Social Theory

New Books in July

Happy summer to you! July brings some great new books for you to enjoy. Check them out:

In Dust of the Zulu, LouiseMeintjes w border Meintjes traces the history and the political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa, showing how it embodies Zulu masculinity and the expanse of South Africa’s violent history.

Nick Nesbitt’s collection The Concept in Crisis—which includes contributions from Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Emily Apter, Warren Montag, and Bruno Bosteels—reconsiders the landmark 1965 work Reading Capital and renews its call for a symptomatic critique of capitalism and culture for the twenty-first century.

Garcia

David F. Garcia’s Listening for Africa examines the work of a wide range of musicians, dancers, academics, and activists between the 1930s and the 1950s to show how their belief in black music’s African roots would provide the means to debunk racist ideologies, aid decolonization of Africa, and ease racial violence.

James R. Barrett, in History from the Bottom Up and Inside Out, rethinks the boundaries of American working-class history by investigating the ways in which working-class people’s personal lives intersected with their activism and religious, racial, ethnic, and class identities.

Marso w border

In Politics with Beauvoir, Lori Marso treats Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist theory and practice as part of her political theory, arguing that freedom is Beauvoir’s central concern and that this is best apprehended through the notion of the encounter.

Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James’s World Revolution is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the revolutionary history in the interwar period, the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin, and the ideological contestations within the Communist International and its role in the Soviet Union and international revolution. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this definitive edition of World Revolution features a new introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James’s 1939 interview with Trotsky.

Price w border

Distinguished anthropologists Richard and Sally Price, in Saamaka Dreaming, look back at their first years living among the Saamaka maroons in Suriname in the late 1960s and retell the evolution of their personal lives and careers, relationships with the Saamaka, and the field of anthropology.

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

 

 

 

 

Bernard Stiegler: Amateur Philosophy

ddbou_44_1The most recent issue of boundary 2, “Bernard Stiegler: Amateur Philosophy,” edited by Arne De Boever, brings together three lectures on aesthetics delivered by the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler in Los Angeles in 2011 with articles by scholars of Stiegler’s work.

Aesthetics, understood as the theoretical investigation of sensibility, has been central to Stiegler’s work since the mid-1990s. The lectures featured here explicitly link Stiegler’s interest in sensibility to aesthetic theory proper as well as to art history. In “The Proletarianization of Sensibility,” “Kant, Art, and Time,” and “The Quarrel of the Amateurs,” Stiegler expounds his philosophy of technics and its effects on human sensibility, centering on how the figure of the amateur—who loves what he or she does—must be recovered from beneath the ruins of technical history. The other contributors engage the topics covered in the lectures, including the figure of the amateur, cinema, the digital, and extinction.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction to the issue by guest editor Arne De Boever, made freely available.

For more readings on Stiegler, revisit this 2010 issue of Cultural Politics featuring an interview with Bernard Stiegler, “Knowledge, Care, and Trans-Individuation.”

A Wealth of Scholarship on Stuart Hall

As we announced this spring, Duke University Press is the new home for the work of cultural theorist Stuart Hall. In addition to publishing work by Hall himself in the new series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings, we are excited to be publishing new books and journal issues about Hall and his influence.

cultural-studies-1983The first book in the Stuart Hall: Selected Writings series is Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History. Edited by Jennifer Daryl Slack and Lawrence Grossberg, the book presents eight lectures delivered by Stuart Hall in 1983 at the University of Illinois. Unavailable until now, these lectures introduced North American audiences to the intellectual history of British cultural studies while simultaneously presenting Hall’s original engagements with the theoretical positions that contributed to the formation of cultural studies. Save 30% on the book now on our website with coupon code E161983.

ddsaq_115_4The most recent issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, “Stuart Hall” gathers a group of thinkers, some of them identified with the kind of intellectual and political pursuits for which Hall was renowned, others making their first foray into the field of “Stuart Hall studies.” As a consequence, “Stuart Hall” is a collection of essays that at once deepens and expands our understanding of the Hall oeuvre. In this process, it is possible to suggest that Hall’s work is renewed, invigorated, and, perhaps most importantly, imbued with a refreshed relevance. The Hall oeuvre is simultaneously acknowledged, made into the basis for fields of study and disciplines that have had only a passing (if that) interest in his thinking, and exposed to an entirely different set of questions. “Stuart Hall” makes Stuart Hall available, in new and exciting ways, for the difficulties of our moment. Read the introduction, made freely available.

