In response to concerns related to COVID-19, the Cultural Studies Association has announced the 2021 CStA conference will be virtual this year.
In lieu of our booth exhibit, please enjoy this Virtual Book Exhibit and receive a 30% discount and free shipping on the books listed below using the discount code S21XCSTA-FM at checkout, good through July 12, 2021.
Over the last three decades, a new generation of conceptual artists has come to the fore in the Arab Middle East. As wars, peace treaties, sanctions, and large-scale economic developments have reshaped the region, this cohort of cultural producers has also found themselves at the center of intergenerational debates on the role of art in society. Central to these cultural debates is a steady stream of support from North American and European funding organizations—resources that only increased with the start of the Arab uprisings in the early 2010s. The Politics of Art offers an unprecedented look into the entanglement of art and international politics in Beirut, Ramallah, and Amman to understand the aesthetics of material production within liberal economies. Hanan Toukan outlines the political and social functions of transnationally connected and internationally funded arts organizations and initiatives, and reveals how the production of art within global frameworks can contribute to hegemonic structures even as it is critiquing them—or how it can be counterhegemonic even when it first appears not to be. In so doing, Toukan proposes not only a new way of reading contemporary art practices as they situate themselves globally, but also a new way of reading the domestic politics of the region from the vantage point of art.
Anyone who has ever experienced a sporting event in a large stadium knows the energy that emanates from stands full of fans cheering on their teams. Although "the masses" have long held a thoroughly bad reputation in politics and culture, literary critic and avid sports fan Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht finds powerful, as yet unexplored reasons to sing the praises of crowds. Drawing on his experiences as a spectator in the stadiums of South America, Germany, and the US, Gumbrecht presents the stadium as "a ritual of intensity," thereby offering a different lens through which we might capture and even appreciate the dynamic of the masses. In presenting this alternate view, Gumbrecht enters into conversation with thinkers who were more critical of the potential of the masses, such as Gustave Le Bon, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, José Ortega y Gasset, Elias Canetti, Siegfried Kracauer, T. W. Adorno, or Max Horkheimer. A preface explores college crowds as a uniquely specific phenomenon of American culture. Pairing philosophical rigor with the enthusiasm of a true fan, Gumbrecht writes from the inside and suggests that being part of a crowd opens us up to an experience beyond ourselves.
The enclosure of the commons, space once available for communal use, was not a singular event but an act of "slow violence" that transformed lands, labor, and basic concepts of public life leading into the nineteenth century. The Afterlife of Enclosure examines three canonical British writers—Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy—as narrators of this history, the long duration and diffuse effects of which required new literary forms to capture the lived experience of enclosure and its aftermath. This study boldly reconceives the realist novel, not as an outdated artifact, but as witness to the material and environmental dispossession of enclosure—and bearer of utopian energies. These writers reinvented a commons committed to the collective nature of the social world. Illuminating the common at the heart of the novel—from common characters to commonplace events—Carolyn Lesjak reveals an experimental figuration of the lost commons, once a defining feature of the British landscape and political imaginary. In the face of privatization, climate change, new enclosures, and the other forms of slow violence unfolding globally today, this book looks back to a literature of historical trauma and locates within it a radical path forward.
Do we need to be a "people," populus, in order to embrace democracy and live together in peace? If so, what is a populus? Is it by definition a nation? What exactly do we mean by nationality? In this book, Davide Tarizzo takes up the problem of modern democratic, liberal peoples—how to define them, how to explain their invariance over time, and how to differentiate one people from another. Specifically, Tarizzo proposes that Jacques Lacan's theory of the subject enables us to clearly distinguish between the notion of personal identity and the notion of subjectivity, and that this very distinction is critical to understanding the nature of nations whose sense of nationhood does not rest on any self-evident identity or pre-existent cultural or ethnic homogeneity between individuals. Developing an argument about the birth and rise of modern peoples that draws on the American Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 as examples, Tarizzo introduces the concept of "political grammar"—a phrase that denotes the conditions of political subjectification that enable the enunciation of an emergent "we." Democracy, Tarizzo argues, flourishes when the opening between subjectivity and identity is maintained. And in fact, as he compellingly demonstrates, depending on the political grammar at work, democracy can be productively perceived as a process of never-ending recovery from a lack of clear national identity.
Rich, personal stories shed light on midwives at the frontier of women's reproductive rights. Midwives in the United States live and work in a complex regulatory environment that is a direct result of state and medical intervention into women's reproductive capacity. In Birthing a Movement, Renée Ann Cramer draws on over a decade of ethnographic and archival research to examine the interactions of law, politics, and activism surrounding midwifery care. Framed by gripping narratives from midwives across the country, she parses out the often-paradoxical priorities with which they must engage—seeking formal professionalization, advocating for reproductive justice, and resisting state-centered approaches. Currently, professional midwives are legal and regulated in their practice in 32 states and illegal in eight, where their practice could bring felony convictions and penalties that include imprisonment. In the remaining ten states, Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are unregulated, but nominally legal. By studying states where CPMs have differing legal statuses, Cramer makes the case that midwives and their clients engage in various forms of mobilization—at times simultaneous, and at times inconsistent—to facilitate access to care, autonomy in childbirth, and the articulation of women's authority in reproduction. This book brings together literatures not frequently in conversation with one another, on regulation, mobilization, health policy, and gender, offering a multifaceted view of the experiences and politics of American midwifery, and promising rich insights to a wide array of scholars, activists, healthcare professionals alike.
