exploration in this source-rich dynastic period.
As 2017 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the most read articles across all our journals. Check out the top 15 articles that made the list, all freely available until the end of January.
“Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health”
by Lynn M. Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin
“The Impact of the ACA on Premiums: Evidence from the Self-Employed”
by Bradley T. Heim, Gillian Hunter, Ithai Z. Lurie, and Shanthi P. Ramnath
“Revisiting Postmodernism: An Interview with Fredric Jameson”
by Nico Baumbach, Damon R. Young, and Genevieve Yue
“Policy Diffusion across Disparate Disciplines: Private- and Public-Sector Dynamics Affecting State-Level Adoption of the ACA”
by Rena M. Conti and David K. Jones
“Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy”
by Alice E. Marwick
“Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?”
by Cathy J. Cohen
“Necropolitics” by Achille Mbembe
“Pascal’s Wager: Health Insurance Exchanges, Obamacare, and the Republican Dilemma”
by David K. Jones, Katharine W. V. Bradley, and Jonathan Oberlander
“Policy Diffusion in Polarized Times: The Case of the Affordable Care Act”
by Craig Volden
“Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”
by Arjun Appadurai
“The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump”
by Peter E. Gordon
“Introduction: Antinormativity’s Queer Conventions”
by Robyn Wiegman
by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten
“Althusser’s Dramaturgy and the Critique of Ideology”
by Étienne Balibar
In honor of Black Poetry Day, we’re more than pleased to share a few poems from Black poets on our list.
try to silence the loud. the overly proud. the preacher. the
shroud. the sprung and the plowed. try to leaven the low so
the children can grow but the neighbors won’t know, unbossed
but still bowed. try to open the hope with braids and with
rope and with water and soap try to truss out the truth. try to
piecemeal the peace stitch together some sleep and relax for the
reap for the road for the real stuff. try to sap out the stay and
partition the play it is better that way someone whispered once.
try to grow out the grout, groan when you should shout, you
know what it’s about, you know you know you know you know
you know you know but you don’t hear me though.
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Spill
just so you know, no one could have told me you didn’t want to go
outside. this exercises phonograph to take the receiver and call you
for something we hear together, some of the same stories, some of the
same things. to stretch repeat so thin it fades to various is the aim of
the phone call. the phonograph is also a photograph of movement and
what it bears. you found dances waiting for dancers. your silhouette is
patient form. I know you can cant. I know you can make it if you try.
I’m getting along alright. I say a little prayer. mama’s baby sadie mae
ms. davis’ blue and red. at the duck inn mighty lions roar. you and
bobby bradford run away together. this earth tone air is b.c. marks’s
pine bluff arkansas, asleep in new pajamas at the desert inn, to walk
joe williams pieceway home to waycross, you and me against the world,
every time we say goodbye. I’ll be seeing you in all the unfamiliar places
where they till our long advance. this is the cluster song of our romance.
-Fred Moten, b jenkins
And When I Write the Muscles in My Chest Move as if in Flight
Sometimes the eye of the bird
is a sky that is moving
among the molecules and over
twenty different landscapes
someone has crossed, even lived in,
perhaps longing for the soil of at least
one to wear in her pinions in those
high-necked altitudes that see
the endless couplings of man and
woman and woman and man and
man and woman like a garland
circling the broken globe.
-Yvette Christiansë, Castaway
Be sure to check out civil rights poetry collection Words of Protest, Words of Freedom as well, and keep an eye out for consent not to be a single being, an upcoming trilogy by Fred Moten, and M Archive, coming in March from Alexis Pauline Gumbs.
October is upon us, and we have a number of new books to introduce to you this month. Be on the lookout for these exciting titles at bookstores, online, or at academic meetings later this fall.
In The Right to Maim, Jasbir K. Puar continues her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to theorize the production of disability, using Israel’s occupation of Palestine as an example of how settler colonial states rely on liberal frameworks of disability to maintain control of bodies and populations.
