New Books

New Titles in Literary Studies and Literature

Banner Featuring Text: Modern Language Association 2021 Virtual Conference Exhibit, Use code MLA21 for 30% off when you order from Background features assorted titles.

We wish we could be meeting authors and readers at the MLA 2021 Annual Convention. We know that many of you look forward to stocking up on new titles at special discounts at our conferences, so we are pleased to offer a 30% discount on all in-stock books and journal issues with coupon code MLA21 until February 15, 2021. View our Literature and Literary Studies catalog below for a complete list of all our newest titles in the field and across disciplines. You can also explore all of our books and journals in literature and literary studies on

Executive Editor Courtney Berger

Executive Editor Courtney Berger and Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker each have a welcome message for fellow MLA attendees, and their recommendations for the latest titles.

Most Januarys I end up with a new piece of winter weather gear—lined boots, a long down coat, thicker socks–prompted by the almost inevitable polar vortex or winter storm that accompanies the MLA conference. This year, I won’t be acquiring any new gear (except for maybe some new headphones). Instead, like many of you, I’ll be attending MLA from the warmth of my home in my reliable work-from-home uniform of sweatpants and cardigan. It has been a year since I’ve traveled to an academic conference, and I miss it. I miss meeting you all in person and getting updates on your writing and on your lives. I miss hearing about exciting new projects. And I especially miss showing off our new books and talking with folks in the book exhibit.

Nonetheless, I am excited for this year’s MLA program, which is truly stellar, and for all of the new books that we will be bringing to you in our virtual exhibit, also stellar. You will be seeing me at a lot of panels (a luxury that I’m not usually afforded during in-person conferences). Some of the ones on my list include: Black Feminist Poethics; Dissident Black Feminisms, Black Feminist Dissidence; Editing and Inclusivity; Quare Souths; and Scaling Trans Studies. (My Friday schedule is booked from morning ‘til night. How about yours?)

And now for some of my top picks from this year’s new books:

Riché Richardson’s Emancipation’s Daughters

Riché Richardson’s Emancipation’s Daughters: Reimagining Black Femininity and the National Body is a book for our moment. Richardson focuses on the ways that black women leaders in the U.S.—including Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune, Condoleezza Rice, and Michelle Obama–have expanded and challenged exclusionary and white-centered notions of the “national body” and political subjectivity. The book also features some of Richardson’s own quilts created as homage to the Black women leaders she discusses in the book.

In Infamous Bodies: Early Black Women’s Celebrity and the Afterlives of Rights, Samantha Pinto also focuses on iconic Black women, in this case women from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Sally Hemings, Sarah Baartman, and Sarah Forbes Bonetta. Through her provocative and engaging reading of these women’s lives and continued legacies, Pinto reveals how the forms of pleasure, risk, violence, desire, and ambition that these women experienced can offer powerful models of political embodiment and vulnerability that remain relevant today.

Race and Performance After Repetition by Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones, and Shane Vogel

In Counterlife: Slavery after Resistance and Social Death Christopher Freeburg asks: how can we think about the lives and artwork created by and about slaves outside of a framework of resistance and freedom? Taking up a diverse set of texts—from Black spirituals to “The Boondocks”—Counterlife is a rich and provocative book that shows how enslaved Africans created meaning through artistic creativity, religious practice, and historical awareness both separate from and alongside concerns about freedom.

Race and Performance After Repetition, edited by Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones, and Shane Vogel, brings together an impressive set of contributors to focus on the relationship between race and temporality in performance, pushing past the trope of “repetition” to consider pauses, rests, gaps, afterlives, and other forms of temporal interruption.  There will also be a panel featuring some of the contributors on Sunday morning.

Christopher Chitty’s Sexual Hegemony

Sexual Hegemony: Statecraft, Sodomy, and Capital in the Rise of the World System is Christopher Chitty’s posthumous first book, and it’s an incredibly expansive project, taking on 500 years of the history of capitalism and male-male sexual relations in Europe and the U.S. Revising Foucault’s account of the production of modern sexuality, Chitty offers a Marxist history of male homosexuality, focusing on the policing of male-male sexual relations as integral to the consolidation of capital and private property under the bourgeoisie. A must read for folks working in queer studies.

