Here is a sample of books published within the last five years by UCSB faculty, which demonstrate interdisciplinary breadth and interests.
STEPHANIE LEIGH BATISTE
Darkening Mirrors: Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance
In Darkening Mirrors, Stephanie Leigh Batiste examines how African Americans participated in U.S. cultural imperialism in Depression-era stage and screen performances. A population treated as second-class citizens at home imagined themselves as empowered, modern U.S. citizens and transnational actors in plays, operas, ballets, and films. Boldly addressing the contradictions in these performances, Batiste challenges the simplistic notion that the oppressed cannot identify with oppressive modes of power and enact themselves as empowered subjects. Darkening Mirrors adds nuance and depth to the history of African American subject formation and stage and screen performance.
Additional information: Duke University Press
Stuff Theory: Everyday Objects, Radical Materialism
Stuff Theory traces a genealogy of materiality: flashpoints of one kind of minor matter in a succession of cultural moments. It asserts that in culture, stuff becomes a rallying point for a new critique of capital, which always works to reassign stuff to a subaltern position. Stuff is not merely unruly: it becomes the terrain on which a new relation between people and matter might be built.
Additional information: Bloomsbury Publishing
CYNTHIA J. BROWN
The Queen's Library: Image-making at the Court of Anne of Brittany, 1477-1514
In this work Professor Cynthia J. Brown examines key cultural issues surrounding female modes of empowerment and book production in the court culture of late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century France. What, her study asks, do the physical characteristics of the books acquired by elite women in the late medieval and early modern periods tell us about their owners, and what in particular can their illustrations—especially their illustrations of women—reveal?
Additional information: University of Pennsylvania Press
JULIE A. CARLSON and ELISABETH WEBER (EDS.)
Speaking About Torture
This collection of essays is the first book to take up the urgent issue of torture from the array of approaches offered by the arts and humanities. In the post-9/11 era, where we are once again compelled to entertain debates about the legality of torture, this volume speaks about the practice in an effort to challenge the surprisingly widespread acceptance of state-sanctioned torture among Americans, including academics and the media–entertainment complex. Speaking about Torture also claims that the concepts and techniques practiced in the humanities have a special contribution to make to this debate, going beyond what is usually deemed a matter of policy for experts in government and the social sciences.
Written by scholars in literary analysis, philosophy, history, film and media studies, musicology, and art history working in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, the essays in this volume speak from a conviction that torture does not work to elicit truth, secure justice, or maintain security.
Additional information: Fordham University Press
Rage is in the Subtext
Rage Is the Subtext: Readings in Holocaust Literature and Film charts the internal shifts of Holocaust survivors who tell their stories of suffering, loss, and endurance. Susan Derwin locates the healing effect of literary testimony in its capacity to openly represent certain of the survivor’s reactions to traumatic experience while simultaneously concealing from direct view other, more unsettling responses. Beneath the explicit concerns of works by Primo Levi, Saul Friedländer, Binjamin Wilkomirski, Imre Kertész, and Liliana Cavani, Derwin uncovers an unspoken reserve of rage, signs of which nonetheless remain legible in the specific formal properties of each text, such as narrative structure, imagery, and figural language.
Additional information: Ohio State University Press
The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism
Speed, the sensation one gets when driving fast, was described by Aldous Huxley as the single new pleasure invented by modernity. The Speed Handbook is a virtuoso exploration of Huxley’s claim. Enda Duffy shows how the experience of speed has always been political and how it has affected nearly all aspects of modern culture. Primarily a result of the mass-produced automobile, the experience of speed became the quintessential way for individuals to experience modernity, to feel modernity in their bones.
Duffy plunges full-throttle into speed’s “adrenaline aesthetics,” offering deft readings of works ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, through J. G. Ballard’s Crash, to the cautionary consumerism of Ralph Nader. He describes how speed changed understandings of space, distance, chance, and violence; how the experience of speed was commodified in the dawning era of mass consumption; and how society was incited to abhor slowness and desire speed.
Additional information: Duke University Press
L.O. ARANYE FRADENBURG
Staying Alive: A Survival Manuel for the Liberal Arts
Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts fiercely defends the liberal arts in and from an age of neoliberal capital and techno-corporatization run amok, arguing that the public university’s purpose is not vocational training, but rather the cultivation of what Fradenburg calls “artfulness,” including the art of making knowledge. In addition to sustained critical and creative thinking, the humanities develop the mind’s capacities for real-time improvisational communication and interpretation, without which we can neither thrive nor survive. Bringing together psychoanalysis, neuroscience, animal behavioral research, biology & evolutionary theory, and premodern literarature (from Virgil to Chaucer to Shakespeare), Fradenburg offers a bracing polemic against the technocrats of higher education and a vibrant new vision for the humanities as both living art and new life science.
