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Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.
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EL Putnam’s new book Livestreaming: An Aesthetics and Ethics of Technical Encounter considers how livestreaming constitutes new patterns of being together that are complex, ambivalent, and transformative. Digging into how humans and technology co-evolve, Putnam and Noel Fitzpatrick engage in conversation about relation and hyper-individualism, glit…
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Educators who underestimate children’s knowledge about citizenship and immigration status can marginalize or misunderstand these students and their families. In Knowing Silence: How Children Talk about Immigration Status in School, author Ariana Mangual Figueroa models new ways scholars might collaborate with educators, children, and families—and m…
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Estado Vegetal is Manuela Infante’s riveting experimental performance art through which plants are charged with an agency capable of uprooting culturally grounded conceptions of the world. The book Estado Vegetal: Performance and Plant-Thinking, edited by Giovanni Aloi, is the first book dedicated to this performance and features essays from schola…
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Masculinity in Transition is a book that moves the study of masculinity away from an overriding preoccupation with cisnormativity, whiteness, and heteronormativity, and toward a wider and more generative range of embodiments, identifications, and ideologies. Author K. Allison Hammer’s bold rethinking of masculinity and its potentially toxic effects…
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During the past decade, new oil plays have unsettled energy landscapes and imaginaries in the US. Settling the Boom, a volume of essays, studies how the disruptive forces of an oil boom in the northern Great Plains of Williston, North Dakota, are contained through the extension of settler temporalities, reassertions of heteropatriarchy, and the tet…
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John Arena examines the more than two-decade struggle to privatize public schools in Newark, New Jersey—a conflict that is raging in cities across the country. Arena’s book Expelling Public Schools reveals the political rise of Cory Booker and Ras Baraka and what this particular case study illuminates about contemporary post-civil rights Black poli…
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More than twenty years ago, a bizarre confluence of meteorological events resulted in the most damaging blowdown in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness’s history. It traveled 1,300 miles and lasted 22 hours, flattening nearly 500,000 acres of the Superior National Forest. Hundreds of campers and paddlers were stranded and dozens injur…
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What is fossil civilization? In the book No More Fossils, Dominic Boyer tells the story of how we came to rationalize fossil fuel use through successive phases of sucropolitics (plantation sugar), carbopolitics (industrial coal), and petropolitics (oil and plastics), showing what tethers us to petroculture today and what it will take to overcome th…
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In Visible Archives is a book that explores a number of feminist and cultural touchstones of the 1980s and examines how visual culture interacts with these pivotal moments. Author Margaret Galvan goes deep into the archives to bring together a decade’s worth of research that includes comics, collages, photographs, drawings, and other media produced…
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Benjamin Meiches explores the role of animals laboring alongside humans (mine-clearance dogs, milk-producing cows and goats, disease-identifying rats) in humanitarian operations, generating new ethical possibilities of care in humanitarian practice—and opening up new ethical ways to think about being human in terms of how we interact with nonhuman …
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What inspires desire for plants? In The Cactus Hunters, Jared Margulies takes readers through the intriguing world of succulent collecting, where collectors and conservationists alike are animated by passions that sometimes exceed the limits of the law. His globe-spanning journey offers complex insight into the fields of botany and criminology, pol…
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“There is always some moment when other-than-human life bursts into presence amid the clamor of urban routine.” —Maan Barua, Lively Cities One of the fundamental dimensions of urbanization is its radical transformation of nature. The book Lively Cities: Reconfiguring Urban Ecology departs from conventions of urban studies to argue that cities are l…
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Terrorism on Trial examines the contemporary role U.S. domestic courts play in the global war on terror. Author Nicole Nguyen advocates for a rethinking of popular understandings of political violence and its root causes, and exposes how dominant academic discourses, geographical imaginations, and social processes have shaped terrorism prosecutions…
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In Earth, Ice, Bone, Blood, Charlotte Wrigley considers how permafrost—and its disappearance—redefines extinction to be a lack of continuity that affects both life and nonlife on earth. With a look at the coldest regions in the world, Wrigley examines the wild new economies and mitigation strategies responding to thawing permafrost, including such …
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From his first days as a rookie firefighter and emergency medical technician to his command of a company as a twenty-year veteran, Jeremy Norton has made regular, direct encounters with the sick, the dying, and the dead. In his memoir, Trauma Sponges: Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response, Norton documents the life of an emergency…
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Unfolding amid an atmosphere of profound anxiety and disillusionment, the new American war film demonstrates a breakdown of the prevailing cultural narratives that had come to characterize conflict in the previous century. In the wake of 9/11, both the nature of military conflict and the symbolic frameworks that surround it have been dramatically r…
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In Gramsci at Sea, author Sharad Chari asks how the environmental crisis of the oceans is linked to legacies of capitalism and imperialism across and within the oceans. Chari reads Antonio Gramsci as a thinker of the oceanic crisis, drawing on the philosopher’s prison notes and questions concerning waves of imperial power in the inter-war oceans of…
