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University Press Week

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How to use this book

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A Celebration of University Presses

In these pages, you’ll find books from Abdurraqib to Whitman, from fiction and memoir to media studies and the history of science. Some were published decades ago and some came out just this year. Every title is a staff favorite, having enriched us, encouraged our curiosity, and challenged us to think more critically. And every title is published by a university press, representing a long, rigorous process of research, peer review, fact-checking, and editing. 

Though the Co-op, as one of the world’s foremost academic bookstores, is committed to stocking and supporting such work all year round, we hope you will permit us to celebrate it here, exclusively, in tandem with the Association of University Presses’ annual University Press Week (November 9-15, 2020).

“Raise UP, our 2020 theme,” says AUP, “highlights the role that the university press community plays in elevating authors, subjects, and whole disciplines that bring new perspectives, ideas, and voices to readers around the globe—in partnership with booksellers, librarians, and others. In a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before, it is critical that books about the most important events and ideas of the day are nurtured, championed, and made widely available.”

Please join us in raising up the work of these exemplary presses and pathbreaking scholars. Flip through to find an interview with Parneshia Jones, the newly appointed director of Northwestern University Press, and browse a little further to discover new names, new ideas, and new favorites.

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In honor of this year’s University Press Week, the AUP reached out to Parneshia Jones, the new director of Northwestern University Press, to get her perspective on publishing during a pandemic and what makes university presses so essential in these times.  There is no question that like the rest of the world, the publishing industry has been unhinged by the pandemic. Often the question is asked what publishers look like in the age of COVID-19, but what I think most want to know is who are we striving to be as publishers on the other side of COVID-19, and what have we learned? 

Our team at Northwestern University Press have already started exploring and planning our post-COVID-19 reality. First, everyone’s well-being. During the pandemic, we started well-being channels on our staff Slack account to share resources and information for people’s physical and mental health, and we even have a #presspets page). I think these kinds of simple but meaningful things will continue because it offers an extra layer of staff support.

Photo credit: Dino Robinson

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Independent bookstores have always been a saving grace for UPs. They’ve allowed us to have deeper connections to our readers and communities. During the pandemic, they absolutely carried the charge to get people to read more, buy independent or direct, hosted our authors virtually, arranged curbside pickups and delivery, and became the overall ray of hope in so much uncertainty. What can we as publishers do to support our independent comrades and help keep them as a lifeline for our books and readers? 
On top of the pandemic, many publishers were already in phases of transitions and revision in response to several paramount movements and conversations like #metoo #BlackLivesMatter, and concerns around equity, diversity, and inclusion. What are some things you feel the UP world, and specifically your press, are doing to address the monumental changes that these conversations are bringing to the forefront of publishing and the humanities?
We talk to each other, the staff, in real and honest ways. And we listen to each other. I don’t think I have ever experienced such a supportive group of people willing to learn and at the same time challenge the status quo of these conversations and movements. We are making spaces, from within, that allow us to be honest with the knowledge and understanding that we don’t all come to these conversations from the same view or experience. We have learned to have empathy that someone else may enter things from another door and viewpoint. We are open to hearing and learning from each other and that has been really eye opening. We also talk to our authors, our community, and verse ourselves on how we can commit to these dialogues with the books we publish, but also outside of the books. We want to be an organization that is representative of change and committed to our changes, but we want to create a space in which we can evolve as these conversations and movements evolve.

In general, I think publishing has been in the eye of multiple hurricanes that were already swirling by the time COVID-19 touched down. Throw a pandemic in the mix and people’s senses became heightened to so much happening around us and how rapidly things were changing. I often feel this is where the UP community shines. UPs are accustomed to being underdogs and to the uncertain times.

I think many UPs, like Northwestern, are in the space of re-imaging and reinventing to charter the choppy waters of the bookselling markets, changing readership while coming face to face with several historical conversations built around equity, diversity, and inclusion that have long been concerns within publishing as a whole. I think we are striving to become more representative of the world, publishing voices and perspectives that have long been marginalized, and becoming more vigilant of how our missions and visions match up and of our responsibility to make good on both. 

I think we want to be proactive publishers, not just reactive in the heat of these and future moments. It’s not enough to be innovative and check boxes. It comes down to genuine curiosity, investment, and commitment to a wide range of voices and perspectives that have a say in how we move forward. 