Nancy Leong reveals how powerful people and institutions use diversity to their own advantage and how the rest of us can respond—and do better. Why do people accused of racism defend themselves by pointing to their black friends? Why do men accused of sexism inevitably talk about how they love their wife and daughters? Why do colleges and corporations alike photoshop people of color into their websites and promotional materials? And why do companies selling everything from cereal to sneakers go out of their way to include a token woman or person of color in their advertisements? In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Leong coins the term "identity capitalist" to label the powerful insiders who eke out social and economic value from people of color, women, LGBTQ people, the poor, and other outgroups. Leong deftly uncovers the rules that govern a system in which all Americans must survive: the identity marketplace. She contends that the national preoccupation with diversity has, counterintuitively, allowed identity capitalists to infiltrate the legal system, educational institutions, the workplace, and the media. Using examples from law to literature, from politics to pop culture, Leong takes readers on a journey through the hidden agendas and surprising incentives of various ingroup actors. She also uncovers a dire dilemma for outgroup members: do they play along and let their identity be used by others, or do they protest and risk the wrath of the powerful? Arming readers with the tools to recognize and mitigate the harms of exploitation, Identity Capitalists reveals what happens when we prioritize diversity over equality.
The past is what happened. History is what we remember and write about that past, the narratives we craft to make sense out of our memories and their sources. But what does it mean to look at the past and to remember that "nothing happened"? Why might we feel as if "nothing is the way it was"? This book transforms these utterly ordinary observations and redefines "Nothing" as something we have known and can remember. "Nothing" has been a catch-all term for everything that is supposedly uninteresting or is just not there. It will take some—possibly considerable—mental adjustment before we can see Nothing as Susan A. Crane does here, with a capital "n." But Nothing has actually been happening all along. As Crane shows in her witty and provocative discussion, Nothing is nothing less than fascinating. When Nothing has changed but we think that it should have, we might call that injustice; when Nothing has happened over a long, slow period of time, we might call that boring. Justice and boredom have histories. So too does being relieved or disappointed when Nothing happens—for instance, when a forecasted end of the world does not occur, and millennial movements have to regroup. By paying attention to how we understand Nothing to be happening in the present, what it means to "know Nothing" or to "do Nothing," we can begin to ask how those experiences will be remembered. Susan A. Crane moves effortlessly between different modes of seeing Nothing, drawing on visual analysis and cultural studies to suggest a new way of thinking about history. By remembering how Nothing happened, or how Nothing is the way it was, or how Nothing has changed, we can recover histories that were there all along.
The postwar US political imagination coalesced around a quintessential midcentury American trope: happiness. In Incremental Realism, Mary Esteve offers a bold, revisionist literary and cultural history of efforts undertaken by literary realists, public intellectuals, and policy activists to advance the value of public institutions and the claims of socioeconomic justice. Esteve specifically focuses on era-defining authors of realist fiction, including Philip Roth, Gwendolyn Brooks, Patricia Highsmith, Paula Fox, Peter Taylor, and Mary McCarthy, who mobilized the trope of happiness to reinforce the crucial value of public institutions, such as the public library, and the importance of pursuing socioeconomic justice, as envisioned by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and welfare-state liberals. In addition to embracing specific symbols of happiness, these writers also developed narrative modes—what Esteve calls "incremental realism"—that made justifiable the claims of disadvantaged Americans on the nation-state and promoted a small-canvas aesthetics of moderation. With this powerful demonstration of the way postwar literary fiction linked the era's familiar trope of happiness to political arguments about socioeconomic fairness and individual flourishing, Esteve enlarges our sense of the postwar liberal imagination and its attentiveness to better, possible worlds.
The Enlightenment remains widely associated with the rise of scientific progress and the loss of religious faith, a dual tendency that is thought to have contributed to the disenchantment of the world. In her wide-ranging and richly illustrated book, Tili Boon Cuillé questions the accuracy of this narrative by investigating the fate of the marvelous in the age of reason. Exploring the affinities between the natural sciences and the fine arts, Cuillé examines the representation of natural phenomena—whether harmonious or discordant—in natural history, painting, opera, and the novel from Buffon and Rameau to Ossian and Staël. She demonstrates that philosophical, artistic, and emotional responses to the "spectacle of nature" in eighteenth-century France included wonder, enthusiasm, melancholy, and the "sentiment of divinity." These "passions of the soul," traditionally associated with religion and considered antithetical to enlightenment, were linked to the faculties of reason, imagination, and memory that structured Diderot's Encyclopédie and to contemporary theorizations of the sublime. As Cuillé reveals, the marvelous was not eradicated but instead preserved through the establishment and reform of major French cultural institutions dedicated to science, art, religion, and folklore that were designed to inform, enchant, and persuade. This book has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Despite widespread consensus that China's digital revolution was sure to bring about massive democratic reforms, such changes have not come to pass. While scholars and policy makers alternate between predicting change and disparaging a stubbornly authoritarian regime, in this book Shaohua Guo demonstrates how this dichotomy misses the far more complex reality. The Evolution of the Chinese Internet traces the emergence and maturation of one of the most creative digital cultures in the world through four major technological platforms: the bulletin board system, the blog, the microblog, and WeChat. Guo transcends typical binaries of freedom and control, to argue that Chinese Internet culture displays a uniquely sophisticated interplay between multiple extremes, and that its vibrancy is dependent on these complex negotiations. In contrast to the flourishing of research findings on what is made invisible online, this book examines the driving mechanisms that grant visibility to particular kinds of user-generated content. Offering a systematic account of how and why an ingenious Internet culture has been able to thrive, Guo highlights the pivotal roles that media institutions, technological platforms, and creative practices of Chinese netizens have played in shaping culture on- and offline.
