Award Winners

Runner-up: Edinburgh Gadda Prize

Pre-Occupied Spaces

Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Teresa Fiore

Runner Up Winner of the Edinburgh Gadda Prize - Established Scholars, Cultural Studies Category
Winner of the American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize (20th & 21st Centuries)
Honorable Mention for the Howard R. Marraro Prize

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.

Shortlisted: Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Cathay

A Critical Edition

Ezra Pound, Timothy Billings, Christopher Bush, Haun Saussy

Finalist for Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Ezra Pound’s Cathay (1915) is a masterpiece both of modernism and of world literature. The muscular precision of images that mark Pound’s translations helped establish a modern style for American literature, at the same time creating a thirst for classical Chinese poetry in English. Pound’s dynamic free-verse translations in a modern idiom formed the basis for T.S. Eliot’s famous claim that Pound was the “inventor of Chinese poetry for our time.” Yet Pound achieved this feat without knowing any Chinese, relying instead on word-for-word “cribs” left by the Orientalist Ernest Fenollosa, whose notebooks reveal a remarkable story of sustained cultural exchange.

This fully annotated critical edition focuses on Pound’s astonishing translations without forgetting that the original Chinese poems are masterpieces in their own right. On the one hand, the presentation of all that went into the final Cathay makes it possible for the first time to appreciate the magnitude and the nuances of Pound’s poetic art. At the same time, by bringing the final text together with the Chinese and Old English poems it claims to translate, as well as the manuscript traces of Pound's Japanese and American interlocutors, the volume also recovers practices of poetic circulation, resituating a Modernist classic as a work of world literature.

The Pound text and its intertexts are presented with care, clarity, and visual elegance. By providing the first accurate and unabridged transcriptions of Fenollosa’s notebooks, along with carefully edited Chinese texts, the volume makes it possible to trace the movements of poetic ideas and poetic expression as they veer toward and away from Pound’s creations. In supplying the full Fenollosa texts, the volume overturns decades of scholarship that has mystified Pound’s translation process as a kind of “clairvoyance,” displaying instead the impressive amount of sinological learning preserved in Fenollosa’s hard-to-read notebooks and by detailing every deviation from the probable sense of the originals. The edition also supplies exhaustive historical, critical, and textual notes, clarifying points that have sometimes lent obscurity to Pound’s poems and making the process of translation visible even for readers with no knowledge of Chinese.

Cathay: A Critical Edition includes the original fourteen Chinese translations as well as Pound’s unique version of “The Seafarer,” which is fully annotated alongside its Anglo-Saxon source. Also included are Pound’s fifteen additional Chinese translations from Lustra and other contemporary publications, his essay “Chinese Poetry” (1919), a substantial textual Introduction, and original essays by Christopher Bush and Haun Saussy on international modernism, the mediation of Japan, and translation.

The meticulous treatment and analysis of the texts for this landmark edition will forever change how readers view Pound’s “Chinese” poems. In addition to discoveries that permanently alter the scholarly record and force us to revise a number of critical commonplaces, the critical apparatus allows readers to make fresh discoveries by making available the specific networks through which poetic expression moved among hands, languages, and media.

Ultimately, this edition not only enables us more fully to appreciate a canonical work of Modernism but also resituates the art of Pound’s translations by recovering the historical circulations that went into the making of a multiply authored and intrinsically hybrid masterpiece.

Shortlisted: Maine Literary Award

Midden

Julia Bouwsma, Afaa M. Weaver

FINALIST FOR THE MAINE LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE JULIE SUK AWARD
SELECTED AS ONE OF NPR'S 2018 GREAT READS!
ONE OF BOOK RIOT'S 50 MUST READ POETRY COLLECTIONS OF 2019!

In 1912 the State of Maine forcibly evicted an interracial community of roughly forty-five people from Malaga Island, a small island off the coast of Phippsburg, Maine. Though Malaga had been their home for generations, nine residents (including the entire Marks family) were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded in Pownal, Maine. The others struggled to find homes on other islands or on the mainland, where they were often unwelcome. The Malaga school was dismantled and rebuilt as a chapel on another island. Seventeen graves were exhumed from the Malaga cemetery, consolidated into five caskets, and reburied at the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. Just one year after the start of the eviction proceedings, the Malaga community was erased.