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Our independent bookstores, before, during, and in the new age of pandemic, have been our true underdogs. We watch with heavy hearts as they just make it, and in some cases, are forced to close their doors. It is not lost on us how important they are. They are heroes without capes that work in these stores and are some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. They are readers, thinkers, and people who have a stake in their communities. We must do what we can to support them because they are an important pulse. We are looking at how we can use authors' events to serve as support for independents; directing our customers to the stores, in addition to talking more with bookstore owners directly about how we can support them. Nothing is normal anymore, so we have to be willing to have conversations with our allies and partners about how best we can work together so we both survive in any climate. I sincerely want to thank all our independent bookstores and libraries for giving so many communities great comfort in a book during such a weary time. 
What are you reading?

The Gull Next Door: Portrait of a Misunderstood Bird (Princeton University Press)

By Marianne Taylor

Marianne Taylor might give us a window into the misunderstood in all of us. 

Central Air: Poems (Northwestern University Press)

By Mike Puican

A debut from a writer, activist, and good human who has been doing this work, and loving Chicago, for a long time. 

Click here for titles from Northwestern UP!

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (West Virginia University Press)

By Deesha Philyaw

This nine story quilt of fiction is brilliant. 

How to Make a Slave and Other Essays (Ohio State University Press)

By Jerald Walker

This work pulls and breathes from its primary lifeline sources and personal experiences.

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Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side (University of Chicago Press)
By Eve Ewing

Ewing combines fine scholarship and urgent advocacy without compromising either. She offers an astute critique of the myopic, decontextualized, and self-fulfilling metrics of success which drive destructive decisions. An important book, heralding a fresh, compelling perspective—one that does not shy away from the personal in pursuit of rigor and insight. —Jeff

Politicians and pundits describe Chicago Public Schools with a mix of pity and contempt. But Ewing knows CPS from the inside: as a student, then a teacher, and now a scholar. And that perspective has shown her that public schools are an integral part of their neighborhoods, at the heart of their communities, storehouses of history and memory that bring people together. In the wake of Rahm Emanuel's 2013 school closings, Ewing reveals that the issue of school closings is about much more than schools. Black communities see the closing of their schools as one more in a long line of racist policies. The fight to keep them open is yet another front in the ongoing struggle of black people in America to build successful lives and achieve true self-determination.

The Restless Clock
(University of Chicago Press)
By Jessica Riskin

Real Presences (University of Chicago Press)
By George Steiner

The premise of this book is that all artistic creation implies the absence or presence of “a rival maker,” from Beckett and Cage to Monet and Mozart. It is a 20th-century updating of Pascal’s wager. The book is also a retort to the literary theories of Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man and its ideas today might be unpopular to the prevalent post-modern culture. —Fred

Can there be major dimensions of a poem, a painting, a musical composition created in the absence of God? Or, is God always a real presence in the arts? Steiner passionately argues that a transcendent reality grounds all genuine art and human communication.

A Power Stronger Than Itself 
(University of Chicago Press)
By George E. Lewis


Selected Poems of Victor Hugo
(University of Chicago Press)
By Victor Hugo

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University of Chicago Press

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University of Nebraska Press / University of Texas Press

How to Suppress Women's Writing
(University of Texas Press)
By Joanna Russ

Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press)
By Safiya Sinclair

Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair's Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.



Country Music U.S.A.
(University of Texas Press)
By Bill C. Malone and Tracey E. W. Laird

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas Press)
By Hanif Abdurraqib

This is definitely necessary reading for any fan of A Tribe Called Quest. This is better than a biography. It is placing the group within their rightful context in hip hop and music history, and putting the weight of their legacy into words unlike I have ever read in a book about a musician or artist. To me, there are few better feelings than connecting with someone over loving a musician or album or song to the same deep extent, and I felt that sense of meaningful empathy for almost the entire time I read this book. It will make you listen to Tribe's discography front to back all over again, just so you can view the group through Abdurraqib's eyes and find the overlap between your experience and his. —Joe

Accountability across Borders: Migrant Rights in North America 
(University of Texas Press)
Ed. by Xóchitl Bada and Shannon Gleeson

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Elizabeth Bishop at Work (Harvard University Press)
By Eleanor Cook

In this exacting work, Cook succeeds at the delicate task of showing us how Bishop crafts her densely detailed, precise, patterned worlds. Close readers of poetry, and not just Bishop fans, will learn an immense amount about the craft from Cook's careful readings. —Alena

In her lifetime Elizabeth Bishop was appreciated as a writer’s writer. But since her death in 1979 her reputation has grown. Critics and biographers now habitually praise Bishop’s mastery of her art, but all too often they have little to say about how her poetry does its sublime work—in the ear and in the mind’s eye. Elizabeth Bishop at Work examines Bishop’s art in detail. It is also a study of the poet working at something, challenging herself to try new things and to push boundaries. In showing how Bishop’s poems work, Cook suggests how we ourselves might become more attentive readers and better writers.