The next release in the Stuart Hall: Selected Writings series will be Selected Political Writings, edited by Sally Davison, David Featherstone, Michael Rustin, and Bill Schwarz. It will be available in January 2017. Look for it at our booth at MLA! Then in April we release Hall’s long-awaited memoir, Familiar Stranger: A Life between Two Islands. With great insight, compassion, and wit Hall tells how his experiences—from growing up in colonial stuart-halls-voiceJamaica and attending Oxford to participating in the thorny politics of 1950s and 1960s Britain—shaped his intellectual and political work to become one of his age’s brightest intellectual lights.

Also arriving next spring is anthropologist David Scott’s Stuart Hall′s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity. In these series of letters—which David Scott wrote to Stuart Hall following his death—Scott characterizes Hall’s voice and his practice of speaking, listening, and generosity as the foundational elements of Hall’s intellectual work.

We’re so excited to be publishing such a wealth of scholarship by and about Stuart Hall. Look for much more over the next few years.

 

New Books in September

It’s finally September, and we’re just as excited for the start of the school year as you are. Add these great titles, coming out this month, to your fall reading list:

Cultural Studies 1983With the publication of Cultural Studies 1983 we launch our new series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings. A touchstone event in the history of Cultural Studies, the book is a testament to Stuart Hall’s unparalleled contributions. Unavailable until now, these eight foundational lectures present Hall’s original engagements with the theoretical positions that contributed to the formation of Cultural Studies.

No Tea, No Shade, edited by E. Patrick Johnson, follows up the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies by bringing together nineteen essays on black gender and sexuality. Topics include “raw” sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater.

Life and Death on the New York Dance FloorAs the 1970s gave way to the ’80s, New York’s party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Tim Lawrence chronicles this tumultuous time in Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, charting the sonic and social eruptions that took place in the city’s subterranean party venues as well as the way they cultivated breakthrough movements in art, performance, video, and film.

Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates in Marshall Plan Modernism how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy.

GeontologiesIn Geontologies, Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower.

As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia’s 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission, edited by Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Love, HLove, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones is a remarkable selection from a forty-year correspondence between two artists who survived their time as wives in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s and went on to successful artistic careers of their own. Revealing the intimacy of lifelong friends, these letters tell two stories from the shared point of view of women who refused to go along with society’s expectations.

One of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci’s Common Sense, Kate Crehan provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said.

Only the RoadFeaturing the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades, Only the Road / Solo el Camino is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. The collection, edited by Margaret Randall, is distinguished by its stylistic breadth and the diversity of its contributors, who come from throughout Cuba and its diaspora and include luminaries, lesser-known voices, and several Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ poets.

Reprinted in paperback, Songs of the Unsung is the autobiography of Los Angeles jazz musician and activist Horace Tapscott (1934–1999). It is the story of Los Angeles’s cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century, of the origins of many of the most important avant-garde musicians still on the scene today, and of a rich and varied body of music.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a new book? Sign up for Subject Matters, our  e-mail newsletter.

 

The Singular “They” and Trans* Studies

They used as a “gender-neutral singular pronoun for a known person” was chosen as the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society in January 2016. The so-called singular they has been used for centuries to replace he or she when referring back to a generic antecedent, although this makes some copy editors and grammar aficionados cringe. (Did you see this row between Merriam-Webster dictionary Twitter account and Andy Smarick? It all started with this tweet.) What’s new and was recognized by the society is the emerging use of they as a pronoun to refer to a specific known person, often as a conscious choice by someone rejecting the traditional gender binary of he and she.

Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society, explains: “In the past year, new expressions of gender identity have generated a deal of discussion. . . . While many novel gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed, they has the advantage of already being part of the language.”

ddasp_91_1In “Singular They: An Empirical Study of the Generic Pronoun Use,” published in American Speech volume 91, issue 1, author Darren K. LaScotte presents a study that explores which pronouns native English speakers use when writing about a hypothetical person of unspecified gender. LaScotte discovered the majority of participants use singular they when referring to the indefinite, singular, genderless antecedent “the ideal student.” In an optional write-in section of the study, participants were asked why they chose the singular they. Responses included mentions that they acknowledges those that fall outside of the gender binary.