Midden confronts the events and over one hundred years of silence that surround this shameful incident in Maine’s history. Utilizing a wide range of poetic styles—epistolary poems to ghosts, persona poems, erasure poems, interior poems, interviews and instructions, poems framed both in the past and in the present—Midden delves into the vital connections between land, identity, and narrative and asks how we can heal the generations and legacies of damage that result when all three of these are deliberately taken in an attempt to rob people of their very humanity. The book is a poetic excavation of loss, a carving of the landscape of memory, and a reckoning with and tribute to the ghosts we carry and step over, often without our even knowing it.

Shortlisted: Julie Suk Award

Midden

Julia Bouwsma, Afaa M. Weaver

FINALIST FOR THE MAINE LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE JULIE SUK AWARD
SELECTED AS ONE OF NPR'S 2018 GREAT READS!
ONE OF BOOK RIOT'S 50 MUST READ POETRY COLLECTIONS OF 2019!

In 1912 the State of Maine forcibly evicted an interracial community of roughly forty-five people from Malaga Island, a small island off the coast of Phippsburg, Maine. Though Malaga had been their home for generations, nine residents (including the entire Marks family) were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded in Pownal, Maine. The others struggled to find homes on other islands or on the mainland, where they were often unwelcome. The Malaga school was dismantled and rebuilt as a chapel on another island. Seventeen graves were exhumed from the Malaga cemetery, consolidated into five caskets, and reburied at the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. Just one year after the start of the eviction proceedings, the Malaga community was erased.

Midden confronts the events and over one hundred years of silence that surround this shameful incident in Maine’s history. Utilizing a wide range of poetic styles—epistolary poems to ghosts, persona poems, erasure poems, interior poems, interviews and instructions, poems framed both in the past and in the present—Midden delves into the vital connections between land, identity, and narrative and asks how we can heal the generations and legacies of damage that result when all three of these are deliberately taken in an attempt to rob people of their very humanity. The book is a poetic excavation of loss, a carving of the landscape of memory, and a reckoning with and tribute to the ghosts we carry and step over, often without our even knowing it.

Winner: The French Voices Translation Award

The Philosophers' Gift

Reexamining Reciprocity

Marcel Hénaff, Jean-Louis Morhange

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

When it comes to giving, philosophers love to be the most generous. For them, every form of reciprocity is tainted by commercial exchange. In recent decades, such thinkers as Derrida, Levinas, Henry, Marion, Ricoeur, Lefort, and Descombes, have made the gift central to their work, haunted by the requirement of disinterestedness.

As an anthropologist as well as a philosopher, Hénaff worries that philosophy has failed to distinguish among various types of giving. The Philosophers’ Gift returns to Mauss to reexamine these thinkers through the anthropological tradition. Reciprocity, rather than disinterestedness, he shows, is central to ceremonial giving and alliance, whereby the social bond specific to humans is proclaimed as a political bond. From the social fact of gift practices, Hénaff develops an original and profound theory of symbolism, the social, and the relationship between self and other, whether that other is an individual human being, the collective other of community and institution, or the impersonal other of the world.

Winner: Grand Prize Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

The Unconstructable Earth

An Ecology of Separation

Frédéric Neyrat, Drew S. Burk

Winner, Grand Prize, French Voices Award for Excellence in Publication and Translation

The Space Age is over? Not at all! A new planet has appeared: Earth. In the age of the Anthropocene, the Earth is a post-natural planet that can be remade at will, controlled and managed thanks to the prowess of geoengineering. This new imaginary is also accompanied by a new kind of power—geopower—that takes the entire Earth, in its social, biological and geophysical dimensions, as an object of knowledge, intervention, and governmentality. In short, our rising awareness that we have destroyed our planet has simultaneously provided us not with remorse or resolve but with a new fantasy: that the Anthropocene delivers an opportunity to remake our terrestrial environment thanks to the power of technology.

Such is the position we find ourselves in, when proposals for reengineering the earth’s ecosystems and geosystems are taken as the only politically feasible answer to ecological catastrophe. Yet far from being merely the fruit of geo-capitalism, this new grand narrative of geopower has also been activated by theorists of the constructivist turn—ecomodernist, postenvironmentalist, accelerationist—who have likewise called into question the great divide between nature and culture. With the collapse of this divide, a cyborg, hybrid, flexible nature has been built, an impoverished nature that does not exist without being performed by technologies that proliferate within the space of human needs and capitalist imperatives. Underneath this performative vision resides a hidden anaturalism denying all otherness to nature and the Earth, no longer by externalizing it as a thing to be dominated, but by radically internalizing it as something to be digested. Constructivist ecology thus finds itself in no position to confront the geoconstructivist project, with its claim that there is no nature and its aim to replace Earth with Earth 2.0.