Additional information: punctum books
ELLIE D. HERNÁNDEZ
Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culture
In recent decades, Chicana/o literary and cultural productions have dramatically shifted from a nationalist movement that emphasized unity to one that openly celebrates diverse experiences. Charting this transformation, Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culture looks to the late 1970s, during a resurgence of global culture, as a crucial turning point whose reverberations in twenty-first-century late capitalism have been profound.
Arguing for a postnationalism that documents the radical politics and aesthetic processes of the past while embracing contemporary cultural and sociopolitical expressions among Chicana/o peoples, Hernández links the multiple forces at play in these interactions. Ultimately positing that globalization has enhanced the emergence of new Chicana/o identities, Hernández cultivates important new understandings of borderlands identities and postnationalism itself.
Additional information: University of Texas Press
Les Amoureux de Schéhérazade
The Thousand and One Nights: no other book, with the possible exceptions of the Bible and the Odyssey, has had such a profound impact on literature since it was first introduced into the Western canon by its French translator, Antoine Galland, in the early years of the 18th century. From Marcel Proust to Salman Rushdie, from Balzac to Naguib Mahfuz, so many writers in love with Scheherazade have sought to reinvent the Nights—without imitating them. Hence the infinite variety of these modern rewritings, which all resemble their model without resembling one another. Here, then, is the story of the French rewriting of the Arabian Nights.
Additional information: Librairie Droz
DOMINIQUE JULLIEN (Ed.)
Foundational Texts of World Literature
World literature, first intuited in Goethe's foundational idea of weltliteratur as literature that seeks to transcend national boundaries, is viewed here in its essential mobility and migratory capacity, which relies on the centrality of the reading act. This volume focuses on foundational texts as they are read across cultures, languages and historical contexts. Its goal is to reflect on canonical texts - from Homer's Odyssey to Murasaki's Genji , from Cervantes to Mayan hieroglyphs, from Dante to Coetzee, from Goethe to Lezama Lima, from the Thousand and One Nights to Jorge Luis Borges - in a global perspective: how they are translated, appropriated, transformed, how they travel across different cultures and languages, their foundational status evolving accordingly in a post-European world.
Includes contributions by Gerardo Aldana, Sandra Bermann, Piero Boitani, Michael Emmerich, Azadeh Yamini Hamedani, Stefan Helgesson, Paulo Lemos Horta, Juan Pablo Lupi, Peter Madsen, Ulrich Marzolph, Suzanne Saïd, Evanghelia Stead, Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, and Richard Van Leeuwen.
Additional information: Peter Lang
SUZANNE JILL LEVINE
Where There's Love, There's Hate
Originally published in 1946, Where There’s Love, There’s Hate is the only work of fiction that united husband-and-wife Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo as co-authors. Suzanne Jill Levine collaborated with Jessica E. Powell to bring this inventive novella, a satirical hybrid of the mystery and romance genres, to English-language readers for the first time.
Additional information: Melville House Publishing
Beckett, Deleuze and the Televisual Event: Peephole Art
An expressive dialogue between Gilles Deleuze's philosophical writings on cinema and Samuel Beckett's innovative film and television work, the book explores the relationship between the birth of the event – itself a simultaneous invention and erasure - and Beckett's attempts to create an unrepresentable space within the interstices of language as a (W)hole.
Additional information: Palgrave Macmillian
Pindar's Metaphors: A Study in Rhetoric and Meaning
Pindar's victory odes have suffered from a curious lack of interest on the part of poststructuralism. Even a first, relatively superficial reading of the surviving corpus, however, reveals an intense interest in and exploitation of rhetorical figures and tropes, and an element of autoreferential self-questioning that throughout the history of Pindaric scholarship has attracted much comment. In view of the radical discontinuity within language postulated by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man between what is meant and the mode of meaning, we can on this basis alone ask what effects the rich figurality of the epinicians might have on what they intend to say.