For a generation of contemporary Anglo-American novelists, the question "Why write?" has been answered with a renewed will to believe in the ethical value of literature. Dissatisfied with postmodernist parody and pastiche, a broad array of novelist-critics—including J.M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Gish Jen, Ian McEwan, and Jonathan Franzen—champion the novel as the literary genre most qualified to illuminate individual ethical action and decision-making within complex and diverse social worlds. Key to this contemporary vision of the novel's ethical power is the task of knowing and being responsible to people different from oneself, and so thoroughly have contemporary novelists devoted themselves to the ethics of otherness, that this ethics frequently sets the terms for plot, characterization, and theme. In The Novel and the New Ethics, literary critic Dorothy J. Hale investigates how the contemporary emphasis on literature's social relevance sparks a new ethical description of the novel's social value that is in fact rooted in the modernist notion of narrative form. This "new" ethics of the contemporary moment has its origin in the "new" idea of novelistic form that Henry James inaugurated and which was consolidated through the modernist narrative experiments and was developed over the course of the twentieth century. In Hale's reading, the art of the novel becomes defined with increasing explicitness as an aesthetics of alterity made visible as a formalist ethics. In fact, it is this commitment to otherness as a narrative act which has conferred on the genre an artistic intensity and richness that extends to the novel's every word.
The Color of Creatorship examines how copyright, trademark, and patent discourses work together to form American ideals around race, citizenship, and property. Working through key moments in intellectual property history since 1790, Anjali Vats reveals that even as they have seemingly evolved, American understandings of who is a creator and who is an infringer have remained remarkably racially conservative and consistent over time. Vats examines archival, legal, political, and popular culture texts to demonstrate how intellectual properties developed alongside definitions of the "good citizen," "bad citizen," and intellectual labor in racialized ways. Offering readers a theory of critical race intellectual property, Vats historicizes the figure of the citizen-creator, the white male maker who was incorporated into the national ideology as a key contributor to the nation's moral and economic development. She also traces the emergence of racial panics around infringement, arguing that the post-racial creator exists in opposition to the figure of the hyper-racial infringer, a national enemy who is the opposite of the hardworking, innovative American creator. The Color of Creatorship contributes to a rapidly-developing conversation in critical race intellectual property. Vats argues that once anti-racist activists grapple with the underlying racial structures of intellectual property law, they can better advocate for strategies that resist the underlying drivers of racially disparate copyright, patent, and trademark policy.
The Subject of Human Rights is the first book to systematically address the "human" part of "human rights." Drawing on the finest thinking in political theory, cultural studies, history, law, anthropology, and literary studies, this volume examines how human rights—as discourse, law, and practice—shape how we understand humanity and human beings. It asks how the humanness that the human rights idea seeks to protect and promote is experienced. The essays in this volume consider how human rights norms and practices affect the way we relate to ourselves, to other people, and to the nonhuman world. They investigate what kinds of institutions and actors are subjected to human rights and are charged with respecting their demands and realizing their aspirations. And they explore how human rights shape and even create the very subjects they seek to protect. Through critical reflection on these issues, The Subject of Human Rights suggests ways in which we might reimagine the relationship between human rights and subjectivity with a view to benefiting human rights and subjects alike.
As the twentieth century roared on, transformative technologies—from trains, trams, and automobiles to radios and loudspeakers—fundamentally changed the sounds of the Egyptian streets. The cacophony of everyday life grew louder, and the Egyptian press featured editorials calling for the regulation of not only mechanized and amplified sounds, but also the voices of street vendors, the music of wedding processions, and even the traditional funerary wails. Ziad Fahmy offers the first historical examination of the changing soundscapes of urban Egypt, highlighting the mundane sounds of street life, while "listening" to the voices of ordinary people as they struggle with state authorities for ownership of the streets. Interweaving infrastructural, cultural, and social history, Fahmy analyzes the sounds of modernity, using sounded sources as an analytical tool for examining the past. Street Sounds also reveals a political dimension of noise by demonstrating how the growing middle classes used sound to distinguish themselves from the Egyptian masses. This book contextualizes sound, layering historical analysis with a sensory dimension, bringing us closer to the Egyptian streets as lived and embodied by everyday people.
A Violent Peace offers a radical account of the United States' transformation into a total-war state. As the Cold War turned hot in the Pacific, antifascist critique disclosed a continuity between U.S. police actions in Asia and a rising police state at home. Writers including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and W.E.B. Du Bois discerned in domestic strategies to quell racial protests the same counterintelligence logic structuring America's devastating wars in Asia. Examining U.S. militarism's centrality to the Cold War cultural imagination, Christine Hong assembles a transpacific archive—placing war writings, visual renderings of the American concentration camp, Japanese accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, black radical human rights petitions, Korean War–era G.I. photographs, Filipino novels on guerrilla resistance, and Marshallese critiques of U.S. human radiation experiments alongside government documents. By making visible the way the U.S. war machine waged informal wars abroad and at home, this archive reveals how the so-called Pax Americana laid the grounds for solidarity—imagining collective futures beyond the stranglehold of U.S. militarism.
