In Unthinking Mastery Julietta Singh challenges a core, fraught dimension of geopolitical, cultural, and scholarly endeavor: the drive toward mastery over the self and others. Drawing on postcolonial theory, queer theory, new materialism, and animal studies, Singh traces how pervasive the concept of mastery has been to modern politics and anticolonial movements. She juxtaposes destructive uses of mastery, such as the colonial domination of bodies, against more laudable forms, such as intellectual and linguistic mastery, to underscore how the concept—regardless of its use—is rooted in histories of violence and the wielding of power. For anticolonial thinkers like Fanon and Gandhi, forms of bodily mastery were considered to be the key to a decolonial future. Yet as Singh demonstrates, their advocacy for mastery unintentionally reinforced colonial logics. In readings of postcolonial literature by J. M. Coetzee, Mahasweta Devi, Indra Sinha, and Jamaica Kincaid, Singh suggests that only by moving beyond the compulsive desire to become masterful human subjects can we disentangle ourselves from the legacies of violence and fantasies of invulnerability that lead us to hurt other humans, animals, and the environment.
En Crónicas travestis Mariela Méndez ilumina las ingeniosas y calculadas estrategias “travestidas” desplegadas en el periodismo y la actividad cultural de Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) y María Moreno (1947) para poner al descubierto, desenredar y desafiar las normas de género sexual vigentes en sus épocas. Aunque las tres son también conocidas por su producción literaria en otros géneros–y en los casos de Storni y Lispector, aún más reconocidas en ellos que por su labor periodística-Méndez demuestra cómo la faceta pública del periodismo, su carácter performativo, y su intrincada relación con el campo cultural más amplio revelan las negociaciones necesarias para que una mujer imaginara y confeccionara una identidad propia como escritora. Aunque el papel del periodismo literario en la compleja relación de las mujeres en un campo cultural empapado de restricciones de género sexual ya se había señalado, Méndez forma parte de una nueva generación de investigadores que profundizan nuestro entendimiento con el rigor conceptual que requiere el trabajo de un extenso e intensivo rescate archivístico. En Crónicas travestis, libro imprescindible en esta nueva tendencia crítica sobre la labor periodística y cultural de mujeres en Latinoamérica, el aporte original de Méndez no se limita a su impresionante entretejido de perspicacias analíticas, hilos teóricos, contextos históricos, y un productivo diálogo con la crítica existente, todo expresado con un estilo accesible y acogedor. Este libro se destaca aún más en la insuperable investigación de Méndez sobre los órganos periodísticos en sí: los editores, los patrocinadores publicitarios, y los públicos lectores tanto reales como imaginados. Esta esmerada labor investigadora incluye un extenso trabajo de archivo además de investigaciones sobre la historia cultural pertinente y los destacados movimientos de mujeres en cada época. El abundante pero siempre eficaz material contextual enriquece y agudiza la siempre lúcida y persuasiva voz crítica de Méndez en un libro que resalta las intrincadas negociaciones de tres consumadas mujeres intelectuales para superar las pautas de la escritura y de los medios periodísticos que pretendían recetar su participación en las dinámicas conversaciones culturales de su momento.
-Composed by Vicky Unruh, Professor Emerita, University of Kansas.
Mari Lee Mifsud
Rhetoric and the Gift, taking as its starting point the Homeric idea of the gift and Aristotle’s related rhetorical theory, explores rhetoric not only at the level of the artful response but at the level of the call and response. Mari Lee Mifsud takes up a number of questions crucial to thinking about contemporary communication: What does it mean that communication is a system of exchange with others? How are we to deal with questions of ethics in an economic system of power and authority? Can exchange ever be truly generous, and can communication, then, ever be free? Is there a more ethical way of relating and communicating, and might there be a different self-other relationship more conducive to a free people?
As a historian of ancient Greek rhetorical theory, Mifsud examines these questions of contemporary significance by turning first to Aristotle’s many citations of and references to Homer in order to discern the emergence of a system of exchange thought to be appropriate for a democratic polis. As she elucidates, the Homeric system of exchange — gift-giving — was used by Aristotle as a metaphor for rhetoric’s function, as he distinguished the gift as a system of exchange within the functioning of the polis, operating between individuals and society to bind people to people and cultures to cultures. These ancient ideas are shown to relate directly to our modern arguments concerning exception and exceptionalism as they play out in politics, law, and culture.
Such questions of exchange, thus, are shown to reverberate and continue to circulate through conversations in philosophy and communication, ranging across a great deal of recent study. Mifsud’s discussion of a variety of contemporary thinkers, together with her historical and theoretical approach, offers rich possibilities for new trajectories of relating the self and other, providing the critical, hermeneutical, and theoretical resources for thinking otherwise about rhetorical conceptions of relational ethics in communication, on both a personal and political level.
This book chronicles the history of movie censorship in Virginia from the 1920s to 1960s. At its most basic level, it analyzes the project of state film censorship in Virginia. It uses the contestations surrounding film censorship as a framework for more fully understanding the dominant political, economic, and cultural hierarchies that structured Virginia and much of the New South in the mid-twentieth century and ways in which citizens contested these prevailing structures. This study highlights the centrality of gendered and racialized discourses in the debates over the movies and the broader regulatory power of the state. It particularly emphasizes ways in which issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality framed debates over popular culture in the South. It ties the regulation of racial and sexual boundaries in other areas such as public facilities, schools, public transportation, the voting booth, and residential housing to ways in which censors regulated those same boundaries in popular culture.
