Postcolonial Studies

New Books in June

Looking for some compelling reads this summer? Check out these new titles coming out in June!

Presenting ethnographic case studies from across the globe, the contributors to Anthropos and the Material, edited by Penny Harvey, Christian Krohn-Hansen and Knut G. Nustad, question and complicate long-held understandings of the divide between humans and things by examining encounters between the human and the nonhuman in numerous social, cultural, technological, and geographical contexts.

In Anti-Japan Leo T. S. Ching traces the complex dynamics that shape persisting negative attitudes toward Japan throughout East Asia, showing how anti-Japanism stems from the failed efforts at decolonization and reconciliation, the U.S. military presence, and shifting geopolitical and economic conditions in the region.

The contributors to Captivating Technology, edited by Ruha Benjamin, examine how carceral technologies such as electronic ankle monitors and predictive-policing algorithms are being deployed to classify and coerce specific populations and whether these innovations can be appropriated and reimagined for more liberatory ends.

Focusing on Costa Rica and Brazil, Andrea Ballestero’s A Future History of Water examines the legal, political, economic, and bureaucratic history of water in the context of the efforts to classify it as a human right, showing how seemingly small scale devices such as formulas and lists play large role in determining water’s status.

In Making the World Global, Isaac A. Komola examines how the relationships between universities, the American state, philanthropic organizations, and international financial institutions inform the academic understanding of the world as global in ways that frame higher education as a commodity, private good, and source of human capital.

Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due in Black Madness :: Mad Blackness to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

In Entre Nous, Grant Farred examines the careers of international soccer stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, along with his own experience playing for an amateur township team in apartheid South Africa, to theorize the relationship between sports and the intertwined experiences of relation, separation, and belonging.

In The Fixer, Charles Piot follows Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a visa broker in the West African nation of Togo as he helps his clients apply for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery program. The lively stories shed light on current immigration debates.

In The African Roots of Marijuana, an authoritative history of cannabis in Africa, Chris S. Duvall challenges what readers thought they knew about cannabis by correcting widespread myths, outlining its relationship to slavery and colonialism, and highlighting Africa’s centrality to knowledge about and the consumption of one of the world’s most ubiquitous plants.

In Experiments with Empire, Justin Izzo examines how twentieth-century writers, artists, and anthropologists from France, West Africa, and the Caribbean experimented with ethnography and fiction in order to explore new ways of making sense of the complicated legacy of imperialism and to imagine new democratic futures.

Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature by using allegorical narratives in Allegories of the Anthropocene.

The Romare Bearden Reader, edited by Robert G. O’Meally, brings together a collection of newly written essays and canonical writings by novelists, poets, historians, critics, and playwrights, as well as Bearden’s most important writing, making it an indispensable volume on one of the giants of twentieth-century American art.

Terry Adkins: Infinity is Less Than One, which we are distributing for ICA Miami, accompanies the first institutional posthumous exhibition of the sculptural work of Terry Adkins (1953–2014), one of the great conceptual artists of the twenty-first century renowned for his pioneering work across numerous mediums. The catalogue is edited by Gean Moreno and Alex Gartenfeld.

The contributors to Racism Postrace, edited by Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, and Herman Gray, theorize and examine the persistent concept of post-race in examples ranging from Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” to public policy debates, showing how proclamations of a post-racial society can normalize modes of racism and obscure structural antiblackness.

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Poem of the Week

Bomb ChildrenIt’s currently National Poetry Month, so we are offering a poem each Monday throughout April. Today’s poem is from Leah Zani’s forthcoming book, Bomb Children. Joshua O. Reno, author of Waste Away: Working and Living with a North American Landfill says “Bomb Children is nothing short of breathtaking. Leah Zani presents little-known and incredibly important material on the everyday aftermath of the Secret War for the people of Laos. Her topic is not only ethnographically underexplored, but has been deliberately concealed by the U.S. government for decades. In Zani’s hands, fieldwork becomes a flexible toolkit, selectively and strategically deployed to grasp the object of military wasting in a revealing and ethically responsible way.”

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Leah Zani is a Junior Fellow in the Social Science Research Network at University of California, Irvine. Bomb Children will be published in August.

Our other highlighted poems can be read here.

New Books in April

We’ve got great new reads in April in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, feminism and women’s studies, and much more.

978-1-4780-0390-8_prIn Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia in the second half of the twentieth century, showing democracy to be a historically unstable and contentious practice.

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Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers in Mumbai—who are assumed to not exist—to live during a period of deindustrialization, showing in The Archive of Loss how mills and workers’ bodies constitute an archive of Mumbai’s history that challenge common thinking about the city’s past, present, and future.

Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century polar explorers, showing in The News at the Ends of the Earth how ship newspapers and other writing shows how explores wrestled with questions of time, space, and community while providing them with habits to survive the extreme polar climate.