Democracy is being destroyed by an ancient evil, and modernity is in denial. In the Tyranny of Greed, Timothy K. Kuhner reveals the United States to be a government by and for the wealthy, with Trump—the spirit of infinite greed—at its helm. Taking readers on a tour through evolutionary biology, psychology, and biblical sources, Kuhner explores how democracy emerged from religious and revolutionary awakenings. He argues that to overcome Trump's regime and establish real democracy, we must reconnect with that radical heritage. Our political tradition demands a revolution against corruption.
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year The first book that examines India's mega-publicity campaigns to theorize the global transformation of the nation-state into an attractive investment destination. The early twenty-first century was an optimistic moment of global futures-making. The chief narrative was the emergence of the BRICS nations—leading stars in the great spectacle of capitalist growth stories, branded afresh as resource-rich hubs of untapped talent and potential, and newly opened up for foreign investments. The old third-world nations were rapidly embracing the script of unbridled capitalism in the hope of arriving on the world stage. If the tantalizing promise of economic growth invited entrepreneurs to invest in the nation's exciting futures, it offered utopian visions of "good times," and even restoration of lost national glory, to the nation's citizens. Brand New Nation reaches into the past and, inevitably, the future of this phenomenon as well as the fundamental shifts it has wrought in our understanding of the nation-state. It reveals the on-the-ground experience of the relentless transformation of the nation-state into an "attractive investment destination" for global capital. As Ravinder Kaur provocatively argues, the brand new nation is not a mere nineteenth century re-run. It has come alive as a unified enclosure of capitalist growth and nationalist desire in the twenty-first century. Today, to be deemed an attractive nation-brand in the global economy is to be affirmed as a proper nation. The infusion of capital not only rejuvenates the nation; it also produces investment-fueled nationalism, a populist energy that can be turned into a powerful instrument of coercion. Grounded in the history of modern India, the book reveals the close kinship among identity economy and identity politics, publicity and populism, and violence and economic growth rapidly rearranging the liberal political order the world over.
How cats became the undisputed mascot of the internet. The advertising slogan of the social news site Reddit is "Come for the cats. Stay for the empathy." Journalists and their readers seem to need no explanation for the line, "The internet is made of cats." Everyone understands the joke, but few know how it started. A Unified Theory of Cats on the Internet is the first book to explore the history of how the cat became the internet's best friend. Internet cats can differ in dramatic ways, from the goth cats of Twitter to the glamourpusses of Instagram to the giddy, nonsensical silliness of Nyan Cat. But they all share common traits and values. Bringing together fun anecdotes, thoughtful analyses, and hidden histories of the communities that built the internet, Elyse White shows how japonisme, punk culture, cute culture, and the battle among different communities for the soul of the internet informed the sensibility of online felines. Internet cats offer a playful—and useful—way to understand how culture shapes and is shaped by technology. Western culture has used cats for centuries as symbols of darkness, pathos, and alienation, and the communities that helped build the internet explicitly constructed themselves as outsiders, with snark and alienation at the core of their identity. Thus cats became the sine qua non of cultural literacy for the Extremely Online, not to mention an everyday medium of expression for the rest of us. Whatever direction the internet takes next, the "series of tubes" is likely to remain cat-shaped.
Can there be good social policy? This book describes what happens to Indigenous policy when it targets the supposedly 'wild people' of regional and remote Australia. Tess Lea explores naturalized policy: policy unplugged, gone live, ramifying in everyday life, to show that it is policies that are wild, not the people being targeted. Lea turns the notion of unruliness on its head to reveal a policy-driven world dominated by short term political interests and their erratic, irrational effects, and by the less obvious protection of long-term interests in resource extraction and the liberal settler lifestyles this sustains. Wild Policy argues policies are not about undoing the big causes of enduring inequality, and do not ameliorate harms terribly well either—without yielding all hope. Drawing on efforts across housing and infrastructure, resistant media-making, health, governance and land tenure battles in regional and remote Australia, Wild Policy looks at how the logics of intervention are formulated and what this reveals in answer to the question: why is it all so hard? Lea offers readers a layered, multi-relational approach called policy ecology to probe the related question, 'what is to be done?' Lea's case material will resonate with analysts across the world who deal with infrastructures, policy, technologies, mining, militarization, enduring colonial legacies, and the Anthropocene.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Jerusalem was rich with urban texts inscribed in marble, gold, and cloth, investing holy sites with divine meaning. Ottoman modernization and British colonial rule transformed the city; new texts became a key means to organize society and subjectivity. Stone inscriptions, pilgrims' graffiti, and sacred banners gave way to street markers, shop signs, identity papers, and visiting cards that each sought to define and categorize urban space and people. A City in Fragments tells the modern history of a city overwhelmed by its religious and symbolic significance. Yair Wallach walked the streets of Jerusalem to consider the graffiti, logos, inscriptions, official signs, and ephemera that transformed the city over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As these urban texts became a tool in the service of capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism, the affinities of Arabic and Hebrew were forgotten and these sister-languages found themselves locked in a bitter war. Looking at the writing of—and literally on—Jerusalem, Wallach offers a creative and expansive history of the city, a fresh take on modern urban texts, and a new reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict through its material culture.