Jennifer Terry, in Attachments to War, traces how biomedical logics entangle Americans in a perpetual state of war, in which new forms of wounding necessitate the continual development of treatment and prosthetic technologies while the military justifies violence and military occupation as necessary conditions for advancing medical knowledge.
Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, edited by Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, explores the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare, showing how drones generate ways of understanding the world, shape the ways lives are lived and ended on the ground, and operate within numerous mechanisms of militarized state power.
Tracing the college experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in her new book Grateful Nation, Ellen Moore challenges the popular narratives that explain student veterans’ academic difficulties while showing how these narratives and institutional support for the military lead to suppression of campus debate about the wars, discourage anti-war activism, and encourage a growing militarization.
The Extractive Zone by Macarena Gómez-Barris extends decolonial theory into greater conversation with race, sexuality, and Indigenous studies; and traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices of South American indigenous activists, intellectuals, and artists that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital.
Essays, interviews, and artist statements in Collective Situations —many of which are appearing in English for the first time—present a range of socially engaged art practices in Latin America between 1995 and 2010 that rethink the boundaries between art and activism. The collection is edited by Bill Kelley Jr. and Grant H. Kester.
In Never Alone, Except for Now, juxtaposing contemporary art against familiar features of the Web such as emoticons, Kris Cohen explores how one can be connected to people and places online while simultaneously being alone and isolated. This phenomenon lies in the space between populations built through data collection, and publics created by interacting with others.
Originally published in 1939, Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal is a landmark of modern French poetry and a founding text of the Négritude movement. Journal of a Homecoming, a bilingual edition, features a new authoritative translation, revised introduction, and extensive commentary, making it a magisterial edition of Césaire’s surrealist masterpiece.
In Neoliberalism from Below, Verónica Gago provides a new theory of neoliberalism by examining how Latin American neoliberalism is propelled not just from above by international finance, corporations, and government, but by the activities of migrant workers, vendors, sweatshop workers, and other marginalized groups in and around the La Salada market in Buenos Aires.
Kristen Ghodsee, in Red Hangover, examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism on the contemporary political landscape twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell, reflecting on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and his experience trading derivatives, in The Social Life of Financial Derivatives, Edward LiPuma theorizes the profound social dimensions of derivatives markets and the processes, rituals, mentalities, and belief systems that drive them.
In Monrovia Modern, Danny Hoffman uses the ruins of four iconic modernist buildings in Monrovia, Liberia as a way to explore the relationship between the built environment and political imagination, showing how these former symbols of modernist nation building transformed into representations of the challenges that Monrovia’s residents face.
Steeped in Heritage, by Sarah Ives, explores the racial and environmental politics behind South Africa’s rooibos tea industry to examine heritage-based claims to the indigenous plant by two groups of contested indigeneity: white Afrikaners and “coloured” South Africans.
In Tropical Freedom, Ikuko Asaka examines emancipation’s intersection with settler colonialism in North America, showing how emancipation efforts in the United States and present-day Canada were accompanied by attempts to relocate freed blacks to tropical regions, thereby conceiving freedom as a racially segregated condition based upon geography and climate.
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“Poetry and Poetics,” the most recent special issue of boundary 2 (44:3), emerges from a series of conferences with special emphasis on the topic of “The Social Life of Poetic Language.” This issue stresses that academic theorizing misrepresents the function and nature of poetry. It explores a range of diverse methods and topics instead to redirect contemporary theories and criticisms of poetry and poetics.
Topics in this special issue include lengthy engagements with translation, the poetic in the social world, the new formal imperatives of poetry, and the relation between human and animal over the threshold of word and body. The contributors—Charles Bernstein, Colin Dayan, Stathis Gourgouris, and Dawn Lundy Martin—consider the issues of contemporary poetry from the long perspective of active poetics, a post-Romantic notion with origins in the long 18th century. They show the need for a critical historical practice that understands and promotes the transformative action of poetics.