This book shows how the same racialized and gendered social norms and legal codes that placed audience members in different theater spaces also informed ways in which what they viewed on-screen had been mediated by state officials. Ultimately, this study shows how Virginia’s officials attempted to use the project of film censorship as the cultural arm of regulation to further buttress the state’s political and economic hierarchies of the time period and the ways in various citizens and community groups supported and challenged these hierarchies across the censorship board’s forty-three-year history.
Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano
As the U.S. Latino population grows rapidly, and as the LGBTQ Latino community becomes more visible and a more crucial part of our literary and artistic heritage, there is an increasing demand for literature that successfully highlights these diverse lives. Edited by Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano, Ambientes is a revolutionary collection of fiction featuring stories by established authors as well as emerging voices that present a collective portrait of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience in America today. With a preface by Picano and an introduction by Lima that sets the stage for understanding Latino literary and cultural history, this is the first anthology to cross cultural and regional borders by offering a wide variety of urban, rural, East Coast, West Coast, and midwestern perspectives on Latina and Latino queers from different walks of life. Stories range from sensual pieces to comical romances and from inner- city dramas fueled by street language to portraits of gay domesticity, making this a much-needed collection for many different kinds of readers. The stories in this collection reflect a vibrant and creative community and redefine received notions of "gay" and "lesbian."
Does the black struggle for civil rights make common cause with the movement to foster queer community, protest anti-queer violence or discrimination, and demand respect for the rights and sensibilities of queer people? Confronting this emotionally charged question, Ladelle McWhorter reveals how a carefully structured campaign against abnormality in the late 19th and early 20th centuries encouraged white Americans to purge society of so-called biological contaminants, people who were poor, disabled, black, or queer. Building on a legacy of savage hate crimes—such as the killings of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd—McWhorter shows that racism, sexual oppression, and discrimination against the disabled, the feeble, and the poor are all aspects of the same societal distemper, and that when the civil rights of one group are challenged, so are the rights of all.
Ladelle McWhorter and Gail Stenstad
Some of the fundamental questions of our time are ecological - urgent environmental problems demand newly conceived solutions for the betterment and preservation of life on this planet. In this newly revised and greatly expanded edition of Heidegger and the Earth, the contributors approach contemporary ecological issues through the medium of Heidegger's thought.
Amid pressing concerns about wildlife and wilderness preservation, agricultural practices, and technological innovation, contributors discuss how thinking with Heidegger in the twenty-first century yields creative ideas about the natural world that are unconstrained by traditional theoretical frameworks. The conflicting viewpoints in some of the essays will inspire further conversation and debate among readers and break apart established thought patterns. Unconventional and provocative, Heidegger and the Earth urges us to set aside what we think we know in order to work through ecological problems and to discover new ways of living in the world.
The Latino Body tells the story of the United States Latino body politic and its relation to the state: how the state configures Latino subjects and how Latino subjects have in turn altered the state. Lázaro Lima charts the interrelated groups that define themselves as Latinos and examines how these groups have responded to calls for unity and nationally shared conceptions of American cultural identity. He contends that their responses, in times of cultural or political crisis, have given rise to profound cultural transformations, enabling the so-called “Latino subject“ to emerge.
Analyzing a variety of cultural, literary, artistic, and popular texts from the nineteenth century to the present, Lima dissects the ways in which the Latino body has been imagined, dismembered, and reimagined anew, providing one of the first comprehensive accounts of the construction of Latino cultural identity in the United States.
Sexual identities are dangerous, Michel Foucault tells us. Categories of desire harden into stereotypes by which the forces of normalization hold us and judge us. In Bodies and Pleasures, Ladelle McWhorter reads Foucault from an original and personal angle, motivated by the differences this experience has made in her life. At the same time, her analysis advances discussion of key issues in Foucault scholarship: the genealogical critique, the status of the subject and humanism, essentialism versus social construction, and the relationships between identity, community, and political action. Weaving her own experience of coming to grips with her lesbian sexual identity into her readings of Foucault's most recent writings on sexuality and power, McWhorter argues compellingly that Foucault's texts should be read less for the arguments they advance and more for their transformative effect. By exploring bodies and pleasures—gardening, line dancing, or doing philosophy, for example—McWhorter shows that it isn't necessary to conform with socially recognized sexual identities. Bodies and Pleasures takes the reader beyond unexplored norms and imposed identities as it points the way toward a personal politics, ethics, and style that challenges our sexual selves.
Jennifer W. Nourse
For most of the Lauje' of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, birth spirits are of primary importance. The spirits inhabit a mother's birth fluids and placenta, nurturing fetuses in the womb and children after birth---or bringing sickness and death if rituals are neglected.
Jennifer Nourse describes how Lauje' from both modernized coastal and isolated highland villages attribute to birth spirits competing meanings that hinge on an individual's gender, social class, and religion. At the beginning of her fieldwork, Nourse collaborated with two Lauje' men whose concepts of birth spirits as divided into good and bad, male and female, or local and foreign categories seemed to prevail in their respective villages. But after both men died, Nourse came to understand that some individuals, most often commoners or female spirit mediums, disagreed with these dualistic views of birth spirits, preferring to focus on the mystery and potency of the spirit world as a whole.
Though each essayist presents his or her thinking as it has arisen out of the texts of Martin Heidegger, as this brief overview surely makes clear, the thoughts a reader will encounter here are diverse and perhaps at points conflicting. However, the essayists' differences in many cases actually grow out of a common sense, namely, a sense of urgency born of the knowledge that for many regions of the earth and for many of the beings within them time is running out. The book itself, including its conflicting assertions, is the embodiment of a kind of anxiety and a kind of care. This book is a beginning, an opening, an attempt, and we hope, in the best Nietzschean sense of the word, a temptation for further thought.
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