Award Winners

Winner: Aldo & Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages & Literatures

Recoding World Literature

Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany's Pact with Books

B. Venkat Mani

From the current vantage point of the transformation of books and libraries, B. Venkat Mani presents a historical account of world literature. By locating translation, publication, and circulation along routes of “bibliomigrancy”—the physical and virtual movement of books—Mani narrates how world literature is coded and recoded as literary works find new homes on faraway bookshelves.

Mani argues that the proliferation of world literature in a society is the function of a nation’s relationship with print culture—a Faustian pact with books. Moving from early Orientalist collections, to the Nazi magazine Weltliteratur, to the European Digital Library, Mani reveals the political foundations for a history of world literature that is at once a philosophical ideal, a process of exchange, a mode of reading, and a system of classification.

Shifting current scholarship’s focus from the academic to the general reader, from the university to the public sphere, Recoding World Literature argues that world literature is culturally determined, historically conditioned, and politically charged.

Commended: MLA Prize for a First BookMLA Prize for a First Book

Futile Pleasures

Early Modern Literature and the Limits of Utility

Corey McEleney

Against the defensive backdrop of countless apologetic justifications for the value of literature and the humanities, Futile Pleasures reframes the current conversation by returning to the literary culture of early modern England, a culture whose defensive posture toward literature rivals and shapes our own.

During the Renaissance, poets justified the value of their work on the basis of the notion that the purpose of poetry is to please and instruct, that it must be both delightful and useful. At the same time, many of these writers faced the possibility that the pleasures of literature may be in conflict with the demand to be useful and valuable. Analyzing the rhetoric of pleasure and the pleasure of rhetoric in texts by William Shakespeare, Roger Ascham, Thomas Nashe, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton, McEleney explores the ambivalence these writers display toward literature’s potential for useless, frivolous vanity.

Tracing that ambivalence forward to the modern era, this book also shows how contemporary critics have recapitulated Renaissance humanist ideals about aesthetic value. Against a longstanding tradition that defensively advocates for the redemptive utility of literature, Futile Pleasures both theorizes and performs the queer pleasures of futility. Without ever losing sight of the costs of those pleasures, McEleney argues that playing with futility may be one way of moving beyond the impasses that modern humanists, like their early modern counterparts, have always faced.

Commended: MLA Howard R. Marraro Prize

Pre-Occupied Spaces

Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Teresa Fiore

By linking Italy’s long history of emigration to all continents in the world, contemporary transnational migrations directed toward it, as well as the country’s colonial legacies, Fiore’s book poses Italy as a unique laboratory to rethink national belonging at large in our era of massive demographic mobility. Through an interdisciplinary cultural approach, the book finds traces of globalization in a past that may hold interesting lessons about inclusiveness for the present.

Fiore rethinks Italy’s formation and development on a transnational map through cultural analysis of travel, living, and work spaces as depicted in literary, filmic, and musical texts. By demonstrating how immigration in Italy today is preoccupied by its past emigration and colonialism, the book stresses commonalities and dispels preoccupations.

Winner: DAAD/GSA Book Prize

Recoding World Literature

Libraries, Print Culture, and Germany's Pact with Books

B. Venkat Mani

From the current vantage point of the transformation of books and libraries, B. Venkat Mani presents a historical account of world literature. By locating translation, publication, and circulation along routes of “bibliomigrancy”—the physical and virtual movement of books—Mani narrates how world literature is coded and recoded as literary works find new homes on faraway bookshelves.

Mani argues that the proliferation of world literature in a society is the function of a nation’s relationship with print culture—a Faustian pact with books. Moving from early Orientalist collections, to the Nazi magazine Weltliteratur, to the European Digital Library, Mani reveals the political foundations for a history of world literature that is at once a philosophical ideal, a process of exchange, a mode of reading, and a system of classification.

Shifting current scholarship’s focus from the academic to the general reader, from the university to the public sphere, Recoding World Literature argues that world literature is culturally determined, historically conditioned, and politically charged.

Winner: Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

The Unconstructable Earth

An Ecology of Separation

Frédéric Neyrat, Drew S. Burk

Winner, French Voices Award for excellence in publication and translation.

The Anthropocene announces a post-natural planet that can be remade at will through the process of geoengineering. With it, a new kind of power, geopower, takes the entire Earth, in its social, biological, and geophysical dimensions, as an object of knowledge, intervention, and governmentality. This shift has been aided, wittingly or not, by theorists of the constructivist turn who have likewise called into question the divide between nature and culture and have thus found themselves helpless against the project to replace Earth with Earth 2.0.

Against both camps, this book confronts the unconstructable Earth, proposing an “ecology of separation” that acknowledges the wild, subtractive capacity of nature. Against technocratic delusion, but equally against a racially tinged organicism, Neyrat shows what it means to appreciate Earth as an unsubstitutable becoming that cannot be replicated in a laboratory and that always escapes the hubris of those who would remake and master it.

Commended: Arab American Book Award

Sexagon

Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture

Mehammed Amadeus Mack

In contemporary France, particularly in the banlieues of Paris, the figure of the young, virile, hypermasculine Muslim looms large. So large, in fact, it often supersedes liberal secular society’s understanding of gender and sexuality altogether. Engaging the nexus of race, gender, nation, and sexuality, Sexagon studies the broad politicization of Franco-Arab identity in the context of French culture and its assumptions about appropriate modes of sexual and gender expression, both gay and straight.

Surveying representations of young Muslim men and women in literature, film, popular journalism, television, and erotica as well as in psychoanalysis, ethnography, and gay and lesbian activist rhetoric, Mehammed Amadeus Mack reveals the myriad ways in which communities of immigrant origin are continually and consistently scapegoated as already and always outside the boundary of French citizenship regardless of where the individuals within these communities were born. At the same time, through deft readings of—among other things—fashion photography and online hook-up sites, Mack shows how Franco-Arab youth culture is commodified and fetishized to the point of sexual fantasy.