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Focusing on Friedrich Nietzsche’s reception of the life sciences of his day (including concerns with insects and the emergent social properties they exhibit) and his reflections on technology—research areas as central to Nietzsche’s work as they are to posthumanism—Edgar Landgraf provides fresh readings of Nietzsche and a critique of posthumanist a…
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In Noah’s Arkive, Jeffrey J. Cohen and Julian Yates examine the long history of imagining endurance against climate change catastrophe—as well as alternative ways of creating refuge. Arguing that the biblical ark may well be the worst possible exemplar of human behavior, this book uncovers the startling afterlife of the Genesis narrative and survey…
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As military and other forms of political violence become the planetary norm, On Posthuman War traces the expansion of war as manifest within humanity’s individual, sociocultural, and biological existence. Author Mike Hill identifies three human-focused disciplines newly turned against humanity (demography, anthropology, and neuroscience) and questi…
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In the 2010s cities and counties across the US witnessed long-overdue change as they engaged more with questions of social, economic, and racial justice. After decades of urban economic restructuring that intensified class divides and institutional and systemic racism, dozens of local governments countered the conventional wisdom that cities couldn…
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Lichens are composite organisms made of a fungus and an alga or cyanobacteria thriving in a mutually beneficial relationship. The Lichen Museum looks to these complex organisms, remarkable for their symbiosis, diversity, longevity, and adaptability, as models for relations rooted in collaboration and nonhierarchical structures. Author A. Laurie Pal…
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The first biography of Robert Smithson, Inside the Spiral deepens understanding of his art by addressing the potent forces in his life that were shrouded by his success, including his suppressed early history as a painter; his affiliation with Christianity, astrology, and alchemy; and his sexual fluidity. Author Suzaan Boettger uncovers Smithson’s …
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Modern environments are awash with pollutants. The book Citizens of Worlds is the first thorough study of the increasingly widespread use of digital technologies to monitor and respond to air pollution. Drawing on data from the Citizen Sense research group, which worked with communities in the US and the UK to develop digital-sensor toolkits, autho…
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A critical figure in queer Sinophone cinema, Tsai Ming-liang is a major force in Taiwan cinema and global moving image art. A new book by Nicholas de Villiers, CRUISY, SLEEPY, MELANCHOLY, offers a fascinating, systematic method for analyzing the queerness of Tsai’s films and reveals striking connections between sexuality, space, and cinema. Here, t…
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Are you feeling merry as a grig? Or merry as a pismire? Pert as a pearmonger? Fit as a fiddle? Where do these idioms come from? Do they make life more fun? If you’ve ever wanted to be in a room full of expert etymologists, this is your ticket. Anatoly Liberman, author of TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: A Dictionary of English Idioms, is joined in conversation…
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In queer culture, silence has been equated with voicelessness, complicity, and even death. Queer Silence insists, however, that silence can be a generative and empowering mode of survival. Triangulating insights from queer studies, disability studies, and rhetorical studies, J. Logan Smilges explores what silence can mean for people whose bodyminds…
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In postwar Italy, a group of visionary artists used emergent computer technologies to experiment with art and technology and subvert conceptions of freedom and control. ARTE PROGRAMMATA is a book that describes how Italy’s distinctive political climate fueled the group’s engagement with computers, cybernetics, and information theory, creating a bro…
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A lot of societal structures have been permanently upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re here to talk about two: air travel and dog ownership. Margret Grebowicz, author of Rescue Me, talks about the abundance of pet adoptions during the pandemic and the existential and social implications of this trend. Christopher Schaberg, author of Grounded, d…
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Amid fervent conversations about antiracism and police violence, Media and the Affective Life of Slavery delivers vital new ideas, analyzing how media culture instructs viewers to act and feel in accordance with new racial norms created for an era supposedly defined by an end to legal racism. Author Allison Page examines U.S. media from the 1960s t…
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“White people passed laws specifically in order to take away this land from our people. And then we did these other things in order to try to survive.” ALLOTMENT STORIES is a volume that collects more than two dozen chronicles of white imperialism and Indigenous resistance, highlighting how Indigenous peoples have consistently engaged creativity to…
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How is it possible that you are—simultaneously—cells, atoms, a body, quarks, a component in an ecological network, a moment in the thermodynamic dispersal of the sun, and an element in the gravitational whirl of galaxies? Joshua DiCaglio’s SCALE THEORY provides a foundational theory of scale that explains how scale works, the parameters of scalar t…
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In the 1960s, Christopher Isherwood gave an unprecedented series of lectures at California universities about his life and work. During this time, Isherwood spoke openly for the first time about his craft and spirituality. The release of the updated edition of ISHERWOOD ON WRITING includes the long-lost conclusion to the second lecture, including i…