Influx & Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman–Jane Bennett’s long-awaited follow up to Vibrant Matter–will be of special interest to folks in literary studies. Bennett turns to Whitman to help answer the question: What kind of “I” inhabits a world of vibrant matter? In Whitman she finds a model for what she calls a “processual self” – a self constantly in formation, susceptible to influence but also exerting an influence of its own. Bennett’s thinking is expansive and generous; it’s a pleasure to read this book.

Ken Quashie’s Black Aliveness, Or a Poetics of Being

Finally, even though it’s not out yet, I can’t resist pointing you towards Kevin Quashie’s Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being, the latest installment in the Black Outdoors series edited by Sarah Cervenak and J. Kameron Carter. Quashie builds his book on a seemingly simple prompt: “Imagine a black world.” Not a world where the racial logics of antiblackness are inverted, but rather a world where blackness is totality, where black being and the rightness of black being is assumed rather than justified. It’s a beautiful book that draws upon a wealth of Black feminist writing and poetry, from Audre Lorde to Nicky Finney. Quashie’s writing is magnetic. This one makes my must-read list for 2021.

There are plenty more books for you to browse at our virtual exhibit and on our website. Make sure to use the code MLA21 to receive a 30% discount (through March 31st).

If you would like to contact me about a project, you can send me an email, or you can submit your proposal through our online portal. I look forward to seeing folks in person next January (and perhaps sporting a new bit of winter weather gear as well). 

Senior Executive Editor Ken Wissoker

I share with Courtney the sense of loss of our meeting in person.  I’ve been attending MLA every year for many years, back to the last millennium.  I was the rare person attached to the old conference schedule, when it met between Christmas and New Year’s.  I loved arriving in a city in that liminal time, seeing chosen family, and finding a moment for a little sale shopping, a restaurant I had only read about.  But even after the meeting moved to the start of January, I still love it.  The chance to see so many people in such a short time.  Panels that even now can crystalize a political or theoretical moment. I can remember lots of less-than-great things too – the hidden book display in Boston a mile away from everything – but overall, I’m missing all of you and the event.

So here we are with MLA, the play-at-home game. A consolation prize. Are we consoled? This is my fourth or fifth online conference and I’m here to say it’s not the same.  Entering a room for a panel and finding a friend and joining them beats seeing a person on the same Zoom session every time. Still, we can sit where we want and get coffee without waiting in a twenty-minute line.  We can actually see the speaker up close.  Hang on to their words — or slip out to another session without being too conspicuous.

Sara Ahmed’s What’s the Use?

Like seeing people in person, seeing books in person is hard to replace. I’m in this business, so generally arrive at MLA thinking I’m up on things, but when I go around the book exhibit, there are always great books I hadn’t heard about. I love being in the booth and showing people the new titles – my old bookseller self — that will interest them.  So here are a few exciting recommendations from our list. There are many – that’s why we have two booths – but here are some highlights!  

Sara Ahmed’s next book Complaint! will be out in the fall, but if you haven’t read its companion, What’s the Use? it is a must. Like all of Sara’s book’s it is filled with perfectly described scenes and with clarifying sentences one recalls over and over again in meetings and in everyday life.

Speaking of meetings, Katina Rogers’ Putting the Humanities to Work asks what we need to do to rethink the literature PhD process from curriculum to department websites to hiring, that would make a program work better for all involved.   Matt Brim’s Poor Queer Studies talks about the difference in teaching and theorizing in rich institutions and poor ones and asks how queer theory would have been different if it had developed in and for poorer students and communities of color.

José Estaban Munoz’s The Sense of Brown

Two books that would be headliners on any list came out this past fall.  Jack Halberstam’s Wild Things and José Estaban Munoz’s long-awaited final book, The Sense of Brown. Both books are events. Halberstam is thinking through more wild and open relations to nature and sexuality.  The book takes up more literature than his recent books, so will be especially good to think with for readers at MLA.  José Munoz’s book has been in process for two decades. The thinking and writing runs parallel to Cruising Utopia and the book contains his important work on Brown feeling and the sense of Brown, Latinx performance, and much more.