Official French culture, as Mack suggests, has judged the integration of Muslim immigrants from North and West Africa—as well as their French descendants—according to their presumed attitudes about gender and sexuality. More precisely, Mack argues, the frustrations consistently expressed by the French establishment in the face of the alleged Muslim refusal to assimilate is not only symptomatic of anxieties regarding changes to a “familiar” France but also indicative of an unacknowledged preoccupation with what Mack identifies as the “virility cultures” of Franco-Arabs, rendering Muslim youth as both sexualized objects and unruly subjects.

The perceived volatility of this banlieue virility serves to animate French characterizations of the “difficult” black, Arab, and Muslim boy—and girl—across a variety of sensational newscasts and entertainment media, which are crucially inflamed by the clandestine nature of the banlieues themselves and non-European expressions of virility. Mirroring the secret and underground qualities of “illegal” immigration, Mack shows, Franco-Arab youth increasingly choose to withdraw from official scrutiny of the French Republic and to thwart its desires for universalism and transparency. For their impenetrability, these sealed-off domains of banlieue virility are deemed all the more threatening to the surveillance of mainstream French society and the state apparatus.

Winner: American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize

Pre-Occupied Spaces

Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Teresa Fiore

By linking Italy’s long history of emigration to all continents in the world, contemporary transnational migrations directed toward it, as well as the country’s colonial legacies, Fiore’s book poses Italy as a unique laboratory to rethink national belonging at large in our era of massive demographic mobility. Through an interdisciplinary cultural approach, the book finds traces of globalization in a past that may hold interesting lessons about inclusiveness for the present.

Fiore rethinks Italy’s formation and development on a transnational map through cultural analysis of travel, living, and work spaces as depicted in literary, filmic, and musical texts. By demonstrating how immigration in Italy today is preoccupied by its past emigration and colonialism, the book stresses commonalities and dispels preoccupations.

Winner: American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize

The Techne of Giving

Cinema and the Generous Form of Life

Timothy C. Campbell

Over the last five years, corporations and individuals have given more money, more often, to charitable organizations than ever before. What could possibly be the downside to inhabiting a golden age of gift-giving? That question lies at the heart of Timothy Campbell’s account of contemporary giving and its social forms. In a milieu where gift-giving dominates, nearly everything given and received becomes the subject of a calculus—gifts from God, from benefactors, from those who have. Is there another way to conceive of generosity? What would giving and receiving without gifts look like?

A lucid and imaginative intervention in both European philosophy and film theory, The Techne of Giving investigates how we hold the objects of daily life—indeed, how we hold ourselves—in relation to neoliberal forms of gift-giving. Even as instrumentalism permeates giving, Campbell articulates a resistant techne locatable in forms of generosity that fail to coincide with biopower’s assertion that the only gifts that count are those given and received. Moving between visual studies, Winnicottian psychoanalysis, Foucauldian biopower, and apparatus theory, Campbell makes a case for how to give and receive without giving gifts. In the conversation between political philosophy and classic Italian films by Visconti, Rossellini, and Antonioni, the potential emerges of a generous form of life that can cross between the visible and invisible, the fated and the free.

Winner: J. Owen Grundy History Award

Left Bank of the Hudson

Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street

David J. Goodwin

In the late 1980s, a handful of artists priced out of Manhattan and desperately needing affordable studio space discovered 111 1st Street, a former P. Lorillard Tobacco Company warehouse. Over the next two decades, an eclectic collection of painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and writers dreamt and toiled within the building’s labyrinthine halls. The local arts scene flourished, igniting hope that Jersey City would emerge as the next grassroots center of the art world. However, a rising real estate market coupled with a provincial political establishment threatened the community at 111 1st Street. The artists found themselves entangled in a long, complicated, and vicious fight for their place in the building and for the physical survival of 111 1st Street itself, a site that held so much potential, so much promise for Jersey City.

Left Bank of the Hudson offers a window into the demographic, political, and socio-economic changes experienced by Jersey City during the last thirty years. Documenting the narrative of 111 1st Street as an act of cultural preservation, author David J. Goodwin’s well-researched and significant contribution addresses the question of the role of artists in economically improving cities. As a Jersey City resident, Goodwin applies his knowledge of the city’s rich history of political malfeasance and corruption, including how auspicious plans for a waterfront arts enclave were repeatedly bungled by a provincial-minded city administration. In writing this story, Goodwin interviewed thirteen artists and residents, two businesses, three government officials, and five non-profits, civic organizations, and community activists. The book chronologically explores the history and business of the P. Lorillard Tobacco Company, its evolution into a bustling arts community, the battle to preserve the warehouse as a historic structure, and the lessons to be drawn from the loss and ultimate demolition of the building in 2007, as well as the present state of the neighborhood.

Setting the facts straight for future generations, Left Bank of the Hudson provides an illustrative lesson to government officials, scholars, students, activists, and everyday citizens attempting to navigate the “rediscovery” of American cities.

Winner: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

The Death of the Book

Modernist Novels and the Time of Reading

John Lurz

An examination of the ways major novels by Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf draw attention to their embodiment in the object of the book, The Death of the Book considers how bookish format plays a role in some of the twentieth century’s most famous literary experiments. Tracking the passing of time in which reading unfolds, these novels position the book’s so-called death in terms that refer as much to a simple description of its future vis-à-vis other media forms as to the sense of finitude these books share with and transmit to their readers.