These responses in LaScotte’s study highlight the relationship between the singular they and trans* studies. In TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly’s recent special issue “Trans*formational Pedagogies” (volume 2, issue 3), two articles delve into the use of pronouns and the trans* community.

ddtsq_2_3In “Trans* Disruptions: Pedagogical Practices and Pronoun Recognition,” Tre Wentling asks, “With the increasing number of trans* people who queer the gender binary, how does language affirm or deny their personhood?” In Wentling’s study, the results demonstrate that trans* students who identify as genderqueer tended to use gender-neutral and third-person pronouns. However, educators were less affirming when it came to gender-neutral pronoun recognition. “Accurate pronoun recognition supports trans* students’ identity development and honors their personhood,” Wentling says.

Susan W. Woolley’s “‘Boys Over Here, Girls Over There’: A Critical Literacy of Binary Gender in Schools” examines the ways teachers and students enact, respond to, and subvert practices that articulate and distinguish categories of boys and girls with three years of ethnographic research in an urban public high school. From the abstract:

Dividing students according to their socially recognized sex or gender reinforces the perceived stability of binary male/female sex and binary masculine/feminine gender categories while also exceptionalizing transgender identities. Students and teachers who challenge such practices engage in critical literacy readings of school spaces and of the mundane ways binary gender and sex are read onto bodies. Critical literacy provides a method through which students and teachers may engage in reflection and critical practice to raise awareness and challenge everyday practices in schools that construct boys and girls as stable, discrete categories.

For those who embrace, or are ready to embrace, the singular they, there’s a website for you: iheartsingularthey.com.

Transatlantic Gender Crossings

dddif_27_2_coverThe most recent issue of differences, “Transatlantic Gender Crossings,” edited by Anne Emmanuelle Berger and Éric Fassin, addresses French and US feminism, gender, and queer theory.

As much as French feminism influenced the establishment of women’s studies in U.S. universities, so has U.S. gender and queer theory marked the French intellectual and academic landscape. For this reason, gender and sexuality studies have been bound up from the beginning with specific intractable questions of internationalization. Has internationalization contributed to an “Americanization” of the field, or has it allowed for different ways of understanding the connections between the local and the global, the center and the periphery? And how might institutionalization and internationalization affect our thinking about the political and theoretical intersections between gender and sexuality or between sex and race? Contributors from Europe and the United States consider theoretical, political, and institutional questions raised by the transatlantic exchange of feminist theories over four decades.

Topics in this issue include hospitality, queer/feminist difference and displacement, and the institutionalization of gender studies and the pluralization of feminism.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

Reading for Bastille Day

Celebrate Bastille Day with these readings on the French history.

978-0-8223-5528-1_prWhat can the history of fashion tell us about Ancien Régime credit markets and economies? In Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France, Clare Haru Crowston examines “economies of regard” in which reputation depended on fashionable appearances and sexual desire. Credit was both a central part of economic exchange and a crucial concept for explaining dynamics of influence and power in all spheres of life. Contemporaries used the term credit to describe reputation and the currency it provided in court politics, literary production, religion, and commerce.

ddfhs_38_1Volume 38, issue 1 of French Historical Studies, features a forum, “Thermidor and the French Revolution.” One of the central purposes of this forum is to call into question the distinctiveness of the Thermidorian moment. The essays that follow highlight continuities across 9 Thermidor that joined supposedly antithetical political cultures, calling into question traditional ways of periodizing the Revolution and suggesting how much we remain under the Thermidorians’ sway when we accept their mythmaking as the foundation of our historical categories. Hence this forum intends not just to reexamine the Thermidorian moment but to reshape the contours of the First Republic. Essays in this forum suggest how much the First Republic remained a coherent political entity despite the dramatic events of 9-10 Thermidor. Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-1894-1_prHow did the Bastille itself come to symbolize the Old Regime? The Bastille: A History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom by Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink and Rolf Reichardt use a semiotic reading of the Bastille to reveal how historical symbols are generated; what these symbols’ functions are in the collective memory of societies; and how they are used by social, political, and ideological groups. Other titles on the French Revolution include Revolutionary News: The Press in France, 1789–1799 by Jeremy Popkin, The Bakers of Paris and the Bread Question, 1700-1775 by Steven Laurence Kaplan, and Soldiers of the French Revolution by Alan Forrest.