Additional Information: Heidelberg
Literature, Geography and the Postmodern Poetics of Place
This book opens up an understudied area within the field of literary spatiality: the question of geographical emergence. A study of contemporary literary representations of place, it draws on phenomenological, poststructural, and postcolonial theories of space and place to show how literature contributes to the formation of new geographical identities. With chapters devoted to the in-between spaces of Samuel Beckett, France's suburban ghettoes, and the postcolonial proto-nations of France's Caribbean territories, this study emphasizes literature's ability to subtly but decisively shape readers' attitudes toward the world around them.
Additional information: Palgrave Macmillan
Tactical media describes interventionist media art practices that engage and critique the dominant political and economic order. Rather than taking to the streets, the practitioners of tactical media engage in an aesthetic politics of disruption, intervention, and education. In Tactical Media, Rita Raley provides a critical exploration of the new media art activism that has emerged out of, and in direct response to, postindustrialism and neoliberal globalization.
Additional information: University of Minnesota Press
Apocalyptic Futures: Marked Bodies and the Violence of the Text in Kafka, Conrad, and Coetzee
In this book, the author argues that certain modern literary texts have apocalyptic futures. Rather than claim that great writers have clairvoyant powers, he examines the ways in which a text incorporates an apocalyptic event into its future reception. He is thus concerned with the way in which apocalyptic works solicit their future receptions.
Apocalyptic Futures also sets out to articulate a new theory and textual practice of the relation between literary reception and embodiment. Deploying the double register of “marks” to show how a text both codes and targets mutilated bodies, the author focuses on how these bodies are incorporated into texts by Kafka, Conrad, Coetzee, and Spiegelman.
Additional information: Fordham University Press
Aging Gracefully in the Renaissance: Stories of Later Life from Petrach to Montaigne
In Aging Gracefully in the Renaissance: Stories of Later Life from Petrarch to Montaigne Cynthia Skenazi explores a shift in attitudes towards aging and provides a historical perspective on a crucial problem of our time.
From the late fourteenth to the end of the sixteenth centuries, the elderly subject became a point of new social, medical, political, and literary attention on both sides of the Alps. A movement of secularization tended to dissociate old age from the Christian preparation for death, re-orienting the concept of aging around pragmatic matters such as health care, intergenerational relationships, and accrued insights one might wish to pass along. Such changes were accompanied by an increasing number of personal accounts of later life.
Additional information: Brill
JON R. SNYDER
Love in the Mirror
Professor Jon R. Snyder is the editor and translator of Love in the Mirror (ITER/CRSS, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series, 2). This bilingual edition of the experimental 1622 comedy by Italy's leading Baroque playwright, G.B. Andreini, is the first work of his to appear in English. It tells the path-breaking story of a passionate love affair between two women in early modern Florence, which takes a number of unexpected twists as it unfolds, subverting traditional views of the relationship between art and life, representation and reality, and the two sexes. Professor Snyder's edition includes a wide-ranging introduction to this avant-garde comic masterpiece, as well as to the life and works of G.B. Andreini. The play, which was adapted into a major motion picture in 1999, pushes far beyond the bounds of commedia dell'arte through its gender-bending illusionism, reminding us of the bonds between the Baroque aesthetic and modernity.
Additional information: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies
Elisabeth Weber (Ed.)
Living Together: Jacques Derrida's Communities of Violence and Peace
For Jacques Derrida, the notions and experiences of “community,” “living,” and “together” never ceased to harbor radical, in fact infinite interrogations. The often anguished question of how to “live together” moved Derrida throughout his oeuvre, animating his sustained reflections on hospitality, friendship, responsibility, justice, forgiveness, and mourning, as well as his interventions as an outspoken critic of South Africa’s apartheid, the Israel/Palestine conflict, the bloody civil war in his native Algeria, human rights abuses, French immigration laws, the death penalty, and the “war on terror.” “Live together,” Derrida wrote, “one must . . . one cannot not ‘live together,’ even if one does not know how or with whom.”
In this volume, the paradoxes, impossibilities, and singular chances that haunt the necessity of “living together”are evoked in Derrida’s essay “Avowing—The Impossible: ‘Returns,’ Repentance, and Reconciliation,” around which the collection is gathered. Written by scholars in literary criticism, philosophy, legal studies, religious studies, Middle Eastern studies, and sociology working in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, the essays in this volume tackle issues such as the responsibilities and fragility of democracy; the pitfalls of decreed reconciliation; the re-legitimization of torture in the “war on terror”; the connections between Orientalism, Semitism, and anti-Semitism; the delocalizing dynamics of globalization; crimes against humanity; nationalism; and politics as the art not of the possible but of the impossible.
Additional information: Fordham University Press