A picture-rich field guide to American photography, from daguerreotype to digital. We are all photographers now, with camera phones in hand and social media accounts at the ready. And we know which pictures we like. But what makes a "good picture"? And how could anyone think those old styles were actually good? Soft-focus yearbook photos from the '80s are now hopelessly—and happily—outdated, as are the low-angle portraits fashionable in the 1940s or the blank stares of the 1840s. From portraits to products, landscapes to food pics, Good Pictures proves that the history of photography is a history of changing styles. In a series of short, engaging essays, Kim Beil uncovers the origins of fifty photographic trends and investigates their original appeal, their decline, and sometimes their reuse by later generations of photographers. Drawing on a wealth of visual material, from vintage how-to manuals to magazine articles for working photographers, this full-color book illustrates the evolution of trends with hundreds of pictures made by amateurs, artists, and commercial photographers alike. Whether for selfies or sepia tones, the rules for good pictures are always shifting, reflecting new ways of thinking about ourselves and our place in the visual world.
A fascinating exploration of three individuals in fin-de-siècle France who pushed the boundaries of gender identity. Before the term "transgender" existed, there were those who experienced their gender in complex ways. Before Trans examines the lives and writings of Jane Dieulafoy (1850–1916), Rachilde (1860–1953), and Marc de Montifaud (1845–1912), three French writers whose gender expression did not conform to nineteenth-century notions of femininity. Dieulafoy fought alongside her husband in the Franco-Prussian War and traveled with him to the Middle East; later she wrote novels about girls becoming boys and enjoyed being photographed in her signature men's suits. Rachilde became famous in the 1880s for her controversial gender-bending novel Monsieur Vénus, published around the same time that she started using a calling card that read "Rachilde, Man of Letters." Montifaud began her career as an art critic before turning to erotic writings, for which she was repeatedly charged with "offense to public decency"; she wore tailored men's suits and a short haircut for much of her life and went by masculine pronouns among certain friends. Dieulafoy, Rachilde, and Montifaud established themselves as fixtures in the literary world of fin-de-siècle Paris at the same time as French writers, scientists, and doctors were becoming increasingly fascinated with sexuality and sexual difference. Even so, the concept of gender identity as separate from sexual identity did not yet exist. Before Trans explores these three figures' lifelong efforts to articulate a sense of selfhood that did not precisely align with the conventional gender roles of their day. Their intricate, personal stories provide vital historical context for our own efforts to understand the nature of gender identity and the ways in which it might be expressed.
The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery explores how antiblack racism lived on through the figure of the Chinese worker in US literature after emancipation. Drawing out the connections between this liminal figure and the formal aesthetics of blackface minstrelsy in literature of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, Caroline H. Yang reveals the ways antiblackness structured US cultural production during a crucial moment of reconstructing and re-narrating US empire after the Civil War. Examining texts by major American writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Sui Sin Far, and Charles Chesnutt—Yang traces the intertwined histories of blackface minstrelsy and Chinese labor. Her bold rereading of these authors' contradictory positions on race and labor sees the figure of the Chinese worker as both hiding and making visible the legacy of slavery and antiblackness. Ultimately, The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery shows how the Chinese worker manifests the inextricable links between US literature, slavery, and empire, as well as the indispensable role of antiblackness as a cultural form in the United States.
A voyage of exploration to the outer reaches of our inner lives. UFOs are a myth, says David J. Halperin—but myths are real. The power and fascination of the UFO has nothing to do with space travel or life on other planets. It's about us, our longings and terrors, and especially the greatest terror of all: the end of our existence. This is a book about UFOs that goes beyond believing in them or debunking them and to a fresh understanding of what they tell us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species. In the 1960s, Halperin was a teenage UFOlogist, convinced that flying saucers were real and that it was his life's mission to solve their mystery. He would become a professor of religious studies, with traditions of heavenly journeys his specialty. With Intimate Alien, he looks back to explore what UFOs once meant to him as a boy growing up in a home haunted by death and what they still mean for millions, believers and deniers alike. From the prehistoric Balkans to the deserts of New Mexico, from the biblical visions of Ezekiel to modern abduction encounters, Intimate Alien traces the hidden story of the UFO. It's a human story from beginning to end, no less mysterious and fantastic for its earthliness. A collective cultural dream, UFOs transport us to the outer limits of that most alien yet intimate frontier, our own inner space.
Crossing distinct literatures, histories, and politics, Giving Form to an Asian and Latinx America reveals the intertwined story of contemporary Asian Americans and Latinxs through a shared literary aesthetic. Their transfictional literature creates expansive imagined worlds in which distinct stories coexist, offering artistic shape to their linked political and economic struggles. Long Le-Khac explores the work of writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Karen Tei Yamashita, Junot Díaz, and Aimee Phan. He shows how their fictions capture the uneven economic opportunities of the post–civil rights era, the Cold War as it exploded across Asia and Latin America, and the Asian and Latin American labor flows powering global capitalism today. Read together, Asian American and Latinx literatures convey astonishing diversity and untapped possibilities for coalition within the United States' fastest-growing immigrant and minority communities; to understand the changing shape of these communities we must see how they have formed in relation to each other. As the U.S. population approaches a minority-majority threshold, we urgently need methods that can look across the divisions and unequal positions of the racial system. Giving Form to an Asian and Latinx America leads the way with a vision for the future built on panethnic and cross-racial solidarity.