It’s a particularly strong season for Latinx and Americas work in general.  I’m very excited about former MLA President Diana Taylor’s ¡Presente! bringing her thinking about performance and politics together in some sparkling new ways.  Also Arlene Dávila’s Latinx Art which made several end-of-year best lists, Ren Ellis Neyra, The Cry of the Senses, – just out – and the fabulous Keith Haring’s Line by Ricardo Montez. Finally, don’t miss Jillian Hernandez’s Aesthetics of Excess.

Anthony Reed’s Soundworks

Equally important have been a series of books in Black Studies. R.A. Judy’s long-awaited Sentient Flesh, Ashon Crawley’s moving and beautiful The Lonely Letters, Shana Redmond’s capacious and necessary Everything Man, each brilliant thinking and creative critical writing.  Don’t neglect Brigitte Fielder’s acclaimed Relative Races. And just out, Anthony Reed’s beautiful Soundworks on the interplay of Black poetry and experimental musics. 

This is the moment for combining writing which takes chance with thinking that also moves in new directions.  We have started a whole series Writing Matters! edited by Lauren Berlant, Saidiya Hartman, Erica Rand, and Katie Stewart, to give such books a home. The first, Diary of a Detour by Lesley Stern, came out earlier in the fall, and we have just published Erica Rand’s new The Small Book of Hip Checks: On Queer Gender, Race, and Writing.

Emily J. Lordi’s The Meaning of Soul

Amitava Kumar’s challenge to academic writers, Every Day I Write the Book, is perfect for thinking about opening up one’s own writing.  And if one wanted an example of someone who did this with wonderful skill and ease, read Emily Lordi’s transformative, The Meaning of Soul – both a fabulous book on soul music and an exemplary book of prose style.

One thing I love about our list and this moment – perhaps similar to the combination of theory and writing — is when thinkers take two conversations and think them together.  Erin Mannings’s For a Pragmatics of the Useless, thinks Black theory in relation to neurodiversity, while Ian Baucom’s History 4° Celsius puts the history of the Black Atlantic with the Anthropocene.

Laura Doyle’s Inter-imperiality

We’ve just released Kaiama Glover’s fantastic A Regarded Self, her reading of unruly and uncontainable Caribbean women figures. Glover also translated Françoise Vergès, The Wombs of Women, which we published in the spring. Laura Kang’s Traffic in Asian Women takes these colonial, imperial, and feminist concerns to the Pacific mapping their complexities in a crucial way. Laura Doyle’s Inter-imperiality: Vying Empires, Gendered Labor, and the Literary Arts of Alliance is also just out, with its own longue durée account of empire and literature. Finally – in a true last but not least –if you don’t have Achille Mbembe’s crucial and all-too-timely, Necropolitics, it is the book needed now, for all the good and bad reasons.

There are lots more I could mention, but I hope you get a chance to virtually look around, and that we can wave across some Zoom room.

You can hear about DUP books or join DUP authors in panels online through the MLA conference portal, including:

And flip to page 29 of our literature & literary studies catalog to peruse exciting new issues from journals such as Comparative Literature, English Language Notes, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Modern Language Quarterly, Transgender Studies Quarterly, and many more. Don’t forget that journal issues are eligible for the 30% conference discount with code MLA21!

If you were hoping to connect with Courtney Berger, Ken Wissoker, or another of our editors about your book project at MLA, please reach out to them by email. See our editors’ specialties and contact information here and our online submissions guidelines here.

New Books in August

We hope you’re enjoying your summer! Our fall list is now in full swing with lots of new books to check out in August.

LazarreIn her memoir, The Communist and the Communist’s DaughterJane Lazarre tells the fascinating history of her father Bill, a radical activist who, as part of his tireless efforts to create a better world for his family, held leadership positions in the American Communist Party, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and organized labor unions.