As he interrogates the affective, physical, and temporal valences of literature’s own traditional format and mode of access, John Lurz shows how these novels stage intersections with the phenomenal world of their readers and develop a conception of literary experience not accounted for by either rigorously historicist or traditionally formalist accounts of the modernist period. Bringing together issues of media and mediation, book history, and modernist aesthetics, The Death of the Book offers a new and deeper understanding of the way we read now.

Winner: Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award

Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine

George E. Demacopoulos, Aristotle Papanikolaou

The collapse of communism in eastern Europe has forced traditionally Eastern Orthodox countries to consider the relationship between Christianity and liberal democracy. Contributors examine the influence of Constantinianism in both the post-communist Orthodox world and in Western political theology. Constructive theological essays feature Catholic and Protestant theologians reflecting on the relationship between Christianity and democracy, as well as Orthodox theologians reflecting on their tradition’s relationship to liberal democracy. The essays explore prospects of a distinctively Christian politics in a post-communist, post-Constantinian age.

Winner: Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies

The Ethnography of Rhythm

Orality and Its Technologies

Haun Saussy

Winner of the Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies

Who speaks? The author as producer, the contingency of the text, intertextuality, the “device”—core ideas of modern literary theory—were all pioneered in the shadow of oral literature. Authorless, loosely dated, and variable, oral texts have always posed a challenge to critical interpretation. When it began to be thought that culturally significant texts—starting with Homer and the Bible—had emerged from an oral tradition, assumptions on how to read these texts were greatly perturbed. Through readings that range from ancient Greece, Rome, and China to the Cold War imaginary, The Ethnography of Rhythm situates the study of oral traditions in the contentious space of nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinking about language, mind, and culture. It also demonstrates the role of technologies in framing this category of poetic creation. By making possible a new understanding of Maussian “techniques of the body” as belonging to the domain of Derridean “arche-writing,” Haun Saussy shows how oral tradition is a means of inscription in its own right, rather than an antecedent made obsolete by the written word or other media and data-storage devices.

Shortlisted: Northern California Book Award in Poetry

A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent

Poems

Gregory Mahrer, John Yau

A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent charts a territory built of speculative histories, indeterminate landscapes, and mock narratives, all of them at the threshold linking exterior and interior worlds. Their logic is highly grammatical and slyly confounding, perfectly clear and drawn from dream. It is here, “between / what is occluded and what has elapsed,” that Mahrer’s ambiguous, disordered subjects begin their journeys.

Commended: Sonya Rudikoff NVSA Book Award

The Ploy of Instinct

Victorian Sciences of Nature and Sexuality in Liberal Governance

Kathleen Frederickson

It is paradoxical that instinct became a central term for late Victorian sexual sciences as they were elaborated in the medicalized spaces of confession and introspection, given that instinct had long been defined in its opposition to self-conscious thought. The Ploy of Instinct ties this paradox to instinct’s deployment in conceptualizing governmentality.

Instinct’s domain, Frederickson argues, extended well beyond the women, workers, and “savages” to whom it was so often ascribed. The concept of instinct helped to gloss over contradictions in British liberal ideology made palpable as turn-of-the-century writers grappled with the legacy of Enlightenment humanism. For elite European men, instinct became both an agent of “progress” and a force that, in contrast to desire, offered a plenitude in answer to the alienation of self-consciousness.

This shift in instinct’s appeal to privileged European men modified the governmentality of empire, labor, and gender. The book traces these changes through parliamentary papers, pornographic fiction, accounts of Aboriginal Australians, suffragette memoirs, and scientific texts in evolutionary theory, sexology, and early psychoanalysis.

Winner: New York City Book Awards, Hornblower Award for a First Book

Reading Publics

New York City's Public Libraries, 1754-1911

Tom Glynn

On May 11, 1911, the New York Public Library opened its “marble palace for book lovers” on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. This was the city’s first public library in the modern sense, a tax-supported, circulating collection free to every citizen. Since before the Revolution, however, New York’s reading publics had access to a range of “public libraries” as the term was understood by contemporaries. In its most basic sense a public library in the eighteenth and most of the nineteenth centuries simply meant a shared collection of books that was available to the general public and promoted the public good. From the founding in 1754 of the New York Society Library up to 1911, public libraries took a variety of forms. Some of them were free, charitable institutions, while others required a membership or an annual subscription. Some, such as the Biblical Library of the American Bible Society, were highly specialized; others, like the Astor Library, developed extensive, inclusive collections. What all the public libraries of this period had in common, at least ostensibly, was the conviction that good books helped ensure a productive, virtuous, orderly republic—that good reading promoted the public good.

Tom Glynn’s vivid, deeply researched history of New York City’s public libraries over the course of more than a century and a half illuminates how the public and private functions of reading changed over time and how shared collections of books could serve both public and private ends. Reading Publics examines how books and reading helped construct social identities and how print functioned within and across groups, including but not limited to socioeconomic classes. The author offers an accessible while scholarly exploration of how republican and liberal values, shifting understandings of “public” and “private,” and the debate over fiction influenced the development and character of New York City’s public libraries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Reading Publics is an important contribution to the social and cultural history of New York City that firmly places the city’s early public libraries within the history of reading and print culture in the United States.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

An Atmospherics of the City

Baudelaire and the Poetics of Noise

Ross Chambers

What happens to poetic beauty when history turns the poet from one who contemplates natural beauty and the sublime to one who attempts to reconcile the practice of art with the hustle and noise of the city?

An Atmospherics of the City traces Charles Baudelaire’s evolution from a writer who practices a form of fetishizing aesthetics in which poetry works to beautify the ordinary to one who perceives background noise and disorder—the city’s version of a transcendent atmosphere—as evidence of the malign work of a transcendent god of time, history, and ultimate destruction.