Make It Stick: The Science of Selective Learning
(Harvard University Press)
By Peter C. Brown, Mark A. McDaniel

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century 
(Harvard University Press)
By Greil Marcus

Such a list cannot exist without reference to this paradigm-shaking piece of rock-and-scholarship that is equal parts becoming bravado and a bottomless well of reference, inference, and allusion. There could be a whole book of footnotes for every page, multimedia art installations sourced only from its sources. You haven't really felt the force of 20th-century popular music until you've read it, and the reading and rereading is, in turn, a project to last a lifetime. —Alex

One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal
(Harvard University Press)
By Alice Domurat Dreger

Selected Ghazals and Other Poems 
(Harvard University Press)
By Mir Taqi Mir


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Harvard University Press

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Pittsburgh / Hawaii / Temple University Press

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Temple University Press)
By George Lipsitz

George Lipsitz’s classic book The Possessive Investment in Whiteness argues that public policy and private prejudice work together to create a possessive investment in whiteness that is responsible for the racialized hierarchies of our society. White Americans are encouraged to invest in whiteness, to remain true to an identity that provides them with structured advantages. In this twentieth-anniversary edition, Lipsitz provides a new introduction and updated statistics, as well as analyses of the enduring importance of recent events such as the legacy of Obama and the emergence of Trump. As vital as it was upon its original publication, the twentieth-anniversary edition of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness is an unflinching but necessary look at white supremacy. 

Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press)
By Nate Marshall

Marshall's debut collection heralded a singular talent whose work will be read for generations to come. Marshall's formal brilliance and pure musicality, combined with his candor and insight elevate this powerful collection. —Jeff

Wild Hundreds is a long love song to Chicago. The book celebrates the people, culture, and places often left out of the civic discourse and the travel guides. Wild Hundreds is a book that displays the beauty of Black survival and mourns the tragedy of Black death.



We, the Navigators: The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific (University of Hawaii Press)
By David Lewis, ed. by Sir Derek Oulton

This new edition includes a discussion of theories about traditional methods of navigation developed during recent decades, the story of the renaissance of star navigation throughout the Pacific, and material about navigation systems in Indonesia, Siberia, and the Indian Ocean.

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Cambridge University Press

Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (Cambridge University Press)
Ed. by Paul Hayes Tucker

This little book is full of all the art historian bells and whistles to satisfy me––inventive prose, scandalous historical background, and transformative analysis of a truly breathtaking painting. Rather than reeking of art historian jargon, this book is unpretentious, with a half a dozen short essays and beautiful reproductions to boot! ––Veronica

Edouard Manet's controversial painting Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe is one of the best known images in French art. The subject of critical analysis for more than a century, it still defies singular interpretations. These essays, written specially for this volume by the leading scholars of French modern art, therefore offer six different readings of the painting, incorporating close examinations of its radical style and novel subject, relevant historical developments and archival material, as well as biographical evidence that prompts psychological inquiries. 


The Discarded Image (Cambridge University Press)
By C. S. Lewis

Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory (Cambridge University Press)
By Moishe Postone

Political movements have begun to engage once again with the critique of capital. This is the most rigorous interrogation of the category available.       ––Mark 

In this ambitious book, Moishe Postone undertakes a fundamental reinterpretation of Marx's mature critical theory. He calls into question many of the presuppositions of traditional Marxist analyses, engages the critical theory of Lukács and the Frankfurt School, and offers new interpretations of Marx's central arguments. According to Postone, Marx identifies the core of the capitalist system not simply with market mechanisms and private property, but rather with an impersonal form of social domination generated by labor itself. Within this framework, he grasps the form of economic growth and the structure of social labor in modern society as expressions of the alienated historical dynamic at the heart of capitalism. Postone thereby provides the foundation for a critical social theory that could be adequate to the contemporary world.

Samuel Beckett's Library (Cambridge University Press)
By Dirk Van Hulle and Mark Nixon

What Is Life? (Cambridge University Press)
By Erwin Schrödinger

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Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane (Wesleyan University Press)
By Franya J. Berkman

There hasn't been much written on Alice Coltrane. I would go so far as to say that this 160-page biographical text is the largest offering of its kind. It is maybe the only. As one would expect, the book occupies a small portion of a much larger offering of texts on her late husband, John Coltrane. However, I do not believe she would be concerned about the material place of things––more so the immaterial space of things. This book chronicles Alice Coltrane's journey through experimental jazz and Eastern spirituality, and how it became her offering of oneness. To encounter her work is to encounter radical intuition and revelation. This book is a result of that encounter. ––Devin

The Book of Questions, Volume I
(Wesleyan University Press)
By Edmond Jabès

The Donigers of Great Neck: A Mythologized Memoir (Brandeis University Press)
By Wendy Doniger

Poignant, wry, kind hearted, and honest, Doniger's most personal book is an absolute delight.  ––Jeff

“Many memories, many myths”—this is how Wendy Doniger begins the story of her parents’ origins in Europe and sharply bifurcated life in America. Recalling their contrasting attitudes toward Judaism and religion in general—and acknowledging the mythologized narratives that keep bubbling up in those recollections—Doniger tells the story of their childhoods, their unusual marriage, their life in the post-World War II Jewish enclave of Great Neck, New York, and her own complex relationship with each of them.