Against both positions, Neyrat stakes out the importance of the unconstructable Earth. Against the fusional myth of technology over nature, but without returning to the division between nature and culture, he proposes an “ecology of separation” that acknowledges the wild, subtractive capacity of nature. Against the capitalist, technocratic delusion of earth as a constructible object, but equally against an organicism marked by unacknowledged traces of racism and sexism, Neyrat shows what it means to appreciate Earth as an unsubstitutable becoming: a traject that cannot be replicated in a laboratory. Underway for billions of years, withdrawing into the most distant past and the most inaccessible future, Earth escapes the hubris of all who would remake and master it.

This remarkable book, which will be of interest to those across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, from theorists to shapers of policy, recasts the earth as a singular trajectory that invites humans to turn political ecology into a geopolitics.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Expectation

Philosophy, Literature

Jean-Luc Nancy, Robert Bononno, Jean-Michel Rabaté

Expectation is a major volume of Jean-Luc Nancy’s writings on literature, written across three decades but, for the most part, previously unavailable in English.

More substantial than literary criticism, these essays collectively negotiate literature’s relation to philosophy. Nancy pursues such questions as literature’s claims to truth, the status of narrative, the relation of poetry and prose, and the unity of a book or of a text, and he addresses a number of major European writers, including Dante, Sterne, Rousseau, Hölderlin, Proust, Joyce, and Blanchot.

The final section offers a number of impressive pieces by Nancy that completely merge his concerns for philosophy and literature and philosophy-as-literature. These include a lengthy parody of Valéry’s “La Jeune Parque,” several original poems by Nancy, and a beautiful prose-poetic discourse on an installation by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani that incorporates the Faust theme.

Opening with a substantial Introduction by Jean-Michel Rabaté that elaborates Nancy’s importance as a literary thinker, this book constitutes the most substantial statement to date by one of today’s leading philosophers on a discipline that has been central to his work across his career.

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

Winner, 2018 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures, Modern Language Association

Winner, 2018 German Studies Association DAAD Book Prize in Germanistik and Cultural Studies.

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 Howard R. Marraro Prize

Pre-Occupied Spaces

Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Teresa Fiore

Runner Up Winner of the Edinburgh Gadda Prize - Established Scholars, Cultural Studies Category
Winner of the American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize (20th & 21st Centuries)
Honorable Mention for the Howard R. Marraro Prize

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.

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.

Winner: DAAD/GSA Book Prize

Recoding World Literature

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

B. Venkat Mani

Winner, 2018 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures, Modern Language Association

Winner, 2018 German Studies Association DAAD Book Prize in Germanistik and Cultural Studies.

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: 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

Runner Up Winner of the Edinburgh Gadda Prize - Established Scholars, Cultural Studies Category
Winner of the American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize (20th & 21st Centuries)
Honorable Mention for the Howard R. Marraro Prize

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?

Winner: Harry Levin Prize

Iterations of Loss

Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish

Jeffrey Sacks

In a series of exquisite close readings of Arabic and Arab Jewish writing, Jeffrey Sacks considers the relation of poetic statement to individual and collective loss, the dispossession of peoples and languages, and singular events of destruction in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Addressing the work of Mahmoud Darwish, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Elias Khoury, Edmond Amran El Maleh, Shimon Ballas, and Taha Husayn, Sacks demonstrates the reiterated incursion of loss into the time of life—losses that language declines to mourn. Language occurs as the iteration of loss, confounding its domestication in the form of the monolingual state in the Arabic nineteenth century’s fallout.

Reading the late lyric poetry of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in relation to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, Sacks reconsiders the nineteenth century Arabic nahda and its relation to colonialism, philology, and the European Enlightenment. He argues that this event is one of catastrophic loss, wherein the past suddenly appears as if it belonged to another time. Reading al-Shidyaq’s al-Saq ‘ala al-saq (1855) and the legacies to which it points in post-1948 writing in Arabic, Hebrew, and French, Sacks underlines a displacement and relocation of the Arabic word adab and its practice, offering a novel contribution to Arabic and Middle East Studies, critical theory, poetics, aesthetics, and comparative literature.