Analyzing this shift, particularly as evidenced in Tableaux parisiens and Le Spleen de Paris, Ross Chambers shows how Baudelaire’s disenchantment with the politics of his day and the coincident rise of overpopulation, poverty, and Haussmann’s modernization of Paris influenced the poet’s work to conceive a poetry of allegory, one with the power to alert and disalienate its otherwise inattentive reader whose senses have long been dulled by the din of his environment.

Providing a completely new and original understanding of both Baudelaire’s ethics and his aesthetics, Chambers reveals how the shift from themes of the supernatural in Baudelaire to ones of alienation allowed a new way for him to articulate and for his fellow Parisians to comprehend the rapidly changing conditions of the city and, in the process, to invent a “modern beauty” from the realm of suffering and the abject as they embodied forms of urban experience.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Black Lives and Sacred Humanity

Toward an African American Religious Naturalism

Carol Wayne White

Identifying African American religiosity as the ingenuity of a people constantly striving to inhabit their humanity and eke out a meaningful existence for themselves amid harrowing circumstances, Black Lives and Sacred Humanity constructs a concept of sacred humanity and grounds it in the writings of Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin. Supported by current theories in science studies, critical theory, and religious naturalism, this concept, as Carol Wayne White demonstrates, offers a capacious view of humans as interconnected, social, value-laden organisms with the capacity to transform themselves and create nobler worlds wherein all sentient creatures flourish.

Acknowledging the great harm wrought by divisive and problematic racial constructions in the United States, this book offers an alternative to theistic models of African American religiosity to inspire newer, conceptually compelling views of spirituality that address a classic, perennial religious question: What does it mean to be fully human and fully alive?

Commended: William Sanders Scarborough Prize

Salvage Work

U.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris of Legal Personhood

Angela Naimou

Salvage Work examines contemporary literary responses to the law’s construction of personhood in the Americas. Tracking the extraordinary afterlives of the legal slave personality from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first, Angela Naimou shows the legal slave to be a fractured but generative figure for contemporary legal personhood across categories of race, citizenship, gender, and labor. What emerges is a compelling and original study of how law invents categories of identification and how literature contends with the person as a legal fiction. Through readings of Francisco Goldman’s The Ordinary Seaman, Edwidge Danticat’s Krik?Krak!, Rosario Ferre’s Sweet Diamond Dust (Maldito Amor), Gayl Jones’s Song for Anninho and Mosquito, and John Edgar Wideman’s Fanon, Naimou shows how literary engagements with legal personhood reconfigure formal narrative conventions in Black Atlantic historiography, the immigrant novel, the anticolonial romance, the trope of the talking book, and the bildungsroman.

Revealing links between colonial, civic, slave, labor, immigration, and penal law, Salvage Work reframes debates over civil and human rights by revealing the shared hemispheric histories and effects of legal personhood across seemingly disparate identities—including the human and the corporate person, the political refugee and the economic migrant, and the stateless person and the citizen.

In depicting the material remains of the legal slave personality in the de-industrialized neoliberal era, these literary texts develop a salvage aesthetic that invites us to rethink our political and aesthetic imagination of personhood. Questioning liberal frameworks for civil and human rights as well as what Naimou calls death-bound theories of personhood—in which forms of human life are primarily described as wasted, disposable, bare, or dead in law—Salvage Work thus responds to critical discussions of biopolitics and neoliberal globalization by exploring the potential for contemporary literature to reclaim the individual from the legal regimes that have marked her.

Winner: Courage to Dream Book Prize

Confidentiality and Its Discontents

Dilemmas of Privacy in Psychotherapy

Paul W. Mosher, Jeffrey Berman

Freud promised his patients absolute confidentiality, regardless of what they revealed, but privacy in psychotherapy began to erode a half-century ago. Psychotherapists now seem to serve as “double agents” with a dual and often conflicting allegiance to patient and society. Some therapists even go so far as to issue Miranda-type warnings, advising patients that what they say in therapy may be used against them.

Confidentiality and Its Discontents explores the human stories arising from this loss of confidentiality in psychotherapy. Addressing different types of psychotherapy breaches, Mosher and Berman begin with the the story of novelist Philip Roth, who was horrified when he learned that his psychoanalyst had written a thinly veiled case study about him. Other breaches of privacy occur when the so-called duty to protect compels a therapist to break confidentiality by contacting the police. Every psychotherapist has heard about “Tarasoff,” but few know the details of this story of fatal attraction. Nor are most readers familiar with the Jaffee case, which established psychotherapist-patient privilege in the federal courts. Similiarly, the story of Robert Bierenbaum, a New York surgeon who was brought to justice fifteen years after he brutally murdered his wife, reveals how privileged communication became established in a state court. Meanwhile, the story of New York Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, convicted of harassing a former lover and her daughter, shows how the fear of the loss of confidentiality may prevent a person from seeking treatment, with potentially disastrous results.

While affirming the importance of the psychotherapist-patient privilege, Confidentiality and Its Discontents focuses on both the inner and outer stories of the characters involved in noteworthy psychotherapy breaches and the ways in which psychiatry and the law can complement but sometimes clash with each other.

Shortlisted: Washington State Book Awards

Pure Act

The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax

Michael N. McGregor

Excellence in Publishing Award, Association of Catholic Publishers
Honorable Mention, Catholic Press Association Book Award
Finalist, Washington State Book Award

Pure Act tells the story of poet Robert Lax, whose quest to live a true life as both an artist and a spiritual seeker inspired Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, William Maxwell and a host of other writers, artists and ordinary people. Known in the U.S. primarily as Merton’s best friend and in Europe as a daringly original avant-garde poet, Lax left behind a promising New York writing career to travel with a circus, live among immigrants in post-war Marseilles and settle on a series of remote Greek islands where he learned and recorded the simple wisdom of the local people. Born a Jew, he became a Catholic and found the authentic community he sought in Greek Orthodox fishermen and sponge divers.