For additional reading, check out this editorial, “Questioning the Global Turn: The Case of the French Revolution,” by David A. Bell, featured in volume 37, issue 1 of French Historical Studies.

For the Liberation of a Pluralist Thinking: An Interview with Roland Barthes

Cultural Politics 11:3The most recent issue of Cultural Politics (volume 11 and issue 3) features an interview with cultural theorist Roland Barthes that has never before been published in English. Barthes’ 1972 interview with Japanese academic Shigehiko Hasumi includes discussions of Le Plaisir du texte (1973), and of a restlessness that kept Barthes moving from one critical language to another, “as soon as meanings have solidified and acquired the status of stereotype,” translator Chris Turner writes.

Read the full interview with Roland Barthes, made freely available.

For further scholarship on Barthes, read “In Saecula Saeculorum: On How Stories End,” by Christian Thorne in “Inevitability,” a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly (volume 76 and issue 2). The article examines Barthes’s S/Z (1970), which was published after his initial trips to Japan and before he participated in the interview with Shigehiko Hasumi.

Interview with Shamus Khan from Public Culture

We are excited to share this interview with Shamus Khan, the new editor of Public Culture. We chat about his background, how he became the editor of the journal, how he sees the journal changing in the future, and what special issue topics are currently in the works.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background.

Iddpcult_26_1’m a sociologist. I’m the second sociologist in a row for Public Culture, which I think is a little unique, especially since it’s an anthropology and cultural studies journal. But I’m a cultural sociologist, so I do work on cultural institutions. I have a big project right now on the New York Philharmonic, I’m a former musician, and I worked my way through college as a restaurant cook and own a restaurant, so I’m a little involved in the cultural life of the places that I live. I also write on inequality, elites, and American culture.

I’m at Columbia University. I write both for popular audiences and for academic audiences, so I’ve been a columnist at Time magazine; I write pretty regularly for the New York Times; I’ve written in places like the New Yorker. I’m sort of attuned to making sure that the scholastic work that we do has some kind of public relevance and impact. I’m going to fairly strictly treat Public Culture as a scholastic publication. At the same time, one of the nice things in writing for the public is being forced to write clearly, and that sort of clarity is something I’m really going to push for within the journal.

My main research areas are culture, elites, inequality, but I’m increasingly working in other areas. I’m leading a big project right now on sexual violence. Columbia has asked me to study rape and sexual assault at college campuses, so I’m doing a very large-scale study on that with a number of ethnographers. So that’s a big part of my life right now.

It’s a new phase for me, recently tenured, to be taking over a publication like this, and really exciting.

How did you come to be the editor of Public Culture?

ddpcult_26_3I’ve been fairly active at the Institute for Public Knowledge, which is where Public Culture has been housed for the last five years under the leadership of Eric Klinenberg. I’ve written for Public Books, which is the popular online community tied to Public Culture. I know Caitlin Zaloom and Sharon Marcus, who run that, very well as well as a lot of members of the board.

To be honest, I was a little surprised when I was asked to take over the journal because I’ve never published in Public Culture. But in having conversations with members of the board, with Eric Klinenberg, it was clear to me that it was a space that would allow me to do some of the things that I wanted to do or see happen within our scholastic community, and that a lot of the things that were happening at the journal were already things that I supported and believed in.

I knew most of the board pretty well and liked all of the people on it, and so that made me feel like I would be stepping into a scenario at least where I’d have allies to talk to about concerns, thoughts, stuff like that. And before I accepted, I read every issue. It was this decision that if this is a journal I’m going to take over, I should know its content, its feel. It’s had many iterations, so in some ways, it’s not a journal; it’s had multiple lives. That was interesting for me to see, and it was also interesting for me to think about in terms of how it is that different scholars have used it to advance things that they’d like to see happen.

So that’s how I approached it, and I thought this is the sort of space that is both deeply scholastic in its orientation but pretty flexible in how that kind of work is done. And then I thought yes, this is the kind of place I’d like to be associated with.

How do you see Public Culture developing and how would you like to shape the journal in the future?

ddpcult_27_3It’s not going to be a radical departure—although Eric had a really keen focus on urban life, which will continue but will not be a huge part of my own focus. So that would be a little bit of difference. I like the theoretical richness of the journal, but I’m also totally happy to publish a paper that is findings-driven, that actually says something interesting about, or makes an observation about, the world; a paper that doesn’t have any strong new theoretical framework. Not every paper needs a new theory of the world.