Heliopause (Wesleyan University Press)
By Heather Christle

Brandeis / Wesleyan / University of California Press

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Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel
(University of California Press)
By Luo Guanzhong


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Duke University Press

Nature as Event: The Lure of the Possible
(Duke University Press)
By Didier Debaise

Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugativity (Duke University Press)
By Alexis Pauline Gumbs

This work is an absolute masterpiece. With words pulled from Hortense Spillers's Black, White, and In Color, Spill serves as an exercise in constraint and a testament to the truly additive and generative power of literature and theory. Gumbs has accomplished quite the feat, operating within the bounds of and engaging in conversation with the work of Saidiya Hartman in addition to that of Spillers by centering previously overlooked stories of Black women. A collection of poetry that demonstrates a remarkable grasp of storytelling and envisions a future in which Black women are not constrained by the limitations of institutional and societal misogynoir. Gumbs offers an entirely new framework for engaging with Black feminist thought and theory in an experimental form that marries poetry and prose, literature and theory––she is writing with and alongside the figures she evokes, rather than about them. There is a rhythm and musicality to the work that makes it ever the more impressive, a richness and body to the words that has a profound effect on the reader. I continue to be struck by it months after reading. —Meghana


Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke University Press)
By Mel Y. Chen

In Animacies, Mel Y. Chen uses a linguistic feature—animacy—as a way of thinking about affect and sociolinguistic expressions of race, sexuality, and disability. Animacies awoke in me a lot of interest in that ever-wavering boundary between humanness and the nonhuman. It is impressive how many seemingly disparate instances are examined: one chapter, “Queer Animality,” discusses the figure of Fu Manchu in some depth, whereas another, “Lead’s Racial Matters,” explores the United States’s 2007 “lead panic” over potentially toxic toys of Chinese manufacture. For those interested in materiality and biopolitics, this will be an intriguing read, even nearly a decade out from its initial publication.   —Michelle

Depression: A Public Feeling (Duke University Press)
By Ann Cvetkovich

Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging
(Duke University Press)
By Min-Ha T. Pham

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Now that the audience is assembled (Duke University Press)
By David Grubbs

David Grubbs stands for all the texts which offered to me a new understanding of what writing could mean. I am still stunned by how Now that the audience is assembled changed my understanding of what words can do and summon, in the same way as I am still hypnotized by the power of Chris Kraus's writing project with I Love Dick. David Grubbs also performed at the Co-op, which was one of the most beautiful memories of the year for me. As other artists have opened my mind about the art of looking, Grubbs really opened my mind to the art of listening. —Stéphanie

Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent
(Duke University Press)
By Richard Bruce Nugent

Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism (Duke University Press)
By Iyko Day

Iyko Day's book is a dense, richly detailed investigation of the ways in which racialized, abstract Asian labor intersect with the logics of settler colonialism. The archive of cultural texts she draws upon as objects of critique, along with her expansion upon the idea of "romantic anticapitalism" make this book a necessary and unique analysis of Asian North America through a distinctly Marxist lens. —Mrittika

Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press)
By Gayatri Gopinath

The Voice in the Headphones
(Duke University Press)
By David Grubbs

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Duke University Press


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Fordham / NYU / Syracuse University Press

Ecstatic Confessions: The Heart of Mysticism (Syracuse University Press)
By Martin Buber

Buber compiles first-hand testimonies of what he descirbes as the "most inward of all experiences...what the Greeks call ek-stasis, a stepping out." This volume stands as a profound answer to Beckett's lament: ''What we know partakes in no small measure of the nature of what has so happily been called the unutterable or ineffable, so that any attempt to utter or eff it is doomed to fail, doomed, doomed to fail.''  —Jeff


White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logics of Genocide (Fordham University Press)
By Dylan Rodríguez