In his early life, as he alternated working at The New Yorker, writing screenplays in Hollywood and editing a Paris literary journal with studying philosophy, serving the poor in Harlem and living in a sanctuary high in the French Alps, Lax pursued an approach to life he called pure act―a way of living in the moment that was both spontaneous and practiced, God-inspired and self-chosen. By devoting himself to simplicity, poverty and prayer, he expanded his capacity for peace, joy and love while producing distinctive poetry of such stark beauty critics called him “one of America’s greatest experimental poets” and “one of the new ‘saints’ of the avant-garde.”

Written by a writer who met Lax in Greece when he was a young seeker himself and visited him regularly over fifteen years, Pure Act is an intimate look at an extraordinary but little-known life. Much more than just a biography, it’s a tale of adventure, an exploration of friendship, an anthology of wisdom, and a testament to the liberating power of living an uncommon life.

Winner: Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize

Salvage Work

U.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris of Legal Personhood

Angela Naimou

Salvage Work examines contemporary literary responses to the law’s construction of personhood in the Americas. Tracking the extraordinary afterlives of the legal slave personality from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first, Angela Naimou shows the legal slave to be a fractured but generative figure for contemporary legal personhood across categories of race, citizenship, gender, and labor. What emerges is a compelling and original study of how law invents categories of identification and how literature contends with the person as a legal fiction. Through readings of Francisco Goldman’s The Ordinary Seaman, Edwidge Danticat’s Krik?Krak!, Rosario Ferre’s Sweet Diamond Dust (Maldito Amor), Gayl Jones’s Song for Anninho and Mosquito, and John Edgar Wideman’s Fanon, Naimou shows how literary engagements with legal personhood reconfigure formal narrative conventions in Black Atlantic historiography, the immigrant novel, the anticolonial romance, the trope of the talking book, and the bildungsroman.

Revealing links between colonial, civic, slave, labor, immigration, and penal law, Salvage Work reframes debates over civil and human rights by revealing the shared hemispheric histories and effects of legal personhood across seemingly disparate identities—including the human and the corporate person, the political refugee and the economic migrant, and the stateless person and the citizen.

In depicting the material remains of the legal slave personality in the de-industrialized neoliberal era, these literary texts develop a salvage aesthetic that invites us to rethink our political and aesthetic imagination of personhood. Questioning liberal frameworks for civil and human rights as well as what Naimou calls death-bound theories of personhood—in which forms of human life are primarily described as wasted, disposable, bare, or dead in law—Salvage Work thus responds to critical discussions of biopolitics and neoliberal globalization by exploring the potential for contemporary literature to reclaim the individual from the legal regimes that have marked her.

Shortlisted: American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize

Confidentiality and Its Discontents

Dilemmas of Privacy in Psychotherapy

Paul W. Mosher, Jeffrey Berman

Freud promised his patients absolute confidentiality, regardless of what they revealed, but privacy in psychotherapy began to erode a half-century ago. Psychotherapists now seem to serve as “double agents” with a dual and often conflicting allegiance to patient and society. Some therapists even go so far as to issue Miranda-type warnings, advising patients that what they say in therapy may be used against them.

Confidentiality and Its Discontents explores the human stories arising from this loss of confidentiality in psychotherapy. Addressing different types of psychotherapy breaches, Mosher and Berman begin with the the story of novelist Philip Roth, who was horrified when he learned that his psychoanalyst had written a thinly veiled case study about him. Other breaches of privacy occur when the so-called duty to protect compels a therapist to break confidentiality by contacting the police. Every psychotherapist has heard about “Tarasoff,” but few know the details of this story of fatal attraction. Nor are most readers familiar with the Jaffee case, which established psychotherapist-patient privilege in the federal courts. Similiarly, the story of Robert Bierenbaum, a New York surgeon who was brought to justice fifteen years after he brutally murdered his wife, reveals how privileged communication became established in a state court. Meanwhile, the story of New York Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, convicted of harassing a former lover and her daughter, shows how the fear of the loss of confidentiality may prevent a person from seeking treatment, with potentially disastrous results.

While affirming the importance of the psychotherapist-patient privilege, Confidentiality and Its Discontents focuses on both the inner and outer stories of the characters involved in noteworthy psychotherapy breaches and the ways in which psychiatry and the law can complement but sometimes clash with each other.

Shortlisted: Religion Newswriters Association

Pure Act

The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax

Michael N. McGregor

Excellence in Publishing Award, Association of Catholic Publishers
Honorable Mention, Catholic Press Association Book Award
Finalist, Washington State Book Award

Pure Act tells the story of poet Robert Lax, whose quest to live a true life as both an artist and a spiritual seeker inspired Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, William Maxwell and a host of other writers, artists and ordinary people. Known in the U.S. primarily as Merton’s best friend and in Europe as a daringly original avant-garde poet, Lax left behind a promising New York writing career to travel with a circus, live among immigrants in post-war Marseilles and settle on a series of remote Greek islands where he learned and recorded the simple wisdom of the local people. Born a Jew, he became a Catholic and found the authentic community he sought in Greek Orthodox fishermen and sponge divers.

In his early life, as he alternated working at The New Yorker, writing screenplays in Hollywood and editing a Paris literary journal with studying philosophy, serving the poor in Harlem and living in a sanctuary high in the French Alps, Lax pursued an approach to life he called pure act―a way of living in the moment that was both spontaneous and practiced, God-inspired and self-chosen. By devoting himself to simplicity, poverty and prayer, he expanded his capacity for peace, joy and love while producing distinctive poetry of such stark beauty critics called him “one of America’s greatest experimental poets” and “one of the new ‘saints’ of the avant-garde.”