Dig into the issue now with “Too Philosophical for a Poet”: A Conversation with Charles Bernstein” by Andrew David King, made freely available.
This week’s poem for National Poetry Month comes from poet-physician Rafael Campo’s most recent collection, Alternative Medicine.
When we were six or seven, Dad would quiz us
on the capitals of the world, me and my kid brothers
who didn’t even know our own address. We lived
in New Jersey, not Cuba, and our ignorance
seemed like the reason we would never,
ever go there. So I tried to memorize the names
of the stars printed on my National Geographic
Map of the World: L-I-M-A was the capital of Peru,
not just a kind of bean I hated; I wondered if Peru
was anything like Cuba. I wondered if I would ever see
what I imagined were the horrible, muddy streets
of Helsinki, which sounded like a place where sinners
like me would be punished, sucked into the earth
for good; even Ottawa, in our nice neighbor Canada,
seemed incomprehensibly far away. It was always
at dinnertime when he’d start in on us: Who knows
the capital of Burma? I stared into my succotash,
pushing it around and around with my fork,
sure that children there were starving, dying
of starvation in a city whose name I didn’t even know.
One night, with the distant stars ﬂickering outside
the steamed-up kitchen windows, he asked,
Does anyone here know the capital of Cuba?
Every bone in my body ached with the answer,
the one place in the world I most wanted to visit,
the one place in the world whose name
was always impossible for me to remember.
To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re sharing a poem a week throughout April. Today’s poem, by Roberto Fernández Retamar, can be found in Only the Road / Solo el Camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry, edited and translated by Margaret Randall. Read on for the English translation.
Felices los normales
A Antonia Eiriz
Felices los normales, esos seres extraños.
Los que no tuvieron una madre loca, un padre borracho, un hijo delincuente,
Una casa en ninguna parte, una enfermedad desconocida,
Los que no han sido calcinados por un amor devorante,
Los que vivieron los diecisiete rostros de la sonrisa y un poco más,
Los llenos de zapatos, los arcángeles con sombreros,
Los satisfechos, los gordos, los lindos,
Los rintintín y sus secuaces, los que cómo no, por aquí,
Los que ganan, los que son queridos hasta la empuñadura,
Los flautistas acompañados por ratones,
Los vendedores y sus compradores,
Los caballeros ligeramente sobrehumanos,
Los hombres vestidos de truenos y las mujeres de relámpagos,
Los delicados, los sensatos, los finos,
Los amables, los dulces, los comestibles y los bebestibles.
Felices las aves, el estiércol, las piedras.
Pero que den paso a los que hacen los mundos y los sueños,
Las ilusiones, las sinfonías, las palabras que nos desbaratan
Y nos construyen, los más locos que sus madres, los más borrachos
Que sus padres y más delincuentes que sus hijos
Y más devorados por amores calcinantes.
Que les dejen su sitio en el infierno, y basta.
Happy Are the Normal Ones
To Antonia Eiriz
Happy are the normal ones, those strange beings,
Who didn’t have a crazy mother, drunken father, delinquent child,
A nowhere house, an unknown disease,
Who were never burnt to a crisp by an all-consuming love,
Who lived seventeen smiling faces and a little bit more,
Full of shoes, archangels with hats,
The satisfied, the fat, the beautiful,
Rintintín and his minions, who naturally, right here,
Who earn, who are loved to the hilt,
flautists accompanied by mice,
Salesmen and those who buy from them,
Slightly superhuman gentlemen,
Men dressed in thunder and women in lightning,
The delicate ones, the sensible, the refined,
The lovable, the sweet, the edible and drinkable.
Happy are the birds, the manure, the stones.
But let them make way for those who create worlds and dreams,
Illusions, symphonies, words that break us in two
And put us back together, those crazier than their mothers, drunker
Than their fathers, more delinquent than their children
And more devoured by all-consuming loves.
Leave them their place in hell, that’s all.