In The Look of a Woman, Eric Plemons explores the ways in which facial feminization surgery is changing the ways in which trans- women are not only perceived of as women, but in the ways it is altering the project of surgical sex reassignment and the understandings of what sex means.

Jason Dittmer, in Diplomatic Material, applies new materialism to international relations and offers a counterintuitive reading of foreign policy by tracing the ways that complex interactions between people and things shape the decisions and actions of diplomats and policymakers.
Hough-Snee and Sotelo Eastman

Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman’s collection, The Critical Surf Studies Reader, is an innovative exploration of the history and culture of surfing that recasts wave-riding as a complex cultural practice and reclaims the forgotten roles that women, indigenous peoples, and peoples of color have played in the its evolution.

In Disturbing Attachments, Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Jean Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory, bringing the genealogy of Genet’s imaginaries of attachment to bear on pressing issues within contemporary queer politics and scholarship, including prison abolition, homonationalism, and pinkwashing.

art1Nicholas De Genova’s The Borders of “Europe” examines the perceptions of the staggering refuge and migration crisis in Europe, demonstrating how it stems from migrants exercising their right to the freedom of movement, leads states to create new technologies of regulating human movement, and prompts the questioning of the very idea of Europe.

In Vibrator Nation, Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how feminist sex-toy stores such as Eve’s Garden, Good Vibrations and Babeland raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, provided educational and community resources, and changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed.

Alexandra Chang’s catalog, Circles and Circuits—which examines Chinese Caribbean art in Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Panama—accompanies the exhibition, Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art, presented in two parts: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora at the California African American Museum from September 15, 2017 through February 25, 2018, and Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art at the Chinese American Museum from September 15, 2017 through March 11, 2018.

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Tatiana Flores and Michelle Ann Stephens’ Relational Undercurrents accompanies an exhibition by the same name that opens at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California in September, 2017. The exhibition and edited volume call attention to the artistic production of the Caribbean islands and their diasporas, challenging the conventional geographic and conceptual boundaries of Latin America.

Both exhibitions, Circles and Circuits and Relational Undercurrents, are part of the Pacific Standard Time Art Project. 

The largely unknown story of the FBI’s surveillance operations in Latin America during the 1940s is the topic of Marc Becker’s The FBI in Latin America. He provides new insights into leftist organizations and the nature of the U.S.’s imperial ambitions in the western hemisphere.

Ambassadors of the Working ClassIn Ambassadors of the Working Class, Ernesto Semán tells the story of Argentina’s diplomatic worker attachés dispatched to further Peronism, organized labor became a crucial aspect in defining democracy and perceptions of social justice, freedom, and sovereignty in the Americas.

Kojin Karatani’s Isomania and the Origins of Philosophy questions the canonical glorification of philosophy and democracy in ancient Athens by placing Western philosophy’s origins in Ionia, a set of Greek colonies located in present-day Turkey that practiced isonomia—a system based on non-rule and a lack of social divisions whereby equality is realized through individual freedom.

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New Books in March

It is already March and Spring is on its way, but even more exciting are the new books coming out this month. And we have plenty of them!


Diana Taylor’s Performance explores the multiple and overlapping meanings of performance, showing how it can convey everything from artistic, economic, and sexual performance, to providing ways of understanding how race, gender, identity, and power are performed.

In Indian Given María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo provides a sweeping historical and comparative analysis of racial ideologies in Mexico and the United States from 1550 to the present to show how indigenous peoples provided the condition of possibility for the emergence of each nation.

In The Official World Mark Seltzer analyzes the suspense fiction, films, and performance art of Patricia Highsmith, Tom McCarthy, Cormac McCarthy, J.G. Ballard, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and others to demonstrate that the modern world continuously establishes itself through the staging of its own conditions.feminist bookstore

Kristen Hogan traces The Feminist Bookstore Movement‘s rise and fall, showing how the women at the heart of the movement developed theories and practices of lesbian antiracism and feminist accountability that continue to resonate today.