Written by a writer who met Lax in Greece when he was a young seeker himself and visited him regularly over fifteen years, Pure Act is an intimate look at an extraordinary but little-known life. Much more than just a biography, it’s a tale of adventure, an exploration of friendship, an anthology of wisdom, and a testament to the liberating power of living an uncommon life.

Commended: Catholic Press Awards

Pure Act

The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax

Michael N. McGregor

Excellence in Publishing Award, Association of Catholic Publishers
Honorable Mention, Catholic Press Association Book Award
Finalist, Washington State Book Award

Pure Act tells the story of poet Robert Lax, whose quest to live a true life as both an artist and a spiritual seeker inspired Thomas Merton, Jack Kerouac, William Maxwell and a host of other writers, artists and ordinary people. Known in the U.S. primarily as Merton’s best friend and in Europe as a daringly original avant-garde poet, Lax left behind a promising New York writing career to travel with a circus, live among immigrants in post-war Marseilles and settle on a series of remote Greek islands where he learned and recorded the simple wisdom of the local people. Born a Jew, he became a Catholic and found the authentic community he sought in Greek Orthodox fishermen and sponge divers.

In his early life, as he alternated working at The New Yorker, writing screenplays in Hollywood and editing a Paris literary journal with studying philosophy, serving the poor in Harlem and living in a sanctuary high in the French Alps, Lax pursued an approach to life he called pure act―a way of living in the moment that was both spontaneous and practiced, God-inspired and self-chosen. By devoting himself to simplicity, poverty and prayer, he expanded his capacity for peace, joy and love while producing distinctive poetry of such stark beauty critics called him “one of America’s greatest experimental poets” and “one of the new ‘saints’ of the avant-garde.”

Written by a writer who met Lax in Greece when he was a young seeker himself and visited him regularly over fifteen years, Pure Act is an intimate look at an extraordinary but little-known life. Much more than just a biography, it’s a tale of adventure, an exploration of friendship, an anthology of wisdom, and a testament to the liberating power of living an uncommon life.

Winner: Broadcast Historian Award

A Word from Our Sponsor

Admen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio

Cynthia B. Meyers

During the “golden age” of radio, from roughly the late 1920s until the late 1940s, advertising agencies were arguably the most important sources of radio entertainment. Most nationally broadcast programs on network radio were created, produced, written, and/or managed by advertising agencies: for example, J. Walter Thompson produced “Kraft Music Hall” for Kraft; Benton & Bowles oversaw “Show Boat” for Maxwell House Coffee; and Young & Rubicam managed “Town Hall Tonight” with comedian Fred Allen for Bristol-Myers. Yet this fact has disappeared from popular memory and receives little attention from media scholars and historians. By repositioning the advertising industry as a central agent in the development of broadcasting, author Cynthia B. Meyers challenges conventional views about the role of advertising in culture, the integration of media industries, and the role of commercialism in broadcasting history.

Based largely on archival materials, A Word from Our Sponsor mines agency records from the J. Walter Thompson papers at Duke University, which include staff meeting transcriptions, memos, and account histories; agency records of BBDO, Benton & Bowles, Young & Rubicam, and N. W. Ayer; contemporaneous trade publications; and the voluminous correspondence between NBC and agency executives in the NBC Records at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Mediating between audiences’ desire for entertainment and advertisers’ desire for sales, admen combined “showmanship” with “salesmanship” to produce a uniquely American form of commercial culture. In recounting the history of this form, Meyers enriches and corrects our understanding not only of broadcasting history but also of advertising history, business history, and American cultural history from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Reading Publics

New York City's Public Libraries, 1754-1911

Tom Glynn

On May 11, 1911, the New York Public Library opened its “marble palace for book lovers” on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. This was the city’s first public library in the modern sense, a tax-supported, circulating collection free to every citizen. Since before the Revolution, however, New York’s reading publics had access to a range of “public libraries” as the term was understood by contemporaries. In its most basic sense a public library in the eighteenth and most of the nineteenth centuries simply meant a shared collection of books that was available to the general public and promoted the public good. From the founding in 1754 of the New York Society Library up to 1911, public libraries took a variety of forms. Some of them were free, charitable institutions, while others required a membership or an annual subscription. Some, such as the Biblical Library of the American Bible Society, were highly specialized; others, like the Astor Library, developed extensive, inclusive collections. What all the public libraries of this period had in common, at least ostensibly, was the conviction that good books helped ensure a productive, virtuous, orderly republic—that good reading promoted the public good.

Tom Glynn’s vivid, deeply researched history of New York City’s public libraries over the course of more than a century and a half illuminates how the public and private functions of reading changed over time and how shared collections of books could serve both public and private ends. Reading Publics examines how books and reading helped construct social identities and how print functioned within and across groups, including but not limited to socioeconomic classes. The author offers an accessible while scholarly exploration of how republican and liberal values, shifting understandings of “public” and “private,” and the debate over fiction influenced the development and character of New York City’s public libraries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Reading Publics is an important contribution to the social and cultural history of New York City that firmly places the city’s early public libraries within the history of reading and print culture in the United States.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Benjamin's Passages

Dreaming, Awakening

Alexander Gelley

In transposing the Freudian dream work from the individual subject to the collective, Walter Benjamin projected a “macroscosmic journey” of the individual sleeper to “the dreaming collective, which, through the arcades, communes with its own insides.” Benjamin’s effort to transpose the dream phenomenon to the history of a collective remained fragmentary, though it underlies the principle of retrograde temporality, which, it is argued, is central to his idea of history.