Rodríguez's forthcoming book expertly analyzes the matrix of violence which has structured and undergirded historical formations of white supremacy leading up to the contemporary "multiculturalist" moment. White Reconstruction boldly challenges us in unexpected ways, offering astute critiques of the narratives we use to describe injustice altogether, from false promises of reform to liberal humanist notions of "fairness." Rodríguez's interdisciplinary (or counter-disciplinary) archive brings forth salient moments of analysis that will appeal to historians and theorists alike. Alongside these critiques, Rodríguez also allows ample room for considering the "insurgent collective genius levied within and against the Civilizational experiment." In sum, this book is a thorough, creative, striking examination of the insidious durability of whiteness, and finishes with a consideration of how to engage in abolitionist praxis in light of it.  —Mrittika

The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (New York University Press)
Ed. by Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery

The Sun Never Sets collects the work of a generation of scholars who are enacting a shift in the orientation of the field of South Asian American studies. By focusing upon the lives, work, and activism of specific, often unacknowledged, migrant populations, the contributors present a more comprehensive vision of the South Asian presence in the United States. Tracking the changes in global power that have influenced the paths and experiences of migrants, these essays reveal how the South Asian diaspora has been shaped by the contours of U.S. imperialism. Driven by a shared sense of responsibility among the contributing scholars to alter the profile of South Asian migrants in the American public imagination, they address the key issues that impact these migrants in the U.S., on the subcontinent, and in circuits of the transnational economy. Taken together, these essays provide tools with which to understand the contemporary political and economic conjuncture and the place of South Asian migrants within it.

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Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (University of North Carolina Press)
By Tanisha C. Ford

University of North Carolina Press / Louisiana State University Press

God's Loud Hand (Louisiana State University Press)
By Kelly Cherry

"Love—the sung word flung into the world by God's loud hand." —Jeff

In the poems of God’s Loud Hand, Kelly Cherry conducts—often not at all devotionally, often with an honesty that precludes the emphasis on self that tends to be present in devotional poetry—a metaphorical investigation of theological ideas. These are fiercely intellectual poems, which are more akin in their stringent analysis to Tillich or Niebuhr, perhaps, than to someone like Simone Weil. At their base in a willingness to ask Abraham’s great question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth judge wisely?” This intellectual boldness reveals itself in a formal argumentation rare in contemporary poetry. The result of such exactitude is a kind of clarity that seems to lift the poems off the page.

Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture (University of North Carolina Press)
By Grace Elizabeth Hale

In the summer of 1978, the B-52's conquered the New York underground. A year later, the band's self-titled debut album burst onto the Billboard charts, capturing the imagination of fans and music critics worldwide. The fact that the group had formed in the sleepy southern college town of Athens, Georgia, only increased the fascination. Soon, more Athens bands followed the B-52's into the vanguard of the new American music that would come to be known as "alternative." Cool Town reveals the passion, vitality, and enduring significance of a bohemian scene that became a model for others to follow. Blending personal recollection with a historian's eye, Grace Elizabeth Hale reconstructs the networks of bands, artists, and friends that drew on the things at hand to make a new art of the possible, transforming American culture along the way. In a story full of music and brimming with hope, Hale shows how an unlikely cast of characters in an unlikely place made a surprising and beautiful new world.

Incarcerated Stories: Indigenous Women Migrants and Violence in the Settler-Capitalist State (University of North Carolina Press)
By Shannon Speed

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Princeton University Press

Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (Princeton University Press)
By Caroline Levine

Caroline Levine’s smart and wonderfully negotiated book Forms: Whole Rhythms, Hierarchy, Network gives a gleaming and physically thrilling argument for a certain type of historicism, one that considers form and its persistence across time and space. —Clancey

Forms offers an answer to a major problem facing literary, critical, and cultural studies today: how to connect form to political, social, and historical context. Caroline Levine argues that forms organize not only works of art but also political life. Multiple shapes, patterns, and arrangements generate complex and unpredictable social landscapes that challenge and unsettle conventional analytic models. Borrowing the concept of “affordances” from design theory, this book investigates the specific ways that four major forms have structured culture, politics, and scholarly knowledge across periods, and it proposes ways of linking formalism to historicism and literature to politics. The result is a radically new way of thinking about form for the next generation.

The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages (Princeton University Press)
By François-Xavier Fauvelle

From the birth of Islam in the seventh century to the voyages of European exploration in the fifteenth, Africa was at the center of a vibrant exchange of goods and ideas. The Golden Rhinoceros brings this unsung era marvelously to life, taking readers from the Sahara and the Nile River Valley to the Ethiopian highlands and southern Africa. Drawing on fragmented written sources and his many years of experience as an archaeologist, François-Xavier Fauvelle reconstructs an African past that is too often denied its place in history. The Golden Rhinoceros also provides a window into the historian’s craft. Fauvelle pieces together the written and archaeological evidence to tell an unforgettable story that is at once sensitive to Africa’s rich social diversity and alert to the trajectories that connected Africa with the wider Muslim and Christian worlds.

