We were saddened to learn of the death this week of Nancy Abelmann, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (Humanities, Arts and Related Fields) and the Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, co-director of the Ethnography of the University Initiative, and author of The Intimate University: Korean American Students and the Problems of Segregation (2009) as well as several other books. She wrote on family, class, gender, education, and migration with a focus on South Korea and Korean/Asian America.
Duke University Press Editorial Director Ken Wissoker says that, “She was a pathbreaking scholar who was always making connections between scholars from Asia and from North America. She thought seriously about the academy and the lives of those of different backgrounds and experiences in it.” Wissoker adds that, “Most of all, she was a tireless mentor. I can’t count the times I saw her sitting on the floor in a hotel or airport with a younger scholar giving them advice on their writing or their cv. Her generosity was boundless and beyond words. She will be truly missed.”
Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathy are with her family, friends, and colleagues.
We were sorry to learn of the death March 18 of blues scholar Samuel Charters. Charters was the author of A Language of Song: Journeys in the Musical World of the African Diaspora, which we published in 2009.
According to his obituary in the New York Times, Charters was both an author and a producer. His first book, The Country Blues, originally published in the 1950s, is still in print. He produced albums for Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, James Cotton and Charlie Musselwhite, and Country Joe & the Fish. He also wrote several collections of poetry.
In A Language of Song, Charters took readers on a musical journey around the world, recounting experiences from a half-century spent following, documenting, recording, and writing about the Africa-influenced music of the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean. The book was widely praised. Writing in Downbeat, Frank-John Hadley said, “Samuel Charters deserves a respectful bow from anyone who values roots music.” In The Wire, Clive Bell called the book “an absorbing, accessible read, underpinned by solid scholarship and the author’s good-humoured and seemingly endless curiosity.” Academics praised Charters as well. In Popular Music, Conrado Falbo wrote, “Reading Charter’s book, even an experienced researcher may find precious tips on how to articulate sources and conduct fieldwork.”
Listen to a 2012 interview with Charters on WORT and read an interview with Charters and his wife Ann. Our thoughts are with her and the rest of their family.
We are sad to learn of the death of Randy Martin, who passed away on January 28. Martin was Professor of Art and Policy at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Martin was a long time collaborator with Duke University Press, author of three books with us and a member of the Social Text collective.
In his work Martin explored the intersections between art and politics. Martin’s most recent book with us was An Empire of Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management (2007), an argument that a financial logic of risk management underwrites U.S. foreign and domestic policy. He was also the author of Chalk Lines: The Politics of Work in the Managed University (1999) and Critical Moves (1998). He was the editor of several special issues of Social Text, including Turning Pro (2004), Corruption in Corporate Culture (2003), and 911-A Public Emergency? (2002).
Martin held degrees in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the City University of New York. A performer as well as a scholar, at NYU he was known as an advocate for the arts. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.
We were sad to learn of the death this week of scholar Juan Flores. Flores was Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU and co-founder and chair of the afrolatin@ forum. He was co-editor (with his wife Miriam Jiménez Román ) of The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States. The widely-praised collection is a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latin@s in the United States, addressing history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including essays, memoirs, journalism, poetry, and interviews. Flores was also translator and editor of Cortijo’s Wake / El entierro de Cortijo (2004), a bilingual edition of a renowned work of Puerto Rican literature by Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá.
Duke University Press Editorial Director Ken Wissoker says it’s hard to imagine Flores is gone. “He pioneered latino/a cultural studies, bringing together his knowledge and love of music, his deep engagements with Nuyorican and Puerto Rican lives, and his sense of how all this fit into a transnational picture of race, class, and culture,” says Wissoker. “He was engaged in so many projects — the biography of salsa legend Eddie Palmieri, the creation of Afro-Latin@ work as a field. His warmth, humor, and clear intelligence made him a model intellectual. He will be greatly missed.”
Our thoughts go out to Miriam Jiménez Román, also a Duke University Press author, and their entire family.