This volume examines the role of education in shaping rates and patterns of intergenerational social mobility among men and women during the twentieth century. Focusing on the relationship between a person's social class and the social class of his or her parents, each chapter looks at a different country—the United States, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Contributors examine change in absolute and relative mobility and in education across birth cohorts born between the first decade of the twentieth century and the early 1970s. They find a striking similarity in trends across all countries, and in particular a contrast between the fortunes of people born before the 1950s, those who enjoyed increasing rates of upward mobility and a decline in the strength of the link between class origins and destinations, and later generations who experienced more downward mobility and little change in how origins and destinations are linked. This volume uncovers the factors that drove these shifts, revealing education as significant in promoting social openness. It will be an invaluable source for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of mobility and inequality in the contemporary world.
In a world that promotes assertion, agency, and empowerment, this book challenges us to revalue a range of actions and attitudes that have come to be disregarded or dismissed as merely passive. Mercy, resignation, politeness, restraint, gratitude, abstinence, losing well, apologizing, taking care: today, such behaviors are associated with negativity or lack. But the capacity to give way is better understood as positive action, at once intricate and demanding. Moving from intra-human common courtesies, to human-animal relations, to the global civility of human-inhuman ecological awareness, the book's argument unfolds on progressively larger scales. In reminding us of the existential threat our drives pose to our own survival, Steven Connor does not merely champion a family of behaviors; he shows that we are more adept practitioners of them than we realize. At a time when it is on the wane, Giving Way offers a powerful defense of civility, the versatile human capacity to deflect aggression into sociability and to exercise power over power itself.
An eyewitness account of idealism, self-discovery, and loss under one of the twentieth-century's most repressive political regimes Set against a backdrop of world-changing events during the headiest years of the Cuban Revolution, Goodbye, My Havana follows young Connie Veltfort as her once relatively privileged life among a community of anti-imperialist expatriates turns to progressive disillusionment and heartbreak. The consolidation of Castro's position brings violence, cruelty, and betrayal to Connie's doorstep. And the crackdown that ultimately forces her family and others to flee for their lives includes homosexuals among its targets—Connie's coming-of-age story is one also about the dangers of coming out. Looking back with a mixture of hardheaded clarity and tenderness at her alter ego and a forgotten era, with this gripping graphic memoir Anna Veltfort takes leave of the past even as she brings neglected moments of the Cold War into the present.
In recent decades, Palestinian heritage organizations have launched numerous urban regeneration and museum projects across the West Bank in response to the enduring Israeli occupation. These efforts to reclaim and assert Palestinian heritage differ significantly from the typical global cultural project: here it is people's cultural memory and living environment, rather than ancient history and archaeology, that take center stage. It is local civil society and NGOs, not state actors, who are "doing" heritage. In this context, Palestinian heritage has become not just a practice of resistance, but a resourceful mode of governing the Palestinian landscape. With this book, Chiara De Cesari examines these Palestinian heritage projects—notably the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Riwaq, and the Palestinian Museum—and the transnational actors, practices, and material sites they mobilize to create new institutions in the absence of a sovereign state. Through their rehabilitation of Palestinian heritage, these organizations have halted the expansion of Israeli settlements. They have also given Palestinians opportunities to rethink and transform state functions. Heritage and the Cultural Struggle for Palestine reveals how the West Bank is home to creative experimentation, insurgent agencies, and resourceful attempts to reverse colonial violence—and a model of how things could be.
A case study of one of the most important global institutions of cultural policy formation, UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary demonstrates the relationship between such policymaking and transformations in the economy. Focusing on UNESCO's use of books, Sarah Brouillette identifies three phases in the agency's history and explores the literary and cultural programming of each. In the immediate postwar period, healthy economies made possible the funding of an infrastructure in support of a liberal cosmopolitanism and the spread of capitalist democracy. In the decolonizing 1960s and '70s, illiteracy and lack of access to literature were lamented as a "book hunger" in the developing world, and reading was touted as a universal humanizing value to argue for a more balanced communications industry and copyright regime. Most recently, literature has become instrumental in city and nation branding that drive tourism and the heritage industry. Today, the agency largely treats high literature as a commercially self-sustaining product for wealthy aging publics, and fundamental policy reform to address the uneven relations that characterize global intellectual property creation is off the table. UNESCO's literary programming is in this way highly suggestive. A trajectory that might appear to be one of triumphant success—literary tourism and festival programming can be quite lucrative for some people—is also, under a different light, a story of decline.
Just about any social need is now met with an opportunity to "connect" through digital means. But this convenience is not free—it is purchased with vast amounts of personal data transferred through shadowy backchannels to corporations using it to generate profit. The Costs of Connection uncovers this process, this "data colonialism," and its designs for controlling our lives—our ways of knowing; our means of production; our political participation. Colonialism might seem like a thing of the past, but this book shows that the historic appropriation of land, bodies, and natural resources is mirrored today in this new era of pervasive datafication. Apps, platforms, and smart objects capture and translate our lives into data, and then extract information that is fed into capitalist enterprises and sold back to us. The authors argue that this development foreshadows the creation of a new social order emerging globally—and it must be challenged. Confronting the alarming degree of surveillance already tolerated, they offer a stirring call to decolonize the internet and emancipate our desire for connection.
When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg's influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world. An array of globally prominent artists, writers, and thinkers—from William Kentridge, Hito Steyerl, and Jamaica Kincaid, to Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, Judith Butler, and the Combahee River Collective—speak to this interconnection and show how confronting our own implication in difficult histories can lead to new forms of internationalism and long-distance solidarity.