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This Land Is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth (Princeton University Press)
By Jedediah Purdy

Today, we are at a turning point as we face ecological and political crises that are rooted in conflicts over the land itself. But these problems can be solved if we draw on elements of our tradition that move us toward a new commonwealth—a community founded on the well-being of all people and the natural world. In this brief, powerful, timely, and hopeful book, Jedediah Purdy, one of our finest writers and leading environmental thinkers, explores how we might begin to heal our fractured and contentious relationship with the land and with each other. This may seem idealistic in our polarized time, but we are at a historical fork in the road, and if we do not make efforts now to move toward a commonwealth, Purdy warns, environmental and political pressures will create harsher and crueler conflicts—between citizens, between countries, and between humans and the rest of the world. 

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The Lives of the Novel: A History (Princeton University Press)
By Thomas G. Pavel

Downward Mobility: The Form of Capital and the Sentimental Novel (Johns Hopkins University Press)
By Katherine Binhammer

Binhammer's is a compelling analysis of the ways in which finance capitalism and the history of the novel are tightly intertwined. Rather than examining tales of upward mobility—common enough in the 18th-century sentimental novels she studies—Binhammer looks instead at stories of loss, debt, and ruin. With a focus on the structures of abstraction essential to both capital and the novel, she encourages us to question how our own present cultural narratives bind us to the myth of infinite economic growth. —Alena

Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum (Johns Hopkins University Press)
By Kathryn Hughes

In Victorians Undone, renowned British historian Kathryn Hughes follows five iconic figures of the nineteenth century as they encounter the world not through their imaginations or intellects but through their bodies. Using the vivid language of admiring glances, cruel sniggers, and implacably turned backs, Hughes crafts a narrative of cinematic quality by combining a series of truly eye-opening and deeply intelligent accounts of life in Victorian England. While "bio-graphy" parses as "the writing of a life," the genre itself has often seemed willfully indifferent to the vital signs of that life—to breath, movement, touch, and taste. Nowhere is this truer than when writing about the Victorians, who often figure in their own life stories as curiously disembodied. In lively, accessible prose, Victorians Undone fills the space where the body ought to be, proposing new ways of thinking and writing about flesh in the nineteenth century.

Princeton University Press / Johns Hopkins University Press

How to Think Like an Anthropologist (Princeton University Press)
By Matthew Engelke

Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press)
By Cheryl Finley

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Northwestern University Press / Indiana University Press

Riddley Walker (Indiana University Press)
By Russell Hoban

Riddley Walker is a brilliant, unique, completely realized work of fiction. One reads it again and again, discovering new wonders every time through. It is set in a remote future in a post-nuclear holocaust England (Inland), where Hoban has imagined a humanity regressed to an iron-age, semi-literate state—and invented a language to represent it. Riddley is at once the Huck Finn and the Stephen Dedalus of his culture—rebel, change agent, and artist. Read again or for the first time this masterpiece of 20th-century literature with new material by the author. 


It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time (Northwestern University Press)
By Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson is a national treasure and one of our finest living poets.  —Jeff

Angela Jackson’s latest collection of poetry borrows its title from a lyric in Barbara Lewis’s 1963 hit single “Hello Stranger." Like the song, Jackson’s poems are a melodic ode to the African American experience, informed by both individual lives and community history, from the arrival of the first African slave in Virginia in 1619 to post-Obama America. It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time reflects the maturity of Jackson’s poetic vision. The Great Migration, the American South, and Chicago all serve as signposts, but it is the complexity of individual lives—both her own and those who have gone before, walk beside, and come after—that invigorates this collection. Upon surveying so vast a landscape, Jackson finds that sorrow meets delight, and joy lifts up anger and despair. And for all this time, love is the agent, the wise and just rule and guide.

Feminist Experiences: Foucauldian and Phenomenological Investigations (Northwestern University Press)
By Johanna Oksala

South Side Venus: The Legacy of Margaret Burroughs (Northwestern University Press)
By Mary Ann Cain

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Experience and Philosophy: A Personal Record of Transformation and a Discussion of Transcended Consciousness
(SUNY Press)
By Franklin Merrell-Wolff

Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (The University of Arkansas Press)
By Forugh Farrokhzad, ed. and trans. by Sholeh Wolpé

Sin includes the entirety of Farrokhzad’s last book, numerous selections from her fourth and most enduring book, Reborn, and selections from her earlier work, and creates a collection that is true to the meaning, the intention, and the music of the original poems. 