I’m going to have a lot of focus on clarity of writing. I really want that to be a mark of the journal, so that when you pick it up and read it, you know exactly what people are saying and you’re able to get through each piece without being a specialist in the area. Since it is an interdisciplinary journal, that’s really important to me, that kind of clarity.

I’m going to have a kind of strong editorial hand, so I simply won’t send papers out for review that I don’t think I would publish. My desk rejection rate is pretty high, and that’s primarily because I think there’s no reason for someone to go through a long review process only to discover that the paper wouldn’t be published in that journal anyway. So I think that will be an aspect of my leadership.

In terms of things that I’d really like to bring in, I want more work on race with the journal, so that’s really going to be a focus of mine. It’s something that you can see in the new editorial board in terms of what people work on: race and ethnicity. There’s three new people on the board, Andrea Voyer, Josef Sorett, and Alondra Nelson, and all three of them have an attention to race and ethnicity as a core research area of theirs. So race would be one focus, and then there are three other subjects where I have special issues in mind.

What kinds of submissions do you want to see?

I’m interested in everything, I really am. I think people should also feel comfortable sending me stuff before they submit it. I’m happy to look at things and say this is or is not appropriate for the journal, because why wait six months to find out that something’s not appropriate when you could find out in four days? So there will be some desk rejections, or just conveying to people that this isn’t really appropriate; if you rewrote it in this way, I’d be interested in seeing it, but in its present form, it’s not really for us. That can sting but it’s also less frustrating.

What special issue topics are you planning for the future?

ddpcult_27_2Of course I’ll be open to special issues topics if people want to propose them. But when thinking about special issues and even thinking about things I’d be interested in publishing, one of the things that I consider is: what is a very important public or cultural phenomenon that we don’t spend as much time thinking about in the academy or in our own scholastic work? So for me, violence, sports, and religion are going to be three things I’d like to focus on for special issues.

One special issue I’d like to do is on sports. For sports, it’s because if you think about the ways in which people organize their lives, in many, many places, it sort of centers on sports—not completely centers, but it’s a major, major part of most communities. And yet, in terms of our own academic work, we don’t spend a lot of time on it. But we’re here at Duke; I’m sure that in March, this area is in a kind of radical fervor about March Madness and basketball. And I’m sure that when UNC and Duke play, it’s a pretty big deal around here. And it’s not just the case with college basketball. If we were to look internationally and think about soccer and the ways in which soccer has a huge impact throughout the world—billions of people watch, play, et cetera. It’s also a terrain where nations compete with one another in ways that aren’t associated with violence, but instead they’re these status competitions between places. It’s a really important arena of study that we don’t do much of, and so I want to do something on it.

I also want to do something on religion. We have departments of religion and religious studies, but in going through the journal issues, it’s not that integrated into the ways in which cultural studies has thought about itself. If you think about major organizing principles for people’s lives and for public culture, religion is one of them, and there’s a variety of things that I’m interested in here. I’d like to do a special issue with people that touches on these, and be open to whatever people propose. Like providing a richer and perhaps less caricature-like portrait of Evangelical Christians is an interest. There’s a kind of lay understanding of Evangelicals as conservative. I think that tends to be the case, but it’s not absolutely the case. And there’s multiple forms of Evangelicalism in the United States, and more broadly, there’s, what, a hundred-and-something million Evangelicals in China right now. And we know something about them, but they’re really not part of how we think about the public and cultural life, and we should. Similarly, if we think about the forms of international contention that go on, like the tensions between nations and the inner negotiation of national politics, international politics, religion plays a central role in that. We could not understand the America, Europe, Middle East engagement with one another independent of the impact of religion on those spaces and on the relationships. So I really want something on religion, to understand the relationship between religion and public culture.

ddpcult_27_1And then finally violence. And here I’m interested in interpersonal violence but also state violence, so from the very, very small-scale situations of the extension of violence to the ways in which nations interact and the ways in which nations fight. Some of this is drawn about from my own recent attention and work on sexual violence and sexual assault, on a kind of interpersonal and organizational level, and I’m also interested in the ways in which states perpetuate violence on one another. There’s some work that I’m really interested in on the effects of drones in communities, and what the role of violence is in terms of how it constructs those communities. There’s stuff that I’d be interested in in terms of the ways in which the state perpetuates violence.