The “passages” are not just the Paris arcades: They refer also to Benjamin’s effort to negotiate the labyrinth of his work and thought. Gelley works through many of Benjamin’s later works and examines important critical questions: the interplay of aesthetics and politics, the genre of The Arcades Project, citation, language, messianism, aura, and the motifs of memory, the crowd, and awakening.

For Benjamin, memory is not only antiquarian; it functions as a solicitation, a call to a collectivity to come. Gelley reads this call in the motif of awakening, which conveys a qualified but crucial performative intention of Benjamin’s undertaking.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Communities in Fiction

J. Hillis Miller

Communities in Fiction reads six novels or stories (one each by Trollope, Hardy, Conrad, Woolf, Pynchon, and Cervantes) in the light of theories of community worked out (contradictorily) by Raymond Williams, Martin Heidegger, and Jean- Luc Nancy.

The book’s topic is the question of how communities or noncommunities are represented in fictional works. Such fictional communities help the reader understand real communities, including those in which the reader lives. As against the presumption that the trajectory in literature from Victorian to modern to postmodern is the story of a gradual loss of belief in the possibility of community, this book demonstrates that communities have always been presented in fiction as precarious and fractured. Moreover, the juxtaposition of Pynchon and Cervantes in the last chapter demonstrates that period characterizations are never to be trusted. All the features both thematic and formal that recent critics and theorists such as Fredric Jameson and many others have found to characterize postmodern fiction are already present in Cervantes’s wonderful early-seventeenth-century “Exemplary Story,” “The Dogs’ Colloquy.” All the themes and narrative devices of Western fiction from the beginning of the print era to the present were there at the beginning, in Cervantes

Most of all, however, Communities in Fiction looks in detail at its six fictions, striving to see just what they say, what stories they tell, and what narratological and rhetorical devices they use to say what they do say and to tell the stories they do tell. The book attempts to communicate to its readers the joy of reading these works and to argue for the exemplary insight they provide into what Heidegger called Mitsein— being together in communities that are always problematic and unstable.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe

George E. Demacopoulos, Aristotle Papanikolaou

The category of the “West” has played a particularly significant role in the modern Eastern Orthodox imagination. It has functioned as an absolute marker of difference from what is considered to be the essence of Orthodoxy and, thus, ironically has become a constitutive aspect of the modern Orthodox self. The essays collected in this volume examine the many factors that contributed to the “Eastern” construction of the “West” in order to understand why the “West” is so important to the Eastern Christian’s sense of self.

Winner: Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

The Rigor of Things

Conversations with Dan Arbib

Jean-Luc Marion, Dan Arbib, Christina M. Gschwandtner, David Tracy

In a series of conversations, Jean-Luc Marion reconstructs the path of a career’s work in the history of philosophy, theology, and phenomenology. The conversation ranges from Marion’s engagement with Descartes, to phenomenology and theology, to Marion’s intellectual and biographical backgrounds, concluding with illuminating insights on the state of the Catholic Church today and on Judeo-Christian dialogue.

In these interviews, Marion’s language is more conversational than in his formal writing, but it remains serious and substantive. The book serves as an excellent and comprehensive introduction to Marion’s thought and work.

Winner: Grand Prize Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

Nostalgia

When Are We Ever at Home?

Barbara Cassin, Pascale-Anne Brault, Souleymane Bachir Diagne

Winner, French Voices Grand Prize

Nostalgia makes claims on us both as individuals and as members of a political community. In this short book, Barbara Cassin provides an eloquent and sophisticated treatment of exile and of desire for a homeland, while showing how it has been possible for many to reimagine home in terms of language rather than territory.

Moving from Homer’s and Virgil’s foundational accounts of nostalgia to the exilic writings of Hannah Arendt, Cassin revisits the dangerous implications of nostalgia for land and homeland, thinking them anew through questions of exile and language.

Ultimately, Cassin shows how contemporary philosophy opens up the political stakes of rootedness and uprootedness, belonging and foreignness, helping us to reimagine our relations to others in a global and plurilingual world.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Hating Empire Properly

The Two Indies and the Limits of Enlightenment Anticolonialism

Sunil M. Agnani

In Hating Empire Properly, Sunil Agnani produces a novel attempt to think the eighteenth-century imagination of
the West and East Indies together, arguing that this is how contemporary thinkers Edmund Burke and Denis
Diderot actually viewed them. This concern with multiple geographical spaces is revealed to be a largely
unacknowledged part of the matrix of Enlightenment thought in which eighteenth-century European and American self-conceptions evolved. By focusing on colonial spaces of the Enlightenment, especially India and Haiti, he demonstrates how Burke's fearful view of the French Revolution—the defining event of modernity— as shaped by prior reflection on these other domains. Exploring with sympathy the angry outbursts against injustice in the writings of Diderot, he nonetheless challenges recent understandings of him as a univocal critic of empire by showing the persistence of a fantasy of consensual colonialism in his thought. By looking at the impasses and limits in the thought of both radical and conservative writers, Agnani asks what it means to critique empire “properly.” Drawing his method from Theodor Adorno’s quip that “one must have tradition in oneself, in order to hate it properly,” he proposes a critical inhabiting of dominant forms of reason as a way forward for the critique of both empire and Enlightenment.

Thus, this volume makes important contributions to political theory, history, literary studies, American studies, and postcolonial studies.