The Rabbits Could Sing (University of Alaska Press)
By Amber Flora Thomas

Thomas is one of our most underappreciated poets. Her second collection, containing poems of great beauty and raw honesty, is masterful. —Jeff

The poems included in The Rabbits Could Sing delve farther into territory that Amber Flora Thomas visited in her prize-winning book Eye of Water, showing even more clearly how “the seam has been pulled so far open on the past” that “the dress will never close.” Here, the poem acts not as a body in itself but as a garb drawn around the here and now. Loss, longing, and violation are sustenance to a spirit jarred from its animal flesh and torn apart, unsettling the reader with surprising images that are difficult to forget. The poems in The Rabbits Could Sing invite the reader into a world thick with the lush bounty of summer in the Far North, where the present is never far from the shadow of the past. 

Neoliberalism's Demons: On the Political Theory of Late Capital (Stanford University Press)
By Adam Kotsko

Alaska / Arkansas / SUNY / Stanford University Press

The Complete Essays of Montaigne
(Stanford University Press)
By Michel de Montaigne

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No More Nice Girls (University of Minnesota Press)
By Ellen Willis

With characteristic intelligence, wit, and feminist insight, Ellen Willis addresses democracy as she sees it: "A commitment to individual freedom and egalitarian self-government in every area of social, economic, and cultural life." Moving between scholarly and down-to-earth activist writing styles, Willis confronts the conservative backlash that has slowly eroded democratic ideals and advances of the 1960s as well as the internal debates that have frequently splintered the left.

Literary Theory: An Introduction
(University of Minnesota Press)
ByTerry Eagleton

The Chinese Typewriter (The MIT Press)
By Thomas S. Mullaney

An absolutely amazing technological history of its subject both as an engineering problem and repository of ideas about language and writing: the Chinese typewriter first existed as a hypothetical demonstrating Western ignorance; in the mid-20th century its state-manufactured iteration was anticipating predictive text algorithms. —Nik

Chinese writing is character based, the one major world script that is neither alphabetic nor syllabic. Through the years, the Chinese written language encountered presumed alphabetic universalism in the form of Morse Code, Braille, stenography, Linotype, punch cards, word processing, and other systems developed with the Latin alphabet in mind. This book is about those encounters—in particular thousands of Chinese characters versus the typewriter and its QWERTY keyboard. Thomas Mullaney describes a fascinating series of experiments, prototypes, failures, and successes in the century-long quest for a workable Chinese typewriter.

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
(University of Minnesota Press)
By C. Riley Snorton

MIT Press / University of Minnesota Press

Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination
(University of Minnesota Press)
By Avery F. Gordon

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Columbia / Iowa / Oxford / University of Michigan Press

Novel Sounds: Southern Fiction in the Age of Rock and Roll (Columbia University Press)
By Florence Dore


Hypatia: The Life and Legend of an Ancient Philosopher
(Oxford University Press)
By Edward J. Watts

James Joyce (Oxford University Press)
By Richard Ellmann

Ellmann writes in sparkling, energized prose about James Joyce's life and mind. This is a fantastic biography and an incredible resource for those who study or want to study the texts of James Joyce; an understanding of Joyce's background and his politics will enrich an understanding of and the appreciation of his literary works. —Annie

Richard Ellmann has revised and expanded his definitive work on Joyce's life to include newly discovered primary material, including details of a failed love affair, a limerick about Samuel Beckett, a dream notebook, previously unknown letters, and much more. 

Play Time: Jacques Tati and Comedic Modernism (Columbia University Press)
By Malcolm Turvey

Oroonoko and Other Writings
(Oxford University Press)
By Aphra Behn

Song of Myself (University of Iowa Press)
By Walt Whitman

Poetics of Relation
(University of Michigan Press)
By Edouard Glissant

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Irrational Judgments: Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, and 1960s New York (Yale University Press)
By Kirsten Swenson

Irrational Judgments examines the close friendship and significant exchange of ideas between Eva Hesse (1936–1970) and Sol LeWitt (1928–2007) in New York City during the 1960s. This book examines the breakthroughs of the artists’ intertwined careers, offering a new understanding of minimal, post-minimal, and conceptual art amid the era’s political and social upheavals. Bringing together a wealth of documents, interviews, and images—many published here for the first time—this publication presents an insightful account of the artists’ influence on and support for each other’s pursuit of an experimental practice. Swenson’s analysis expands our understanding of the artists’ ideas, the importance of their work, and, more broadly, the relationship of the 1960s New York art world to gender politics, the Vietnam War, and the city itself.