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In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical conditions for the persistence of art’s autonomy from the realm of the commodity by showing how an artist’s commitment to form and by demanding interpretive attention elude the logic of capital.

In a revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

Exploring a wide range of sonic practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors to Remapping Sound Studies, edited by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, reorient the field of sound studies toward the global South in order to rethink and decolonize modes of understanding and listening to sound.

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In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of seventeen year old Víctor Manuel Vital, aka Frente, who was killed by police in the slums of Buenos Aires.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for our e-mail newsletters, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

Trans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans

coverimageThe most recent issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, “Trans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans,” edited by Howard H. Chiang, Todd A. Henry, and Helen Hok-Sze Leung, is now available.

Since the late twentieth century, scholars and activists have begun to take stock of the deep histories and politically engaged nature of trans* cultures across the diverse societies of “Asia.” Much of this groundbreaking work has cautioned against immediate assumptions about the universality of transgender experiences, while heeding the significant influence of colonial histories, cultural imperialism, Cold War dynamics, economic integration, and migration practices in shaping local categories of queerness, discourses of rights, as well as the political, social, and medical management of gender variance and non-normative sexualities. This growing body of work on Asia joins trans* scholarship and activism across the world that has similarly sought to de-universalize and de-colonize the category of “trans.”

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

Also keep an eye out for these forthcoming books:

978-1-4780-0087-7In Trans Exploits, out this January, Jian Neo Chen explores the cultural practices created by trans and gender nonconforming artists and activists of color. They argue for a radical rethinking of the policies and technologies of racial gendering and assimilative social programming that have divided LGBT communities and communities of color along the lines of gender, sexuality, class, immigration status, and ability. Focusing on performance, film/video, literature, digital media, and other forms of cultural expression and activism that track the displaced emergences of trans people of color, Chen highlights the complex and varied responses by trans communities to their social dispossession.

Aren Z. Aizura’s Mobile Subjects, coming this November, examines transgender narratives within global health and tourism economies from 1952 to the present. Drawing on an archive of trans memoirs and documentaries as well as ethnographic fieldwork with trans people obtaining gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, Aizura maps the uneven use of medical protocols to show how national and regional health care systems and labor economies contribute to and limit transnational mobility.

Series Launch: Global and Insurgent Legalities

This month we’re excited to announce the new book series Global and Insurgent Legalities, edited by Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller and Eve Darian-Smith.

Global and Insurgent Legalities explores how law and legal cultures travel within and beyond national jurisdictions and how they become reconfigured in the process. Books in this series attend to the ways schools of thought indigenous to the global South refract and reframe the Continental social and legal theories that are typically associated with scholarship produced in the global North. The series promotes critical, interdisciplinary, and transnational sociolegal work on topics ranging from social, sexual, and colonial inequalities to the circulation of non-western concepts of property, sovereignty, and individualism. Recognizing the enduring impact of imperialism, colonialism, and oppression on legal and social relations, Global and Insurgent Legalities decenters the production of legal theory to include perspectives, voices, and concepts from around the world.

978-0-8223-7146-5The series’ first book is Colonial Lives of Property by Brenna Bhandar, which examines how modern property law contributes to the formation of racial subjects in settler colonies and to the development of racial capitalism. Examining both historical cases and ongoing processes of settler colonialism in Canada, Australia, and Israel and Palestine, Bhandar shows how the colonial appropriation of indigenous lands depends upon ideologies of European racial superiority as well as upon legal narratives that equate civilized life with English concepts of property.

978-0-8223-7035-2Renisa Mawani’s Across Oceans of Law joins Global and Insurgent Legalities this month. Mawani retells the well-known story of the Komagata Maru, a British-built, Japanese-owned steamship whose Punjabi migrant passengers were denied entry into Canada, and later deported to Calcutta, in 1914. Drawing on “oceans as method”—a mode of thinking and writing that repositions land and sea—Mawani examines the historical and conceptual stakes of situating histories of Indian migration within maritime worlds.

Both of these books are available now, and we look forward to watching the series grow!

Taiwan: The Land Colonialisms Made

ddbou_45_3_coverThe most recent special issue of boundary 2, “Taiwan: The Land Colonialisms Made,” edited by Arif Dirlik, Ping-hui Liao, & Ya-Chung Chuang, is now available.

The contributors to this special issue examine the role successive colonialisms played in forging a distinct Taiwanese identity and the theoretical implications the Taiwanese experience of colonialism raises regarding the making of modern national identities. In addition to its indigenous culture, a long succession of colonial rulers—variously the Netherlands, Spain, the kingdom of Tungning, the Ming and Qing dynasties, Japan, and Kuomintang China—has forged a distinctive Taiwanese national identity. The Taiwan case suggests that it is misleading to approach colonialism as an obstacle to national identity without also accounting for the ways in which colonialism has historically factored into the constitution of national identities. The contributors address the ways in which the colonizer’s culture transformed the colonized, setting them in new historical directions, even if those directions were not what the colonizers expected.