Drawing on an eclectic range of texts and figures, from the Greek Cynics to Tori Amos, Nick Salvato’s Obstruction finds that embarrassment, laziness, slowness, cynicism, and digressiveness can paradoxically enable alternative modes of intellectual production.

A celebratory new edition to Jane Lazarre’s Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness, in which she, a white Jewish mother, describes her experience being married to an African American man and raising two sons as she learns, from family experience, teaching, and her studies, about the realities of racism in America.

In Cold War Anthropology, David H. Price offers a provocative account of the profound influence that the American security state has had on the field of anthropology since the Second World War by mapping  out the intricate connections between academia and the intelligence community.

diaspora and trustIn Memorializing Pearl Harbor Geoffrey M. White examines the challenge of representing history at the site of the attack that brought America into World War II, showing that the memorial to the Pearl Harbor bombing is a site in which many histories are continually performed, validated, and challenged.

In Diaspora and Trust Adrian H. Hearn proposes a new paradigm for economic development in Mexico and Cuba that is predicated on the development of trust among the state, society, and each nation’s resident Chinese diaspora communities, lest they get left behind in the twenty-first century economy.

In Sexual States Jyoti Puri uses the example of the recent efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in India to show how the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the creation and enduring existence of the Indian state.

the geographiesAntoinette Burton’s Africa in the Indian Imagination challenges nostalgic narratives of the Afro-Asian solidarity that emerged from the 1955 Bandung conference by showing how postcolonial Indian identity was based on the subordination of Africans and blackness.

In The Geographies of Social Movements Ulrich Oslender examines the activism of black communities in the lowland rain forest of Colombia’s Pacific coast to show how the mutually constituting relationships between residents and their environment informs the political process.

In Domesticating Organ Transplant Megan Crowley-Matoka examines the iconic power of kidney transplantation in Mexico, where the procedure is inexorably linked to the imaginings of individual and national identity, national pride, and the role of women in creating the Mexican state.

motherless tounge
In The Sublime Perversion of Capital Gavin Walker examines the Japanese debate about capitalism between the 1920s and 1950s, using it as a “prehistory” to consider current problems of uneven economic development and contemporary topics in Marxist theory and historiography.

In Motherless Tongues Vicente L. Rafael examines the vexed relationship between language and history as seen through the work of translation in the context of empire, revolution, and academic scholarship in the Philippines, the United States, and beyond.

In Tourist Distractions Youngmin Choe uses Korean hallyu cinema as a lens to examine the importance of tourist films and film tourism in creating transnational bonds throughout East Asia and how they help Korea negotiate its twentieth-century history with the neoliberal present.

Ricardo D. Salvatore’s Disciplinary Conquest rewrites the history of Latin American studies by tracing its roots back to the first half of the twentieth century, showing how its ties to U.S. business and foreign policy interests helped build an informal empire that supported U.S. economic, technological, and cultural hegemony throughout the hemisphere.


New Books in February

It seemed like January zoomed right by us, and now February is already here! Which of course means it’s time to take a look at the new books to watch out for this month.

Adams cover image, 6097-1
The contributors to Metrics, edited by Vincanne Adams, use ethnographic evidence from around the globe to evaluate the accomplishments, limits, and the consequences of applying metrics to global health. Now the standard in measuring global health program success, metrics has far implications that extend beyond patients to the political and financial realms.

In The Brain’s Body Victoria Pitts-Taylor applies feminist and critical theory to recent developments in neuroscience and new materialist social thought to demonstrate how the brain interacts with and is impacted by power, social structures, and inequality.

Day cover image, 6093-3In Alien Capital Iyko Day retheorizes the history and logic of settler colonialism by examining its intersection with Asian racialization and capitalism, showing how the conflation of Asian immigrants to Canada and the United states with the abstract dimensions of capital became settler colonialism’s defining feature.

Lesley Gill traces the rise and fall of the strong labor unions and working class of Barrancabermeja, Colombia in A Century of Violence in a Red City, showing how the incursion of neoliberalism, the drug trade, and counterinsurgency military campaigns into civil society that began in the 1980s has destabilized everyday life and decimated the city’s powerful social institutions.