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In a time when online classrooms and meetings have become both indispensable and mundane features of the university, STUDIOUS DRIFT asks: What kind of university becomes possible when digital tools are not taken for granted but hacked into and tinkered with in order to set study adrift? In part a meditation on the essence of the studio space, this …
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The new book ‘Cacaphonies’ takes fecal matter and its place in literature seriously. In a stark challenge to the tendency to view 20th- and 21st-century French literature through sanitizing abstractions, Annabel L. Kim argues for feces as a figure of radical equality. ‘Cacaphonies’ reveals the aesthetic, political, and ethical potential of shit and…
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ON THE WANDERING PATHS is Sylvain Tesson’s literary adventure and philosophical reflection during a three-month journey of solitude and personal contemplation while walking along vast stretches of mountain ranges and rivers, ancient bridges and villages, of France’s countryside. This exquisite chronicle through landscapes that continue to resist ur…
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Exploring new concepts of the relationship between form and function while thinking through object-oriented ontology (OOO), Graham Harman (ARCHITECTURE AND OBJECTS) deepens the exchange between architecture and philosophy, providing a new roadmap to OOO’s influence on the language and practice of contemporary architecture. Art after Nature is a ser…
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How do educational policy studies need to shift to remain adequate to the emergence of powerful forms of technology? In ALGORITHMS OF EDUCATION, Kalervo N. Gulson, Sam Sellar, and P. Taylor Webb explore how, for policy makers, big data creates the illusion of greater control over educational futures. They propose that schools and governments are in…
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“Capitalism defeated traditional societies because it was more exciting than they were. But now there is something more exciting than capitalism: its destruction.” In the face of things with true power (capitalism, the law, public opinion, etc.), philosophy is not provisioned to battle them head-on. But it can wage “a guerrilla campaign against the…
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In SIDE AFFECTS, Hil Malatino opens a conversation about trans experience that acknowledges the reality of feeling fatigue, envy, burnout, numbness, and rate amid the ongoing onslaught of casual and structural transphobia in order to map the intricate emotional terrain of trans survival. In May 2022, Malatino was joined in conversation by Zena Shar…
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What are we leaving behind, forgetting, and obscuring as we remember AIDS activist pasts? VIRAL CULTURES is the first book to critically examine the archives that have helped preserve and create the legacy of AIDS activism of the 1980s and 1990s. Marika Cifor charts the efforts activists, artists, and curators have made to document the work of AIDS…
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Land privatization has been a longstanding and ongoing settler colonial process separating Indigenous peoples from their traditional homelands, with devastating consequences. ALLOTMENT STORIES is an edited collection that dives into this conflict, creating a complex conversation out of narratives of Indigenous communities resisting allotment and ot…
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Elan Abrell is author of SAVING ANIMALS: the first major ethnography to focus on the ethical issues animating the establishment of animal sanctuaries and animal rescue facilities. Abrell has done fieldwork at such facilities across the US, and here asks what “saving,” “caring for,” and “sanctuary” actually mean, exploring ethical decision making ar…
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Josef Nguyen’s THE DIGITAL IS KID STUFF questions constructions of creativity, childhood, entrepreneurialism, and technological savvy, toggling between techno-pessimism and techno-utopianism in the process. The book narrates the developmental arc of a future creative laborer: from playing Minecraft, to DIY innovation with Make magazine, to selfies …
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Eco Soma proposes an art/life method of sensory tuning to the inside and the outside simultaneously. Petra Kuppers asks readers to be alert to their own embodied responses to art practice, reading contemporary performance encounters while modeling a disability culture sensitivity to living in a shared world, oriented toward socially just futures. I…
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How do contemporary art and theory contemplate the “bio” of biopolitics and bioart? One of the foremost theorists of posthumanism, Cary Wolfe argues for the reconceptualization of nature in art and theory to turn the idea of the relationship between the human and the planet upside down in his new book, ART AND POSTHUMANISM. This is the inaugural vo…
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Plastics have been a defining feature of contemporary life since at least the 1960s. Yet our proliferating use of plastics has also triggered catastrophic environmental consequences. In this second episode of a two-part series, literary scholars and contributors to the volume LIFE IN PLASTIC: ARTISTIC RESPONSES TO PETROMODERNITY discuss public heal…
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Plastics have been a defining feature of contemporary life since at least the 1960s. Yet our proliferating use of plastics has also triggered catastrophic environmental consequences. Plastics are derived from petrochemicals and enmeshed with the global oil economy, and they permeate our consumer goods and their packaging, our clothing and buildings…
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In inspired and incisive writing the contributors to WE ARE MEANT TO RISE speak unvarnished truths not only to the original and pernicious racism threaded through the American experience but also to the deeply personal, bearing witness to one of the most unsettling years in the history of the United States. This episode features Carolyn Holbrook, D…
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Outsiders Within is a volume of essays, fiction, poetry, and art by transracially adopted writers from around the world who tackle difficult questions about how to survive the racist and ethnocentric worlds they inhabit. The volume was first published in 2006 and released in a new edition in 2021: a year in which reproduction and adoption politics …
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