Why I Am Not a Buddhist
(Yale University Press)
By Evan Thompson

Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power (Yale University Press)
By Pekka Hämäläinen

This first complete account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty-first century. Pekka Hämäläinen explores the Lakotas’ roots as marginal hunter-gatherers and reveals how they reinvented themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America’s great commercial artery, and then—in what was America’s first sweeping westward expansion—as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains. Hämäläinen’s deeply researched and engagingly written history places the Lakotas at the center of American history, and the results are revelatory. 

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs
(Yale University Press)
By Greil Marcus

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Sarah Charlesworth: Stills
(Yale University Press)
By Matthew S. Witkovsky

Yale University Press


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Gentrifier (University of Toronto Press)
By John Joe Schlichtman, Jason Patch, and Marc Lamont Hill

Gentrifier opens up a new conversation about gentrification that goes beyond the statistics and the clichés and examines different sides of a controversial, deeply personal issue. In this book, John Joe Schlichtman, Jason Patch, and Marc Lamont Hill look at the socioeconomic factors and individual decisions behind gentrification and their implications for the displacement of low-income residents. The authors present interviews, case studies, and analysis in the context of recent scholarship in such areas as urban sociology, geography, planning, and public policy. As well, they share accounts of their first-hand experience as academics, parents, and spouses living in New York City, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Providence. With unique insight and rare candor, Gentrifier challenges readers' current understandings of gentrification and their own roles within their neighborhoods. A foreword by Peter Marcuse opens the volume.


Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design (New York University Press)
By Bess Williamson

Disability advocates fought tirelessly to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities became a standard part of public design thinking. That fight took many forms worldwide, but in the United States it became a civil rights issue. In the aftermath of World War II, the needs of people with disabilities came forcibly into the public eye as they never had before. The U.S. became the first country to enact federal accessibility laws, bringing about a rethinking of our built environment. This progression wasn’t straightforward or easy. Early legislation and design efforts were often haphazard or poorly implemented. Political resistance was strong; so, too, was resistance among architectural and industrial designers. Bess Williamson provides a look at everyday design to provide an insight into a world in which we are all active participants, but often passive onlookers. Richly detailed, with stories of politics and innovation, Williamson’s Accessible America takes us through this important history, showing how American ideas of individualism and rights came to shape the material world, often with unexpected consequences.

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The Spirit vs. the Souls: Max Weber, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Politics of Scholarship (Notre Dame University Press)
By Christopher A. McAuley

The Spirit vs. the Souls: Max Weber, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Politics of Scholarship examines the ideas that Weber and Du Bois shared on topics such as sociological investigation, race, empire, unfree labor, capitalism, and socialism. What emerges from this examination is that their ideas on these matters clashed far more than they converged, contrary to the tone of their letters and to the interpretations of the few scholars who have commented on the correspondence between Weber and Du Bois. Christopher McAuley provides close readings of key texts by the two scholars to demonstrate their different views on a number of issues, including the economic benefits of unfree labor in capitalism. The book addresses the distinctly different treatment of the two figures' political sympathies in past scholarship. McAuley argues for the acknowledgment and demarginalization of Du Bois's contributions to the scholarly world that academics have generally accorded to Weber. This book will interest students and scholars of Black studies, history, and sociology for whom Du Bois and Weber are central figures.

Notables 2

I'll Be Your Mirror: Essays & Aphorisms (University of Nebraska Press)
By David Lazar

In his third book of essays, David Lazar blends personal meditations on sex and death with considerations of popular music and coping with anxiety through singing, bowling, and other distractions. He sets his work apart as both in the essay and of the essay by throwing himself into the form’s past—interviewing or speaking to past masters and turning over rocks to find lost gems of the essay form. I’ll Be Your Mirror further expands the dimensions of contemporary nonfiction writing by concluding with a series of aphorisms. Surreal, comical, and urbane moments of being, they are part Cioran, part Kafka, and part Lenny Bruce. These are accompanied by Heather Frise’s illustrations, whose looking-glass visions of motherhood—funny and grotesque—meet the vision of the aphorist in this most unusual nonfiction book.

How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (University of California Press)
By Laura Briggs

Today all politics are reproductive politics, argues esteemed feminist critic Laura Briggs. From longer work hours to the election of Donald Trump, our current political crisis is above all about reproduction. Households are where we face our economic realities as social safety nets get cut and wages decline. Briggs brilliantly outlines how politicians’ racist accounts of reproduction—stories of Black “welfare queens” and Latina “breeding machines"—were the leading wedge in the government and business disinvestment in families. With decreasing wages, rising McJobs, and no resources for family care, our households have grown ever more precarious over the past forty years in sharply race- and class-stratified ways. This crisis, argues Briggs, fuels all others—from immigration to gay marriage, anti-feminism to the rise of the Tea Party.


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