Winner: 2013 French Voices Prize

Citizen Subject

Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology

Étienne Balibar, Steven Miller, Emily Apter

What can the universals of political philosophy offer to those who experience "the living paradox of an inegalitarian construction of egalitarian citizenship"? Citizen Subject is the summation of Étienne Balibar’s career-long project to think the necessary and necessarily antagonistic relation between the categories of citizen and subject. In this magnum opus, the question of modernity is framed anew with special attention to the self-enunciation of the subject (in Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, and Derrida), the constitution of the community as “we” (in Hegel, Marx, and Tolstoy), and the aporia of the judgment of self and others (in Foucualt, Freud, Kelsen, and Blanchot).

After the “humanist controversy” that preoccupied twentieth-century philosophy, Citizen Subject proposes foundations for philosophical anthropology today, in terms of two contrary movements: the becoming-citizen of the subject and the becoming-subject of the citizen. The citizen-subject who is constituted in the claim to a “right to have rights” (Arendt) cannot exist without an underside that contests and defies it. He—or she, because Balibar is concerned throughout this volume with questions of sexual difference—figures not only the social relation but also the discontent or the uneasiness at the heart of this relation. The human can be instituted only if it betrays itself by upholding “anthropological differences” that impose normality and identity as conditions of belonging to the community.

The violence of “civil” bourgeois universality, Balibar argues, is greater (and less legitimate, therefore less stable) than that of theological or cosmological universality. Right is thus founded on insubordination, and emancipation derives its force from otherness.

Ultimately, Citizen Subject offers a revolutionary rewriting of the dialectic of universality and differences in the bourgeois epoch, revealing in the relationship between the common and the universal a political gap at the heart of the universal itself.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Trials of Arab Modernity

Literary Affects and the New Political

Tarek El-Ariss

Challenging prevalent conceptualizations of modernity—which treat it either as a Western ideology imposed by colonialism or as a universal narrative of progress and innovation—this study instead offers close readings of the simultaneous performances and contestations of modernity staged in works by authors such as Rifa’a al-Tahtawi, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Tayeb Salih, Hanan al-Shaykh, Hamdi Abu Golayyel, and Ahmad Alaidy.

In dialogue with affect theory, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis, the book reveals these trials to be a violent and ongoing confrontation with and within modernity. In pointed and witty prose, El-Ariss bridges the gap between Nahda (the so-called Arab project of Enlightenment) and postcolonial and postmodern fiction.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Hollow Men

Writing, Objects, and Public Image in Renaissance Italy

Susan Gaylard

This book relates developments in the visual arts and printing to humanist theories of literary and bodily imitation, bringing together fifteenth- and sixteenth-century frescoes, statues, coins, letters, dialogues, epic poems, personal emblems, and printed collections of portraits. Its interdisciplinary analyses show that Renaissance theories of emulating classical heroes generated a deep skepticism about self-presentation, ultimately contributing to a new awareness of representation as representation.

Hollow Men shows that the Renaissance questioning of “interiority” derived from a visual ideal, the monument that was the basis of teachings about imitation. In fact, the decline of exemplary pedagogy and the emergence of modern masculine subjectivity were well underway in the mid–fifteenth century, and these changes were hastened by the rapid development of the printed image.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Italian Women and International Cold War Politics, 1944-1968

Carol Bonomo Albright, Christine Palamidessi Moore

With writings that span more than thirty-five years, American Woman, Italian Style is a rich collection of essays that fleshes out the realities of today’s Italian American women and explores the myriad ways they continue to add to the American experience. The status of modern Italian-American women in the United States is
noteworthy: their quiet and continued growth into respected positions in the professional worlds of law and medicine surpasses the success achieved in that of the general population—so too does their educational attainment and income.

Contributions include Donna Gabaccia on the oral-to-written history of cookbooks, Carol Helstosky on the Tradition of Invention, an interview with Sandra Gilbert, Paul Levitt’s look at Lucy Mancini as a metaphor for the modern world, William Egelman’s survey of women’s work patterns, and Edvige Giunta on the importance of a selfconscious understanding of memory. There are explorations of Jewish-Italian intermarriages and interpretations of entrepreneurship in Milwaukee. Readers will find challenges to common assumptions and stereotypes, departures from normal samplings, and springboards to further research.

American Woman, Italian Style: Italian Americana’s Best Writings on Women offers unique insights into issues of gender and ethnicity and is a voice for the less heard and less seen side of the Italian-American experience from immigrant times to the present. Instead of seeking consensus or ideological orthodoxy, this collection
brings together writers with a wide range of backgrounds, outlooks, ideas, and experiences. It is an impressive postmodern collection for interdisciplinary studies: a book and a look about being and becoming an American.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Standing by the Ruins

Elegiac Humanism in Wartime and Postwar Lebanon

Ken Seigneurie

Since the mid-1970s, Lebanon has been at the center of the worldwide rise in sectarian extremism. Its cultural output has both mediated and resisted this rise. Standing by the Ruins reviews the role of culture in supporting sectarianism, yet argues for the emergence of a distinctive aesthetic of resistance to it.

Focusing on contemporary Lebanese fiction, film, and popular culture, this book shows how artists reappropriated the twin legacies of commitment literature and the ancient topos of “standing by the ruins” to form a new “elegiac humanism” during the tumultuous period of 1975 to 2005. It redirects attention to the critical role of culture in conditioning attitudes throughout society and is therefore relevant to other societies facing sectarian extremism.

Standing by the Ruins is also a strong intervention in the burgeoning field of World Literature. Elaborating on the great Arabist Hilary Kilpatrick’s crucial insight that ancient Arabic forms and topoi filter into modern literature, the author details how the “standing by the ruins” topos—and the structure of feeling it conditions—has migrated over time. Modern Arabic novels, feature films, and popular culture, far from being simply cultural imports, are hybrid forms deployed to respond to the challenges of contemporary Arab society. As such, they can take their place within a World Literature paradigm: they are cultural products that travel and intervene in the world.

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