Drawing on writings of Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Avital Ronell, Judith Butler, Theodor Adorno, and Edward W. Said, Iterations of Loss shows that language interrupts its pacification as an event of aesthetic coherency, to suggest that literary comparison does not privilege a renewed giving of sense but gives place to a new sense of relation.

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: ACP Excellence in Publishing Awards in the Biography Category

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.

Shortlisted: Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies

Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship

Aaron Goodfellow

While the topic of gay marriage and families continues to be popular in the media, few scholarly works focus on gay men with children. Based on ten years of fieldwork among gay families living in the rural, suburban, and urban area of the eastern United States, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship presents a beautifully written and meticulously argued ethnography of gay men and the families they have formed.

In a culture that places a premium on biology as the founding event of paternity, Aaron Goodfellow poses the question: Can the signing of legal contracts and the public performances of care replace biological birth as the singular event marking the creation of fathers? Beginning with a comprehensive review of the relevant literature in this field, four chapters—each presenting a particular picture of paternity—explore a range of issues, such as interracial adoption, surrogacy, the importance of physical resemblance in familial relationships, single parenthood, delinquency, and the ways in which the state may come to define the norms of health. The author deftly illustrates how fatherhood for gay men draws on established biological, theological, and legal images of the family often thought oppressive to the emergence of queer forms of social life.

Chosen with care and described with great sensitivity, each carefully researched case examines gay fatherhood through life narratives. Painstakingly theorized, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship contends that gay families are one of the most important areas to which social scientists might turn in order to understand how law, popular culture, and biology are simultaneously made manifest and interrogated in everyday life. By focusing specifically on gay fathers, Goodfellow produces an anthropological account of how paternity, sexuality, and masculinity are leveraged in relations of care between gay fathers and their children.

Winner: The Herbert H. Lehman Distinguished Book Prize

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: European Studies Book Award

The Historical Uncanny

Disability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory

Susanne C. Knittel

The Historical Uncanny explores how certain memories become inscribed into the heritage of a country or region while others are suppressed or forgotten. In response to the erasure of historical memories that discomfit a public’s self-understanding, this book proposes the historical uncanny as that which resists reification precisely because it cannot be assimilated to dominant discourses of commemoration.

Focusing on the problems of representation and reception, the book explores memorials for two marginalized aspects of Holocaust: the Nazi euthanasia program directed against the mentally ill and disabled and the Fascist persecution of Slovenes, Croats, and Jews in and around Trieste. Reading these memorials together with literary and artistic texts, Knittel redefines “sites of memory” as assemblages of cultural artifacts and discourses that accumulate over time; they emerge as a physical and a cultural space that is continually redefined, rewritten, and re-presented.

In bringing perspectives from disability studies and postcolonialism to the question of memory, Knittel unsettles our understanding of the Holocaust and its place in the culture of contemporary Europe.

Longlisted: Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return

Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church

Valentina Napolitano

Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return examines contemporary migration in the context of a Roman Catholic Church eager to both comprehend and act upon the movements of peoples. Combining extensive fieldwork with lay and religious Latin American migrants in Rome and analysis of the Catholic Church’s historical desires and anxieties around conversion since the period of colonization, Napolitano sketches the dynamics of a return to a faith’s putative center. Against a Eurocentric notion of Catholic identity, Napolitano shows how the Americas reorient Europe.

Napolitano examines both popular and institutional Catholicism in the celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe and El Senor de los Milagros, papal encyclicals, the Latin American Catholic Mission, and the order of the Legionaries of Christ. Tracing the affective contours of documented and undocumented immigrants’ experiences and the Church’s multiple postures toward transnational migration, she shows how different ways of being Catholic inform constructions of gender, labor, and sexuality whose fault lines intersect across contemporary Europe.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe

Lucian N. Leustean

Nation-building processes in the Orthodox commonwealth brought together political institutions and religious communities in their shared aims of achieving national sovereignty. Chronicling how the churches of Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia acquired independence from the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the wake of the Ottoman Empire’s decline, Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe examines the role of Orthodox churches in the construction of national identities.

Drawing on archival material available after the fall of communism in southeastern Europe and Russia, as well as material published in Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Russian, Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe analyzes the challenges posed by nationalism to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the ways in which Orthodox churches engaged in the nationalist ideology.

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

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.