Across many of these thematic issues—for example, I said I was interested in race; I’d be interested in some of the racial dynamics behind them. So, say, the relationship between race and religion, race and sport, and also race and violence. And thinking about things like how it is that the state interacts with different kinds of racialized subjects will be really important to me.

I will say gender across all of them is going to be important to me, too. I’m a sociologist, and sociologists typically are interested in race, class, gender—sometimes increasingly sexuality, too. For all of these, those would be things of interest, like the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality across violence, sport and religion. They’re dimensions of investigation.

For all three of the special issues, I imagine an international approach to the phenomenon: so it’s not just violence in America; I want to know about violence in all kinds of spaces, which transcends national boundaries or sometimes is located within a very, very small social space. Across all of them, religion, violence, and sport, there’ll be an international dynamic.

New Books in September

Here we finally are in September, which always means a welcome reprieve from the sticky summer heat, as well as a healthy roster of forthcoming books. These are the titles to keep an eye out for this month:

McCracken cover image, 5936-4Allison McCracken’s book,  Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture, charts the rise and fall of crooners between 1925 and 1934, showing how the backlash against crooners’ perceived sexual and gender deviance created stylistically masculine norms for white male pop singers that continue to exist today.

In The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary, Kimberly Juanita Brown explores the literary and visual representations of how black women bear the marks of slavery, centers black women in narratives of slavery, and uncovers and critiques the refusal to see the violence done to black women’s bodies.

Lewis cover image, 5934-0In Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, Reina Lewis analyzes Muslim modest clothing as fashion and shows how young Muslim women (with a focus on Britain, North America, and Turkey) are part of an emergent transnational youth subculture who use fashion to negotiate religion, identity, ethnicity, and mainstream consumer culture.

Rachel Hall characterizes post-9/11 airport security practices in The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security as operating under the “aesthetics of transparency,” which requires passengers to perform innocence and be open to inspection—those who cannot are deemed opaque and presumed to be a threat. Travelers are no longer innocent until proven guilty; they are guilty until proven transparent.

Anthes cover image, 5994-4In Edgar Heap of Birds, the first book-length study of contemporary Native American artist Edgar Heap of Birds, Bill Anthes analyzes Heap of Bird’s art and politics in relation to Native American history, spirituality, and culture, the international art scene, and how his art critiques the subjugation of Native Americans.

Petra R. Rivera-Rideau shows in Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico how the popular music style reggaetón offers a space for Puerto Rican musicians to express identities that center blackness, forge links across the African diaspora, and critique the popular Puerto Rican discourse of racial democracy, which conceals racism and marginalizes black Puerto Ricans.

In Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of BlacknessSimone Browne shows how racial ideologies and the long history of policing black bodies under transatlantic slavery structure contemporary surveillance technologies and practices. Analyzing a wide array of archival and contemporary texts, she demonstrates how surveillance reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines.

Anzaldua cover image, 6009-4Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro is the culmination of Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s mature thought and the most comprehensive presentation of her philosophy. Focusing on aesthetics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, it contains several developments in her many important theoretical contributions.

Mayra Rivera outlines the relationship between the ways ancient Christian thinkers and Western philosophers conceive of the “body” and “flesh” in Poetics of the Flesh. Rivera’s analysis furthers developments in new materialism and helps us to better understand the influence of Christian texts on contemporary theorizations of social structure, gender, race, and faith.

Project on Vegas, 5967-8In Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las VegasThe Project on Vegas shows how the Las Vegas Strip concentrates and magnifies American culture’s core truths. Among others, the Strip’s buffets, surveillance, large scale branding and consumption, and transformation of nature reflects larger trends and practices throughout America. Includes over 100 photographs by Karen Klugman.

In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman explores why water is chronically unavailable in Mumbai, India’s economic and financial capital. She attributes water shortage to economic reforms that allowed urban development to ignore the water infrastructure, which means that in Mumbai, politics is often about water.

Corbett cover image, 5870-1Microgroove continues John Corbett’s exploration of diverse musics, with essays, interviews, and musician profiles that focus on jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical, rock, folk, blues, post-punk, and cartoon music, as well as painting, design, dance, and poetry.