Published in China in 2010 and appearing here in English for the first time, Revolution and its Narratives, by Cai Xiang and edited by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong, is a historical, literary, and critical account of the cultural production of the narratives of China’s socialist revolution that illuminates the complexity of socialist art, culture, and politics.

Pierce cover image, 6091-9In Moral Economies of Corruption Steven Pierce provides a cultural history of the last 150 years of corruption in Nigeria as a case study for considering corruption’s dynamic nature, finding it to be a culturally contingent set of political discourses and historically embedded practices.

Placing the body at the center of critical improvisation studies, the contributors to Negotiated Moments, edited by Gillian Siddall and Ellen Waterman, explore the challenges of negotiating subjectivity through improvisation in various forms—from jazz, Japanese taiko drumming, and Iranian classical music to sound walking and political street theater.

Coles cover image, 6064-3In Visionary Pragmatism, Romand Coles’s new mode of scholarship and political practice called “visionary pragmatism” blends theory with practice in the generation of new transformative responses to contemporary political and ecological crises.

Indonesian Notebook, edited by Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher, contains myriad documents by Indonesian writers, intellectuals, and reporters that provide the largely absent Indonesian perspectives of the 1955 Bandung Conference and of Richard Wright’s activities there, adding new depths to the understandings of the conference. It also includes a newly discovered lecture by Wright.

New Books in November

November is here, and as usual we have a lot of great books on offer this month. Keep an eye out for the following books, which will be coming out in the next few weeks:

Galli cover image, 6032-2Appearing here in English for the first time, Janus’s Gaze: Essays on Carl Schmitt is the culmination of Carlo Galli’s ongoing critique of the work of Carl Schmitt where he finds the unifying thread of Schmitt’s work to be his creation of the genealogy of modernity.

With an adventurous writing style, Anand Pandian explores the transformative potential of cinema in Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation, following Tamil films from the spark of artistic impulse through their production, marketing, and reception to show how cinema recasts the ordinary experience of everyday life.

Kirksey cover image, 6035-3In Emergent Ecologies Eben Kirksey insists that we should turn our attention toward small-scale ecologies and search for hope in the efforts of individuals who are building new ecologies, and in the plants, animals, and fungi that are flourishing in unexpected places.

Zoë H. Wool explores how the most severely injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars rehabilitating at Walter Reed Medical Center—whether recovering from losing a limb or sustaining a traumatic brain injury—struggle to build some kind of ordinary life in a situation that is anything but ordinary in After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed.

Lightfoot cover image, 6007-0In Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation, Natasha Lightfoot tells the story of how Antigua’s newly freed black working people struggled to realize freedom, prior to and in the decades following their emancipation in 1834. Their continued efforts in the face of oppression complicate common definitions of freedom and narratives about newly freed slaves in the Caribbean.

In Metroimperial Intimacies: Fantasy, Racial-Sexual Governance, and the Philippines in U.S. Imperialism, 1899-1913 Victor Román Mendoza shows how America’s imperial incursions into the Philippines fostered social and sexual intimacies between Americans and native Filipinos, that along with representations of Filipinos as sexually degenerate, were crucial to regulating both colonial subjects and gender norms at home.

In This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, now published by Duke University Press with a new preface, Charles E. Cobb Jr. describes the vital role that armed self-defense played in the survival and liberation of black communities in America during the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s.

Eidsheim cover image, 6061-2Through an analysis of four contemporary operas, in Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice Nina Sun Eidsheim offers a vibrational theory of music that radically re-envisions of how we think about sound, music, and listening by challenging common assumptions about sound, freeing it from a constraining set of fixed concepts and meanings.

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.

New Books in August

August is off to a great start, and we’ve got a lot of new books to look forward to this month. Here is a quick preview of what to keep an eye out for:

Joseph cover image, 5896-1In his ethical autobiography, Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values, James A. Joseph—who was active in the Civil Rights Movement, an executive of a Fortune 500 company, the Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa—shares the development of his philosophies of morality and leadership.