From the US to Nepal, author J. Bradley Wigger travels five countries on three continents to hear children describe their invisible friends—one-hundred-year-old robins and blue dogs, dinosaurs and teapots, pretend families and shape-shifting aliens—companions springing from the deep well of childhood imagination. Drawing on these interviews, as well as a new wave of developmental research, he finds a fluid and flexible quality to the imaginative mind that is central to learning, co-operation, and paradoxically, to real-world rationality. Yet Wigger steps beyond psychological territory to explore the religious significance of the kind of mind that develops relationships with invisible beings. Alongside Cinderella the blue dog, Quack-Quack the duck, and Dino the dinosaur are angels, ancestors, spirits, and gods. What he uncovers is a profound capacity in the religious imagination to see through the surface of reality to more than meets the eye. Punctuated throughout by children's colorful drawings of their see-through interlocutors, the book is highly engaging and alternately endearing, moving, and humorous. Not just for parents or for those who work with children, Invisible Companions will appeal to anyone interested in our mind's creative and spiritual possibilities.
What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically "failed" movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde's publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about the intersections of aesthetic form and politics and about what we consider to be literature and art.
The first sustained study of the relations between literary celebrity and queer sexuality, Categorically Famous looks at the careers of three celebrity writers—James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, and Gore Vidal—in relation to the gay and lesbian liberation movement of the 1960s. While none of these writers "came out" in our current sense, all contributed, through their public images and their writing, to a greater openness toward homosexuality that was an important precondition of liberation. Their fame was crucial, for instance, to the growing conception of homosexuals as an oppressed minority rather than as individuals with a psychological problem. Challenging scholarly orthodoxies, Guy Davidson urges us to rethink the usual opposition to liberation and to gay and lesbian visibility within queer studies as well as standard definitions of celebrity. The conventional ban on openly discussing the homosexuality of public figures meant that media reporting at the time did not focus on his protagonists' private lives. At the same time, the careers of these "semi-visible" gay celebrities should be understood as a crucial halfway point between the era of the open secret and the present-day post-liberation era in which queer people, celebrities very much included, are enjoined to come out.
Phonopoetics tells the neglected story of early "talking records" and their significance for literature, from the 1877 invention of the phonograph to some of the first recorded performances of modernist works. The book challenges assumptions of much contemporary criticism by taking the recorded, oral performance as its primary object of analysis and by exploring the historically specific convergences between audio recording technologies, media formats, generic forms, and the institutions and practices surrounding the literary. Opening with an argument that the earliest spoken recordings were a mediated extension of Victorian reading and elocutionary culture, Jason Camlot explains the literary significance of these pre-tape era voice artifacts by analyzing early promotional fantasies about the phonograph as a new kind of speaker and detailing initiatives to deploy it as a pedagogical tool to heighten literary experience. Through historically-grounded interpretations of Dickens impersonators to recitations of Tennyson to T.S. Eliot's experimental readings of "The Waste Land" and of a great variety of voices and media in between, this first critical history of the earliest literary sound recordings offers an unusual perspective on the transition from the Victorian to modern periods and sheds new light on our own digitally mediated relationship to the past.
Critical theorists of economy tend to understand the history of market society as a succession of distinct stages. This vision of history rests on a chronological conception of time whereby each present slips into the past so that a future might take its place. This book argues that the linear mode of thinking misses something crucial about the dynamics of contemporary capitalism. Rather than each present leaving a set past behind it, the past continually circulates through and shapes the present, such that historical change emerges through a shifting panorama of historical associations, names, and dates. The result is a strange feedback loop between now and then, real and imaginary. Demonstrating how this idea can give us a better purchase on financial capitalism in the post-crisis era, History in Financial Times traces the diverse modes of history production at work in the spheres of financial journalism, policymaking, and popular culture. Paying particular attention to narrative and to notions of crisis, recurrence, and revelation, Amin Samman gives us a novel take on the relation between historical thinking and critique.
In this controversial and provocative book, Mary Anne Franks examines the thin line between constitutional fidelity and constitutional fundamentalism. The Cult of the Constitution reveals how deep fundamentalist strains in both conservative and liberal American thought keep the Constitution in the service of white male supremacy. Constitutional fundamentalists read the Constitution selectively and self-servingly. Fundamentalist interpretations of the Constitution elevate certain constitutional rights above all others, benefit the most powerful members of society, and undermine the integrity of the document as a whole. The conservative fetish for the Second Amendment (enforced by groups such as the NRA) provides an obvious example of constitutional fundamentalism; the liberal fetish for the First Amendment (enforced by groups such as the ACLU) is less obvious but no less influential. Economic and civil libertarianism have increasingly merged to produce a deregulatory, "free-market" approach to constitutional rights that achieves fullest expression in the idealization of the Internet. The worship of guns, speech, and the Internet in the name of the Constitution has blurred the boundaries between conduct and speech and between veneration and violence. But the Constitution itself contains the antidote to fundamentalism. The Cult of the Constitution lays bare the dark, antidemocratic consequences of constitutional fundamentalism and urges readers to take the Constitution seriously, not selectively.