Winner: Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies

The Reject

Community, Politics, and Religion after the Subject

Irving Goh

This book proposes a theory of the reject, a more adequate figure than the subject for thinking friendship, love, community, democracy, the postsecular, and the posthuman.

Through close readings of Nancy, Deleuze, Derrida, Cixous, Clement, Bataille, Balibar, Ranciere, and Badiou, Goh shows how the reject has always been nascent in contemporary French thought. The recent turn to animals and bare life, as well as the rise of the Occupy movement, he argues, presents a special urgency to think the reject today.

Thinking the reject most importantly helps to advance our commitment to affirm others without acculturating their differences. But the reject also offers, Goh proposes, a response finally commensurate with the radical horizon of Nancy’s question of who comes after the subject.

Winner: Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book

At Freedom's Limit

Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament

Sadia Abbas

The subject of this book is a new “Islam.” This Islam began to take shape in 1988 around the Rushdie affair, the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the first Gulf War of 1991. It was consolidated in the period following September 11, 2001. It is a name, a discursive site, a signifier at once flexible and constrained—indeed, it
is a geopolitical agon, in and around which some of the most pressing aporias of modernity, enlightenment, liberalism, and reformation are worked out.

At this discursive site are many metonyms for Islam: the veiled or “pious” Muslim woman, the militant, the minority Muslim injured by Western free speech. Each of these figures functions as a cipher enabling repeated encounters with the question “How do we free ourselves from freedom?” Again and again, freedom is imagined as Western, modern, imperial—a dark imposition of Enlightenment. The pious and injured Muslim who desires his or her own enslavement is imagined as freedom’s other.

At Freedom’s Limit is an intervention into current debates regarding religion, secularism, and Islam and provides a deep critique of the anthropology and sociology of Islam that have consolidated this formation. It shows that, even as this Islam gains increasing traction in cultural production from television shows to movies to novels, the most intricate contestations of Islam so construed are to be found in the work of Muslim writers and painters.

This book includes extended readings of jihadist proclamations; postcolonial law; responses to law from minorities in Muslim-majority societies; Islamophobic films; the novels of Leila Aboulela, Mohammed Hanif, and Nadeem Aslam; and the paintings of Komail Aijazuddin.

Winner: NCA Ethnography Division Best Book Award

Home, Uprooted

Oral Histories of India's Partition

Devika Chawla

The Indian Independence Act of 1947 granted India freedom from British rule, signaling the formal end of the British Raj in the subcontinent. This freedom, though, came at a price: partition, the division of the country into India and Pakistan, and the communal riots that followed. These riots resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1 million Hindus and Muslims and the displacement of about 20 million persons on both sides of the border. This watershed socioeconomic–geopolitical moment cast an enduring shadow on India’s relationship with neighboring Pakistan. Presenting a perspective of the middle-class refugees who were forced from their homes, jobs, and lives with the withdrawal of British rule in India, Home, Uprooted delves into the lives of forty-five Partition refugees and their descendants to show how this epochal event continues to shape their lives.

Exploring the oral histories of three generations of refugees from India’s Partition—ten Hindu and Sikh families in Delhi, Home, Uprooted melds oral histories with a fresh perspective on current literature to unravel the emergent conceptual nexus of home, travel, and identity in the stories of the participants. Author Devika Chawla argues that the ways in which her participants imagine, recollect, memorialize, or “abandon” home in their everyday narratives give us unique insights into how refugee identities are constituted. These stories reveal how migrations are enacted and what home—in its sense, absence, and presence—can mean for displaced populations.

Written in an accessible and experimental style that blends biography, autobiography, essay, and performative writing, Home, Uprooted folds in field narratives with Chawla’s own family history, which was also shaped by the Partition event and her self-propelled migration to North America. In contemplating and living their stories of home, she attempts to show how her own ancestral legacies of Partition displacement bear relief.

Home—how we experience it and what it says about the “selves” we come to occupy—is a crucial question of our contemporary moment. Home, Uprooted delivers a unique and poignant perspective on this timely question. This compilation of stories offers an iteration of how diasporic migrations might be enacted and what
“home” means to displaced populations.