Massumi cover image F15, 5995-1An original theory of power, Brian Massumi explains in Ontopower: War, Powers, and the State of Perception how the logic of preemption governs U.S. military policy in the War on Terror. Threats are now felt into reality, which makes preemptive action necessary. The logic of preemption’s working out creates the self-sustaining force of ontopower.

Snitow cover image, 5874-9Collecting almost four decades of writings by feminist activist Ann Snitow, The Feminism of Uncertainty: A Gender Diary includes well-known essays, such as “A Gender Diary,” along with pieces appearing here for the first time.

In Gut Feminism, Elizabeth A. Wilson shakes feminist theory from its resistance to biological and pharmaceutical data and urges that now is the time for feminism to critically engage with biology. Doing so will reanimate feminist theory, strengthening its ability to address depression, affect, gender, and feminist politics.

Schmidt cover image, 5937-1Jalane D. Schmidt’s Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba shows how the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, discovered in 1612 and known as Cachita, is a potent and contested symbol of Cuban national identity. The book analyzes the five times over the last eighty years Cachita has been celebrated in Cuba’s urban streets. Schmidt provides a comprehensive treatment of Cuban religions, history, and culture, interpreted through the prism of Cachita.

Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Henri Bergson is a great commentary written on philosopher Henri Bergson. Jankélévitch’s analysis covers all aspects of Bergson’s thought, from metaphysics, emotion and temporality, to psychology and biology. This edition also includes supplementary essays on Bergson by Jankélévitch, Bergson’s letters to Jankélévitch, and an editor’s introduction.

In Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers, and Excitable Matter, Natasha Myers shows in this ethnography how scientists who build three-dimensional models of proteins use their senses and bodies to create, represent, and evaluate otherwise imperceptible molecules. These modelers often consider matter to be made up of living, moving, and sometimes breathing entities, and Myers’ study of them rethinks the objectivity of science.

Sammond cover image, 5852-7In Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation, Nicholas Sammond argues that early cartoons are a key components to blackface minstrelsy and that cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat are not like minstrels, but are minstrels. Cartoons have played on racial anxieties, naturalized racial formations, committed symbolic racial violence, and help perpetuate blackface minstrelsy.

Nadia Ellis theorizes the experience of belonging to the African diaspora as living within the space between the land and the soul in Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora. She uses a utopian concept of queerness and analyses of African American and Caribbean writers, musicians, and artists to show how diaspora is a mode of feeling and belonging.

Malkki cover image, 5932-6The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism, an ethnography by Liisa H. Malkki, reverses the study of humanitarian aid, focusing on aid workers rather than aid’s recipients. She shows how aid serves the needs of its recipients and providers.

New Books in July

It’s July, and the full, sticky heat of summer is here. What better time to find a cool corner and curl up with a new book?

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This month, we’re delighted to bring three books from now-closed South End Press back into print.  Dean Spade’s book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, is a newly revised and expanded edition of the book. Setting forth a politic that goes beyond the quest for the legal inclusion of trans populations, this revised and expanded edition is an urgent call for justice and trans liberation, and the radical transformations it will require. In Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, over the course of several personal essays, genderqueer activist/writer Eli Clare weaves together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home, all the while providing an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually experience the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. In the mesmerizing political memoir Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, Frank Wilderson III recollects his turbulent life as an expatriate in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, where he taught at universities by day, and helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda and launch psychological warfare by night.

Suchland cover image, 5961-6Also on the roster this month is Jennifer Suchland’s Economies of Violence: Transnational Feminism, Postsocialism, and the Politics of Sex Trafficking, in which the author argues that human trafficking should be understood as symptomatic of complex economic and social dynamics rather than as a criminal activity, and that treating trafficking as a crime and by focusing on victims is insufficient to combatting it.

