Wednesday, November 20, 2019

"The Typographic Imagination"

New from Columbia University Press: The Typographic Imagination: Reading and Writing in Japan’s Age of Modern Print Media by Nathan Shockey.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the early twentieth century, Japan was awash with typographic text and mass-produced print. Over the short span of a few decades, affordable books and magazines became a part of everyday life, and a new generation of writers and thinkers considered how their world could be reconstructed through the circulation of printed language as a mass-market commodity. The Typographic Imagination explores how this commercial print revolution transformed Japan’s media ecology and traces the possibilities and pitfalls of type as a force for radical social change.

Nathan Shockey examines the emergence of new forms of reading, writing, and thinking in Japan from the last years of the nineteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth. Charting the relationships among prose, politics, and print capitalism, he considers the meanings and functions of print as a staple commodity and as a ubiquitous and material medium for discourse and thought. Drawing on extensive archival research, The Typographic Imagination brings into conversation a wide array of materials, including bookseller trade circulars, language reform debates, works of experimental fiction, photo gazetteers, socialist periodicals, Esperanto primers, declassified censorship documents, and printing press strike bulletins. Combining the rigorous close analysis of Japanese literary studies with transdisciplinary methodologies from media studies, book history, and intellectual history, The Typographic Imagination presents a multivalent vision of the rise of mass print media and the transformations of modern Japanese literature, language, and culture.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

"Fifth Sun"

New from Oxford University Press: Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend.

About the book, from the publisher:
In November 1519, Hernando Cort├ęs walked along a causeway leading to the capital of the Aztec kingdom and came face to face with Moctezuma. That story--and the story of what happened afterwards--has been told many times, but always following the narrative offered by the Spaniards. After all, we have been taught, it was the Europeans who held the pens. But the Native Americans were intrigued by the Roman alphabet and, unbeknownst to the newcomers, they used it to write detailed histories in their own language of Nahuatl. Until recently, these sources remained obscure, only partially translated, and rarely consulted by scholars.

For the first time, in Fifth Sun, the history of the Aztecs is offered in all its complexity based solely on the texts written by the indigenous people themselves. Camilla Townsend presents an accessible and humanized depiction of these native Mexicans, rather than seeing them as the exotic, bloody figures of European stereotypes. The conquest, in this work, is neither an apocalyptic moment, nor an origin story launching Mexicans into existence. The Mexica people had a history of their own long before the Europeans arrived and did not simply capitulate to Spanish culture and colonization. Instead, they realigned their political allegiances, accommodated new obligations, adopted new technologies, and endured.

This engaging revisionist history of the Aztecs, told through their own words, explores the experience of a once-powerful people facing the trauma of conquest and finding ways to survive, offering an empathetic interpretation for experts and non-specialists alike.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Waste Siege"

New from Stanford University Press: Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine by Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins.

About the book, from the publisher:
Waste Siege offers an analysis unusual in the study of Palestine: it depicts the environmental, infrastructural, and aesthetic context in which Palestinians are obliged to forge their lives. To speak of waste siege is to describe a series of conditions, from smelling wastes to negotiating military infrastructures, from biopolitical forms of colonial rule to experiences of governmental abandonment, from obvious targets of resistance to confusion over responsibility for the burdensome objects of daily life. Within this rubble, debris, and infrastructural fallout, West Bank Palestinians create a life under settler colonial rule.

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins focuses on waste as an experience of everyday life that is continuous with, but not a result only of, occupation. Tracing Palestinians' own experiences of wastes over the past decade, she considers how multiple authorities governing the West Bank—including municipalities, the Palestinian Authority, international aid organizations, NGOs, and Israel—rule by waste siege, whether intentionally or not. Her work challenges both common formulations of waste as "matter out of place" and as the ontological opposite of the environment, by suggesting instead that waste siege be understood as an ecology of "matter with no place to go." Waste siege thus not only describes a stateless Palestine, but also becomes a metaphor for our besieged planet.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 18, 2019

"Empire and Post-Empire Telecommunications in India"

New from Oxford University Press: Empire and Post-Empire Telecommunications in India: A History by Pradip Ninan Thomas.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book, on the history of telecommunications in India is the first of its kind to intentionally link the past and present, the continuities and discontinuities between telecommunications in the era of the British Raj and telecommunications in 21st century India. Beginning with the history of the telegraph, it explores in separate chapters, the history of oceanic cables and wireless in the context of the political economy and compulsions of Empire to control global flows of communications. Telecommunications was vital to the Imperial project and connecting their Jewel in the Crown, India, was a key priority. However inter-colonial rivalries outside and within India and contestations between private and public ownership of telecommunications made that task difficult. This book explores these contestations and the changing priorities related to telecommunications in the era of the British and in modern Independent India. It makes the case that history is absolutely critical to understanding the present and the imprint of the past continues to shape the Indian state's engagements with telecommunications.
Pradip Ninan Thomas is at the School of Communications and Arts, University of Queensland. He has written extensively on the media in India, the political economy of communications, communications and social change and the media and religion. He was the Vice President of the International Association for Media & Communication Research (2012-2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Are Men Animals?: How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short"

New from Basic Books: Are Men Animals?: How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short by Matthew Gutmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
“Boys will be boys,” the saying goes — but what does that actually mean? A leading anthropologist investigates

Why do men behave the way they do? Is it their male brains? Surging testosterone? From vulgar locker-room talk to mansplaining to sexual harassment, society is too quick to explain male behavior in terms of biology.

In Are Men Animals?, anthropologist Matthew Gutmann argues that predatory male behavior is in no way inevitable. Men behave the way they do because culture permits it, not because biology demands it. To prove this, he embarks on a global investigation of masculinity. Exploring everything from the gender-bending politics of American college campuses to the marriage markets of Shanghai and the women-only subway cars of Mexico City, Gutmann shows just how complicated masculinity can be. The result isn’t just a new way to think about manhood. It’s a guide to a better life, for all of us.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 17, 2019

"A Biography of Loneliness"

New from Oxford University Press: A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion by Fay Bound Alberti.

About the book, from the publisher:
Despite 21st-century fears of an 'epidemic' of loneliness, its history has been sorely neglected. A Biography of Loneliness offers a radically new interpretation of loneliness as an emotional language and experience. Using letters and diaries, philosophical tracts, political discussions, and medical literature from the eighteenth century to the present, historian of the emotions Fay Bound Alberti argues that loneliness is not an ahistorical, universal phenomenon. It is, in fact, a modern emotion: before 1800, its language did not exist. And where loneliness is identified, it is not always bad, but a complex emotional state that differs according to class, gender, ethnicity and experience.

Looking at informative case studies such as Sylvia Plath, Queen Victoria, and Virginia Woolf, A Biography of Loneliness charts the emergence of loneliness as a modern and embodied emotional state.
Visit Fay Bound Alberti's website.

The Page 99 Test: This Mortal Coil.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 15, 2019

"Inventing Disaster"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood by Cynthia A. Kierner.

About the book, from the publisher:
When hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters strike, we count our losses, search for causes, commiserate with victims, and initiate relief efforts. Amply illustrated and expansively researched, Inventing Disaster explains the origins and development of this predictable, even ritualized, culture of calamity over three centuries, exploring its roots in the revolutions in science, information, and emotion that were part of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America.

Beginning with the collapse of the early seventeenth-century Jamestown colony, ending with the deadly Johnstown flood of 1889, and highlighting fires, epidemics, earthquakes, and exploding steamboats along the way, Cynthia A. Kierner tells horrific stories of culturally significant calamities and their victims and charts efforts to explain, prevent, and relieve disaster-related losses. Although how we interpret and respond to disasters has changed in some ways since the nineteenth century, Kierner demonstrates that, for better or worse, the intellectual, economic, and political environments of earlier eras forged our own twenty-first-century approach to disaster, shaping the stories we tell, the precautions we ponder, and the remedies we prescribe for disaster-ravaged communities.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Famished: Eating Disorders and Failed Care in America"

New from the University of California Press: Famished: Eating Disorders and Failed Care in America by Rebecca J. Lester.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Rebecca Lester was eleven years old—and again when she was eighteen—she almost died from anorexia nervosa. Now both a tenured professor in anthropology and a licensed social worker, she turns her ethnographic and clinical gaze to the world of eating disorders—their history, diagnosis, lived realities, treatment, and place in the American cultural imagination.

Famished, the culmination of over two decades of anthropological and clinical work, as well as a lifetime of lived experience, presents a profound rethinking of eating disorders and how to treat them. Through a mix of rich cultural analysis, detailed therapeutic accounts, and raw autobiographical reflections, Famished helps make sense of why people develop eating disorders, what the process of recovery is like, and why treatments so often fail. It’s also an unsparing condemnation of the tension between profit and care in American healthcare, demonstrating how a system set up to treat a disease may, in fact, perpetuate it. Fierce and vulnerable, critical and hopeful, Famished will forever change the way you understand eating disorders and the people who suffer with them.
Rebecca J. Lester is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and a licensed clinical social worker. She is the author of numerous academic articles and the award-winning book Jesus in Our Wombs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Arab Routes"

New from Stanford University Press: Arab Routes: Pathways to Syrian California by Sarah M. A. Gualtieri.

About the book, from the publisher:
Los Angeles is home to the largest population of people of Middle Eastern origin and descent in the United States. Since the late nineteenth century, Syrian and Lebanese migration, in particular, to Southern California has been intimately connected to and through Latin America. Arab Routes uncovers the stories of this Syrian American community, one both Arabized and Latinized, to reveal important cross-border and multiethnic solidarities in Syrian California.

Sarah M. A. Gualtieri reconstructs the early Syrian connections through California, Texas, Mexico, and Lebanon. She reveals the Syrian interests in the defense of the Mexican American teens charged in the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder, in actor Danny Thomas's rise to prominence in LA's Syrian cultural festivals, and in more recent activities of the grandchildren of immigrants to reclaim a sense of Arabness. Gualtieri reinscribes Syrians into Southern California history through her examination of powerful images and texts, augmented with interviews with descendants of immigrants. Telling the story of how Syrians helped forge a global Los Angeles, Arab Routes counters a long-held stereotype of Arabs as outsiders and underscores their longstanding place in American culture and in interethnic coalitions, past and present.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Black Radical"

New from Liveright: Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter by Kerri K. Greenidge.

About the book, from the publisher:
This long-overdue biography reestablishes William Monroe Trotter’s essential place next to Douglass, Du Bois, and King in the pantheon of American civil rights heroes.

William Monroe Trotter (1872– 1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America. For more than thirty years, the Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published the Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Synthesizing years of archival research, historian Kerri Greenidge renders the drama of turn- of- the- century America and reclaims Trotter as a seminal figure, whose prophetic, yet ultimately tragic, life offers a link between the vision of Frederick Douglass and black radicalism in the modern era.
--Marshal Zeringue