Winner: Outstanding Book, International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) of the National Communication Association

Home, Uprooted

Oral Histories of India's Partition

Devika Chawla

The Indian Independence Act of 1947 granted India freedom from British rule, signaling the formal end of the British Raj in the subcontinent. This freedom, though, came at a price: partition, the division of the country into India and Pakistan, and the communal riots that followed. These riots resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1 million Hindus and Muslims and the displacement of about 20 million persons on both sides of the border. This watershed socioeconomic–geopolitical moment cast an enduring shadow on India’s relationship with neighboring Pakistan. Presenting a perspective of the middle-class refugees who were forced from their homes, jobs, and lives with the withdrawal of British rule in India, Home, Uprooted delves into the lives of forty-five Partition refugees and their descendants to show how this epochal event continues to shape their lives.

Exploring the oral histories of three generations of refugees from India’s Partition—ten Hindu and Sikh families in Delhi, Home, Uprooted melds oral histories with a fresh perspective on current literature to unravel the emergent conceptual nexus of home, travel, and identity in the stories of the participants. Author Devika Chawla argues that the ways in which her participants imagine, recollect, memorialize, or “abandon” home in their everyday narratives give us unique insights into how refugee identities are constituted. These stories reveal how migrations are enacted and what home—in its sense, absence, and presence—can mean for displaced populations.

Written in an accessible and experimental style that blends biography, autobiography, essay, and performative writing, Home, Uprooted folds in field narratives with Chawla’s own family history, which was also shaped by the Partition event and her self-propelled migration to North America. In contemplating and living their stories of home, she attempts to show how her own ancestral legacies of Partition displacement bear relief.

Home—how we experience it and what it says about the “selves” we come to occupy—is a crucial question of our contemporary moment. Home, Uprooted delivers a unique and poignant perspective on this timely question. This compilation of stories offers an iteration of how diasporic migrations might be enacted and what
“home” means to displaced populations.

Winner: Award for Excellence, Greater Hudson Heritage Network

Strut

The Peacock and Beauty in Art

Bartholomew F. Bland, Laura L. Vookles, Hudson River Museum

Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art explores our fascination with that most glamorous of birds.

The peacock, strutting in its sapphire-blue and emerald-green plumage, symbolizes all things vain and beautiful in centuries of painting and sculpture, in books, and on clothes that swirl and shine like the iridescent bird itself.

Intrigued by the exotic art of Asia that prized and portrayed the peacock and its trail of an emblazoned train of feathers, Western artists in the 1890s chose the bird as a symbol of design on their canvases and for objects in the home.

Though striking Gilded Age peacock imagery escalated in fin-de-siècle French Art Nouveau and the Art Deco of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression of 1929 quelled the idea of beauty for its own sake; art now needed to be more than beautiful— it should serve, first, the social good. While in the aftermath of the Depression and a world war Americans of the ’50s looked, again, for luxury, modernism gave rise to the ethos “Less is more.” The peacock’s profile changed once more, this time into a symbol of drama and decadence.

Today, as the contemporary art world renews its embrace of visual beauty, the peacock in form, color, and association resurges.

The first major scholarly examination of the peacock in visual arts in the United States, England, and France, from the nineteenth century’s Gilded Age to today, Strut, organized by the Hudson River Museum, has assembled paintings and decorative arts from museums and private collections throughout the United States.

Contributing essays to the catalog Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art by Bartholomew F. Bland; Penelope Fritzer; Kirsten M. Jensen; Melissa J. Martens; Ellen E. Roberts; and Laura L. Vookles.

Winner: American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence, Constructive-Reflective Studies

Tastes of the Divine

Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion

Michelle Voss Roberts

The intensity and meaningfulness of aesthetic experience have often been described in theological terms. By designating basic human emotions as rasa, a word that connotes taste, flavor, or essence, Indian aesthetic theory conceptualizes emotional states as something to be savored. At their core, emotions can be tastes of the divine. In this book, the methods of the emerging discipline of comparative theology enable the author’s appreciation of Hindu texts and practices to illuminate her Christian reflections on aesthetics and emotion.

Three emotions vie for prominence in the religious sphere: peace, love, and fury. Whereas Indian theorists following Abhinavagupta claim that the aesthetic emotion of peace best approximates the goal of religious experience, devotees of Krishna and medieval Christian readings of the Song of Songs argue that love communicates most powerfully with divinity. In response to the transcendence emphasized in both approaches, the book turns to fury at injustice to attend to emotion’s foundations in the material realm. The implications of this constructive theology of emotion for Christian liturgy, pastoral care, and social engagement are manifold.