Read the introduction, freely available.

978-0-8223-3367-8Looking for further reading on Taiwan? Consider Envisioning Taiwan by June Yip, which sorts through the complexities of globalization and Taiwan’s history of colonization, weaving together history and cultural analysis to provide a picture of Taiwanese identity and a lesson on the usefulness and the limits of contemporary cultural theory. Another great choice is Writing Taiwan, edited by David Der-wei Wang and Carlos Rojas, the first volume in English to examine the entire span of modern Taiwan literature—from the first decades of the twentieth century to the present.

Series Launch: On Decoloniality

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new book series, On Decoloniality, edited by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh. Two books are available now, and we look forward to watching the series grow.

On Decoloniality interconnects a diverse array of perspectives from the lived experiences of coloniality and decolonial thought/praxis in different local histories from across the globe. The series identifies and examines decolonial engagements in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Americas, South Asia, South Africa, and beyond from standpoints of feminisms, erotic sovereignty, Fanonian thought, post-Soviet analyses, global indigeneity, and ongoing efforts to delink, relink, and rebuild a radically distinct praxis of living. Aimed at a broad audience, from scholars, students, and artists to journalists, activists, and socially engaged intellectuals, On Decoloniality invites a wide range of participants to join one of the fastest growing debates in the humanities and social sciences that attends to the lived concerns of dignity, life, and the survival of the planet.

Cover of On Decoloniality by Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. WalshOn Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, authored by the series editors, is the first book in the series. Mignolo and Walsh explore the hidden forces of the colonial matrix of power, its origination, transformation, and current presence, while asking the crucial questions of decoloniality’s how, what, why, with whom, and what for.

The second book, What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? by Madina Tlostanova, traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future—which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity—has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art.

In the Spirit of Négritude: Kehinde Wiley in Africa

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Portrait of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley

The most recent issue of Nka features an essay on Kehinde Wiley, who recently unveiled his portrait of President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

In his article, “In the Spirit of Négritude: Kehinde Wiley in Africa,” author Daniel Haxall traces the influence of  Négritude and the long-standing egagements with African art and culture by Wiley, an American artist. He discusses how Wiley’s encounters with Africa (both in the United States and in Nigeria) inform aspects of his work and contribute knowledge about Africa and its peoples to the viewers of his art.

Haxall argues: “Akin to the Pan-African advocates of the twentieth century, the artist employed a realist  style to locate a shared heritage among the African diaspora. Reclaiming the African subject in portraits that reference traditional, colonial, and contemporary histories, Wiley continues the legacy of Négritude both aesthetically and conceptually.”

Read the essay, made freely available.

The Jamaican 1960s

ddsmx_21_3_54The most recent issue of Small Axe features a special section, “The Jamaican 1960s.” This section prompts contributors to rethink the cultural-political historiography of Jamaica, as well as question the normative narrative of the making of modern Jamaica.

The revisionary historiographic starting point of the section is the 1960s. Contributors revisit this decade through varied forms of analysis, considering topics from Creole Nationalism to radical skepticism in 1960s Jamaican fiction to post-1952 U.S. foreign policy’s effect on local and colonial perceptions of people’s struggles for sovereignty. The impetus of these essays is not to find fault with the older paradigm but to explore, provisionally and experimentally, how or to what extent this paradigm is helpful in illuminating contemporary Jamaica. The essays themselves grew out of a symposium organized around the theme of the Jamaican 1960s held at the University of Miami in October 2015.

Read the introduction to the section, “On the Very Idea of the Making of Modern Jamaica,” by David Scott, made freely available.

Puerto Rico: A U.S. Colony in a Postcolonial World?

ddrhr_128_coverThe most recent special issue of Radical History Review, “Puerto Rico: A U.S. Colony in a Postcolonial World?”, edited by Margaret Power and Andor Skotnes, is now available.

Puerto Rico has been a United States colony for close to 115 years, and it was a Spanish colony for nearly four centuries before that. From a variety of economic, political, and cultural angles, this collected volume explores the realities and legacies of colonial experiences and the complex relationships of present-day Puerto Rico to the United States, Latin America, and the world. It focuses on the long, multifaceted resistance of Puerto Rican people to this colonialism and postcolonialism, and how the history and legacy of colonialism is key to understanding Puerto Rico today.

Essays in this issue explore topics such as:

  • Puerto Rico’s economic crisis
  • women’s independence organizing in Puerto Rico
  • gendered representations of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. press from 1940-1950

Read the guest editors’ introduction to this special issue, made freely available through August 30, 2017.