In December of 1997, the International Monetary Fund announced the largest bailout package in its history, aimed at stabilizing the South Korean economy in response to a credit and currency crisis of the same year. Vicious Circuits examines what it terms "Korea's IMF Cinema," the decade of cinema following that crisis, in order to think through the transformations of global political economy at the end of the American century. It argues that one of the most dominant traits of the cinema that emerged after the worst economic crisis in the history of South Korea was its preoccupation with economic phenomena. As the quintessentially corporate art form—made as much in the boardroom as in the studio—film in this context became an ideal site for thinking through the global political economy in the transitional moment of American decline and Chinese ascension. With an explicit focus of state economic policy, IMF cinema did not just depict the economy; it also was this economy's material embodiment. That is, it both represented economic developments and was itself an important sector in which the same pressures and changes affecting the economy at large were at work. Joseph Jonghyun Jeon's window on Korea provides a peripheral but crucial perspective on the operations of late US hegemony and the contradictions that ultimately corrode it.
Kate Millett was already an icon of American feminism when she went to Iran in 1979. She arrived just weeks after the Iranian Revolution, to join Iranian women in marking International Women's Day. Intended as a day of celebration, the event turned into a week of protests. Millett, armed with film equipment and a cassette deck to record everything around her, found herself in the middle of demonstrations for women's rights and against the mandatory veil. Listening to the revolutionary soundscape of Millett's audio tapes, Negar Mottahedeh offers a new interpretive guide to Revolutionary Iran, its slogans, habits, and women's movement—a movement that, many claim, Millett never came to understand. Published with the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and the women's protests that followed on its heels, Whisper Tapes re-introduces Millett's historic visit to Iran and lays out the nature of her encounter with the Iranian women's movement.
This Atom Bomb in Me traces what it felt like to grow up suffused with American nuclear culture in and around the atomic city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As a secret city during the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge enriched the uranium that powered Little Boy, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The city was a major nuclear production site throughout the Cold War, adding something to each and every bomb in the United States arsenal. Even today, Oak Ridge contains the world's largest supply of fissionable uranium. The granddaughter of an atomic courier, Lindsey A. Freeman turns a critical yet nostalgic eye to the place where her family was sent as part of a covert government plan. Theirs was a city devoted to nuclear science within a larger America obsessed with its nuclear prowess. Through memories, mysterious photographs, and uncanny childhood toys, she shows how Reagan-era politics and nuclear culture irradiated the late twentieth century. Alternately tender and alarming, her book takes a Geiger counter to recent history, reading the half-life of the atomic past as it resonates in our tense nuclear present.
Speculation is often associated with financial practices, but The Time of Money makes the case that it not be restricted to the financial sphere. It argues that the expansion of finance has created a distinctive social world, one that demands a speculative stance toward life in general. Replacing a logic of extraction, speculation changes our relationship to time and organizes our social worlds to maximize the productive capacities of populations around flows of money for finance capital. Speculative practices have become a matter of survival, and defining features of our age are hardwired to their operations—stagnant wages, indebtedness, the centrality of women's earnings to the household, workfarism, and more. Examining five features of our contemporary economy, Lisa Adkins reveals the operations of this speculative rationality. Moving beyond claims that indebtedness is intrinsic to contemporary life and vague declarations that the social world has become financialized, Adkins delivers a precise examination of the relation between finance and society, one that is rich in empirical and analytical detail.
Challenging the "two cultures" debate, The Experimental Imagination tells the story of how literariness came to be distinguished from its epistemological sibling, science, as a source of truth about the natural and social worlds in the British Enlightenment. Tita Chico shows that early science relied on what she calls literary knowledge to present its experimental findings. More radically, she contends that science was made intellectually possible because its main discoveries and technologies could be articulated in literary terms. While early scientists deployed metaphor to describe the phenomena they defined and imagination to cast themselves as experimentalists, literary writers used scientific metaphors to make the case for the epistemological superiority of literary knowledge. Drawing on literature as well as literary language, tropes, and interpretive methods, literary knowledge challenges our dominant narrative of the scientific revolution as the sine qua non of epistemological innovation in the British Enlightenment. With its recourse to imagination as a more reliable source of truth than any empirical account, literary knowledge facilitates a redefinition of authority and evidence, as well as of the self and society, implicitly articulating the difference that would come to distinguish the arts and sciences.
A novel account of the relationship between postindustrial capitalism and postmodern culture, this book looks at American poetry and art of the last fifty years in light of the massive changes in people's working lives. Over the last few decades, we have seen the shift from an economy based on the production of goods to one based on the provision of services, the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce, and the emergence of new digital technologies that have transformed the way people work. The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization argues that art and literature not only reflected the transformation of the workplace but anticipated and may have contributed to it as well, providing some of the terms through which resistance to labor was expressed. As firms continue to tout creativity and to reorganize in response to this resistance, they increasingly rely on models of labor that derive from values and ideas found in the experimental poetry and conceptual art of decades past.
The Re-Enchantment of the World is an interdisciplinary volume that challenges the long-prevailing view of modernity as "disenchanted." There is of course something to the widespread idea, so memorably put into words by Max Weber, that modernity is characterized by the "progressive disenchantment of the world." Yet what is less often recognized is the fact that a powerful counter-tendency runs alongside this one, an overwhelming urge to fill the vacuum left by departed convictions, and to do so without invoking superseded belief systems. In fact, modernity produces an array of strategies for re-enchantment, each fully compatible with secular rationality. It has to, because God has many "aspects"—or to put it in more secular terms, because traditional religion offers so much in so many domains. From one thinker to the next, the question of just what, in religious enchantment, needs to be replaced in a secular world receives an entirely different answer. Now, for the first time, many of these strategies are laid out in a single volume, with contributions by specialists in literature, history, and philosophy.