Shortlisted: Modernist Studies Association First Book Prize

Insurgent Testimonies

Witnessing Colonial Trauma in Modern and Anglophone Literature

Nicole M. Rizzuto

During the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, insurgencies erupted in imperial states and colonies around the world, including Britain’s. As Nicole Rizzuto shows, the writings of Ukrainian-born Joseph Conrad, Anglo-Irish Rebecca West, Jamaicans H. G. de Lisser and V. S. Reid, and Kenyan Ng gi wa Thiong’o testify to contested events in colonial modernity in ways that question premises underlying approaches in trauma and memory studies and invite us to reassess divisions and classifications in literary studies that generate such categories as modernist, colonial, postcolonial, national, and world literatures.

Departing from tenets of modernist studies and from methods in the field of trauma and memory studies, Rizzuto contends that acute as well as chronic disruptions to imperial and national power and the legal and extra-legal responses they inspired shape the formal practices of literatures from the modernist, colonial, and postcolonial periods.

Commended: International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Book Award

Home, Uprooted

Oral Histories of India's Partition

Devika Chawla

The Indian Independence Act of 1947 granted India freedom from British rule, signaling the formal end of the British Raj in the subcontinent. This freedom, though, came at a price: partition, the division of the country into India and Pakistan, and the communal riots that followed. These riots resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1 million Hindus and Muslims and the displacement of about 20 million persons on both sides of the border. This watershed socioeconomic–geopolitical moment cast an enduring shadow on India’s relationship with neighboring Pakistan. Presenting a perspective of the middle-class refugees who were forced from their homes, jobs, and lives with the withdrawal of British rule in India, Home, Uprooted delves into the lives of forty-five Partition refugees and their descendants to show how this epochal event continues to shape their lives.

Exploring the oral histories of three generations of refugees from India’s Partition—ten Hindu and Sikh families in Delhi, Home, Uprooted melds oral histories with a fresh perspective on current literature to unravel the emergent conceptual nexus of home, travel, and identity in the stories of the participants. Author Devika Chawla argues that the ways in which her participants imagine, recollect, memorialize, or “abandon” home in their everyday narratives give us unique insights into how refugee identities are constituted. These stories reveal how migrations are enacted and what home—in its sense, absence, and presence—can mean for displaced populations.

Written in an accessible and experimental style that blends biography, autobiography, essay, and performative writing, Home, Uprooted folds in field narratives with Chawla’s own family history, which was also shaped by the Partition event and her self-propelled migration to North America. In contemplating and living their stories of home, she attempts to show how her own ancestral legacies of Partition displacement bear relief.

Home—how we experience it and what it says about the “selves” we come to occupy—is a crucial question of our contemporary moment. Home, Uprooted delivers a unique and poignant perspective on this timely question. This compilation of stories offers an iteration of how diasporic migrations might be enacted and what
“home” means to displaced populations.

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: Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

Apocalypse-Cinema

2012 and Other Ends of the World

Peter Szendy, Will Bishop, Samuel Weber

Apocalypse-cinema is not only the end of time that has so often been staged as spectacle in films like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Terminator. By looking at blockbusters that play with general annihilation while also paying close attention to films like Melancholia, Cloverfield, Blade Runner, and Twelve Monkeys, this book suggests that in the apocalyptic genre, film gnaws at its own limit.

Apocalypse-cinema is, at the same time and with the same double blow, the end of the world and the end of the film. It is the consummation and the (self-)consumption of cinema, in the form of an acinema that Lyotard evoked as the nihilistic horizon of filmic economy. The innumerable countdowns, dazzling radiations, freeze-overs, and seismic cracks and crevices are but other names and pretexts for staging film itself, with its economy of time and its rewinds, its overexposed images and fades to white, its freeze-frames and digital touch-ups.

The apocalyptic genre is not just one genre among others: It plays with the very conditions of possibility of cinema. And it bears witness to the fact that, every time, in each and every film, what Jean-Luc Nancy called the cine-world is exposed on the verge of disappearing.

In a Postface specially written for the English edition, Szendy extends his argument into a debate with speculative materialism. Apocalypse-cinema, he argues, announces itself as cinders that question the “ultratestimonial” structure of the filmic gaze. The cine-eye, he argues, eludes the correlationism and anthropomorphic structure that speculative materialists have placed under critique, allowing only the ashes it bears to be heard.

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.

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.

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