Inhorn cover image, 5933-3Marcia C. Inhorn’s Cosmopolitan Conceptions: IVF Sojourns in Global Dubai, an ethnography of international travelers seeking in vitro fertilization treatment in the global IVF hub of Dubai shows that infertile couples, or “reprotravelers,” leave their countries because IVF treatment is not safe, affordable, legal or effective. Inhorn opens a window into the painful, frustrating, and expensive world of infertility.

Cox cover image, 5931-9Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship, by Aimee Meredith Cox, is ethnography of the Fresh Start homeless shelter in Detroit, Aimee Meredith Cox shows how the shelter’s residents—young black women whose average age is twenty—critique their social marginalization and find creative ways to exercise their agency.

New Books in June

Spring flew by and June is already here! As usual, we’ve got some great new books to ring in the new month.

Brumfield cover image, 5906-7In Architecture at the End of the Earth: Photographing the Russian North, featuring nearly two hundred full color photographs by William Craft Brumfield, the author and photographer documents the architecture of centuries-old wooden and brick churches, cathedrals and homes in the region surrounding the White Sea, which is known as the Russian North.

Kwon cover image, 5925-8Nayoung Aimee Kwon examines the Japanese language literature written by Koreans during late Japanese colonialism in Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan. She demonstrates that simply characterizing that literature as collaborationist obscures the complicated relationship these authors had with colonialism, modernity, and identity, as well as the relationship between colonizers and the colonized.

Field cover image, 5881-7In Uplift Cinema: The Emergence of African American Film and the Possibility of Black Modernity, Allyson Nadia Field recovers the forgotten body of African American filmmaking from the 1910s, which she calls uplift cinema. These films were part of the racial uplift project, which emphasized education, respectability, and self-sufficiency, and weren’t only responses to racist representations of African Americans in other films.

Madera cover image, 5811-4Black Atlas: Geography and Flow in Nineteenth-Century African American Literature presents definitive new approaches to black geography, showing how the rethinking of place and scale can galvanize the study of black literature.

Satsuka cover image, 5880-0Shiho Satsuka studies Japanese tour guides who lead Japanese tourists on trips through the Canadian Rockies in Nature in Translation: Japanese Tourism Encounters the Canadian Rockies. By presenting nature in ways attuned to Japanese culture, these guides translate nature, a process that makes visible the cultural construction of nature and subjectivities.

New Books in May

Happy May Day! We are delighted to bring in the new month with a list of great new books that will be coming out in May.

Ferguson_cvr_front_REVIn Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution, James Ferguson  examines the rise of social welfare programs in southern Africa in which states give cash payments to their low income citizens. These programs, Ferguson argues, offer new opportunities for political mobilization and inspire new ways to think about issues of production, distribution, markets, labor and unemployment.

Reading across archives, canons, and continents, Lisa Lowe examines the relationships between Europe, Asia, and the Americas in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- centuries in The Intimacies of Four Continents. She argues that Western liberal ideology, African slavery, Asian indentured labor, colonialism and trade must be understood as being mutually constitutive.

Sharon R. Kaufman examines the quandary of patients, families and doctors not knowing the point where enough medical treatment becomes too much treatment in in Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and Where to Draw the Line. A hidden chain of drivers among science, industry, new technology, and insurance spur this quandary, serving to obscure the ability to identify the difference between extraordinary and ordinary medicine.

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Aesthetic Revolutions and Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Movements, a collection edited by Aleš Erjavec, categorizes aesthetic avant-garde art as art that seeks to politically transform society and argues that such art is essential for political revolution. It provides seven in-depth analyses of twentieth-century aesthetic avant-garde art movements and examines them in relation to revolutionary politics.

In Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian Racial Democracy, anthropologist John F. Collins explores shifts in racial identification in Brazil by examining the transformation of a celebrated Afro-Brazilian neighborhood in Salvador, Brazil from a red light district into an idealized UNESCO World Heritage Site, wherein its residents were celebrated yet stigmatized and expelled.

Ma cover image, 5876-3Jean Ma shows how the rise and domination of singing actresses—or songstresses—in Chinese cinema attests to the changing roles of women in urban modernity, the complex symbiosis between the film and music industries, and the distinctive gendering of lyrical expression in Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema.