We are experiencing COVID-related supply chain delays. Please note, orders are currently taking 10-15 days to be delivered. We thank you for your understanding and patience.

X
Skip to content

Award Winners

Commended: Wall Award

Reginald Rose and the Journey of 12 Angry Men

Phil Rosenzweig

Finalist, 2021 Wall Award

The untold story behind one of America’s greatest dramas

In early 1957, a low-budget black-and-white movie opened across the United States. Consisting of little more than a dozen men arguing in a dingy room, it was a failure at the box office and soon faded from view.

Today, 12 Angry Men is acclaimed as a movie classic, revered by the critics, beloved by the public, and widely performed as a stage play, touching audiences around the world. It is also a favorite of the legal profession for its portrayal of ordinary citizens reaching a just verdict and widely taught for its depiction of group dynamics and human relations. Few twentieth-century American dramatic works have had the acclaim and impact of 12 Angry Men.

Reginald Rose and the Journey of “12 Angry Men” tells two stories: the life of a great writer and the journey of his most famous work, one that ultimately outshined its author. More than any writer in the Golden Age of Television, Reginald Rose took up vital social issues of the day—from racial prejudice to juvenile delinquency to civil liberties—and made them accessible to a wide audience. His 1960s series, The Defenders, was the finest drama of its age and set the standard for legal dramas. This book brings Reginald Rose’s long and successful career, its origins and accomplishments, into view at long last.

By placing 12 Angry Men in its historical and social context—the rise of television, the blacklist, and the struggle for civil rights—author Phil Rosenzweig traces the story of this brilliant courtroom drama, beginning with the chance experience that inspired Rose, to its performance on CBS’s Westinghouse Studio One in 1954, to the feature film with Henry Fonda. The book describes Sidney Lumet’s casting, the sudden death of one actor, and the contribution of cinematographer Boris Kaufman. It explores the various drafts of the drama, with characters modified and scenes added and deleted, with Rose settling on the shattering climax only days before filming began.

Drawing on extensive research and brimming with insight, this book casts new light on one of America’s great dramas—and about its author, a man of immense talent and courage.

Author royalties will be donated equally to the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School and the Justice John Paul Stevens Jury Center at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Winner: Vasiliki Karagiannaki Prize for the Best Edited Volume in Modern Greek Studies

Redirecting Ethnic Singularity

Yiorgos Anagnostou, Yiorgos D. Kalogeras, Theodora Patrona, Eleftheria Arapoglou, Angelyn Balodimas-Bartolomei, Jim Cocola, Francesca de Lucia, Donna R. Gabaccia, Fred Gardaphe, Kostis Kourelis, Panayotis League, Stefano Luconi, Michail C. Markodimitrakis, Andonis Piperoglou, Fevronia K. Soumakis, Sostene Massimo Zangari, Yiorgos Anagnostou, Yiorgos D. Kalogeras, Theodora Patrona

Winner: Vasiliki Karagiannaki Prize for the Best Edited Volume in Modern Greek Studies

Promotes the understanding of Italian Americans and Greek Americans through the study of their interactions and juxtapositions.

Redirecting Ethnic Singularity: Italian Americans and Greek Americans in Conversation contributes to U.S. ethnic and immigration studies by bringing into conversation scholars working in the fields of Italian American and Greek American studies in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The work moves beyond the “single group” approach—an approach that privileges the study of ethnic singularity––to explore instead two ethnic groups in relation to each other in the broader context of the United States. The chapters bring into focus transcultural interfaces and inquire comparatively about similarities and differences in cultural representations associated with these two groups.

This co-edited volume contributes to the fields of transcultural and comparative studies. The book is multi-disciplinary. It features scholarship from the perspectives of architecture, ethnomusicology, education, history, cultural and literary studies, and film studies, as well as whiteness studies. It examines the production of ethnicity in the context of American political culture as well as that of popular culture, including visual representations (documentary, film, TV series) and “low brow” crime fiction. It includes analysis of literature. It involves comparative work on religious architecture, transoceanic circulation of racialized categories, translocal interconnections in the formation of pan-Mediterranean identities, and the making of the immigrant past in documentaries from Italian and Greek filmmakers. This volume is the first of its kind in initiating a multidisciplinary transcultural and comparative study across European Americans.

Commended: Third Place - Catholic Media Association: Catholic Social Teaching

Just Universities

Gerald J. Beyer

Third Place, Catholic Media Association: Catholic Social Teaching

Gerald J. Beyer’s Just Universities discusses ways that U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education have embodied or failed to embody Catholic social teaching in their campus policies and practices. Beyer argues that the corporatization of the university has infected U.S. higher education with hyper-individualistic models and practices that hinder the ability of Catholic institutions to create an environment imbued with bedrock values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as respect for human rights, solidarity, and justice. Beyer problematizes corporatized higher education and shows how it has adversely affected efforts at Catholic schools to promote worker justice on campus; equitable admissions; financial aid; retention policies; diversity and inclusion policies that treat people of color, women, and LGBTQ persons as full community members; just investment; and stewardship of resources and the environment.

Winner: Ezra Pound Society Book Prize

Cathay

Ezra Pound, Timothy Billings, Christopher Bush, Haun Saussy

Winner, Ezra Pound Society Book Prize
Finalist, Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism
Finalist, Modernist Studies Association Book Prize for an Edition, Anthology, or Essay Collection

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.

Commended: Alanna Bodnar Memorial Book Prize for the Environmental Humanities

Gasoline Dreams

Simon Orpana, Imre Szeman, Mark Simpson

A graphic novel that confronts our habits, narratives, and fantasies head-on to help
break our petroleum dependency

What if the biggest barriers to responding to climate change are not technological or governmental but, rather, cultural? In other words, what if we ourselves could help to enact change through a deeper understanding of our petroleum dependency? In a provocative graphic format that draws widely from history, critical theory, and popular culture, Gasoline Dreams explores and challenges the ways fossil fuels have shaped our identities, relationships, and our ability to imagine sustainable, equitable futures.

As our rapidly warming planet is pushed toward ecological collapse, we might often feel helpless or paralyzed by the enormity of the challenges confronting us. However, reflecting upon the cultural dimensions of our predicament helps reveal the great potential for social transformation inherent in the multiplying crises. Author and artist Simon Orpana engages with contemporary scholarship in the emergent field of Energy Humanities to confront the habits, narratives, and fantasies that support our attachment to fossil fuels. By revealing the many ways petroculture repeatedly fails to deliver on its promises of “the good life,” Gasoline Dreams calls us to the difficult work of waking up from the fantasies that inhibit us from working toward a global transition to renewable energy.

Written in an engaging graphic format that makes relevant historical, cultural, and political analyses of global warming and petrol dependency important to a wide audience, Gasoline Dreams refutes the progress narratives that depict contemporary, energy-intensive societies as the inevitable product of human history. By revealing the contingencies, coercions, and compulsions this myth disguises, the book allows us to imagine truly progressive alternatives. Rather than casting climate change as a problem for technological elites to solve, the book confronts the everyday realities that reinforce our dependence on fossil fuels, offering a space of hope and engagement from which concerned people can work to build a more sustainable future.

On the threshold of the single greatest transformation the human species has yet faced, Gasoline Dreams challenges us to start living, working, and dreaming differently to become less culturally dependent on petroleum.

Commended: René Wellek Prize

Cold War Reckonings

Jini Kim Watson

Honorable Mention, 2022 René Wellek Prize

How did the Cold War shape culture and political power in decolonizing countries and give rise to authoritarian regimes in the so-called free world? Cold War Reckonings tells a new story about the Cold War and the global shift from colonialism to independent nation-states. Assembling a body of transpacific cultural works that speak to this historical conjuncture, Jini Kim Watson reveals autocracy to be not a deficient form of liberal democracy, but rather the result of Cold War entanglements with decolonization.

Focusing on East and Southeast Asia, the book scrutinizes cultural texts ranging from dissident poetry, fiction, and writers’ conference proceedings of the Cold War period, to more recent literature, graphic novels, and films that retrospectively look back to these decades with a critical eye. Paying particular attention to anti-communist repression and state infrastructures of violence, the book provides a richaccount of several U.S.–allied Cold War regimes in the Asia Pacific, including the South Korean military dictatorship, Marcos’ rule in the Philippines, illiberal Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, and Suharto’s Indonesia.

Watson’s book argues that the cultural forms and narrative techniques that emerged from the Cold War-decolonizing matrix offer new ways of comprehending these histories and connecting them to our present. The book advances our understanding of the global reverberations of the Cold War and its enduring influence on cultural and political formations in the Asia Pacific.


Cold War Reckonings is available from the publisher on an open-access basis.

Commended: Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards - 2021 BRONZE Winner for Biography

Eunice Hunton Carter

Marilyn Greenwald, Yun Li

2022 PROSE Awards Category Winner - Biography & Autobiography
Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards - 2021 BRONZE Winner for Biography

The fascinating biography of Eunice Hunton Carter, a social justice and civil rights trailblazer and the only woman prosecutor on the Luciano trial

Eunice Hunton Carter rose to public prominence in 1936 as both the only woman and the only person of color on Thomas Dewey’s famous gangbuster team that prosecuted mobster Lucky Luciano. But her life before and after the trial remains relatively unknown. In this definitive biography on this trailblazing social justice activist, authors Marilyn S. Greenwald and Yun Li tell the story of this unknown but critical pioneer in the struggle for racial and gender equality in the twentieth century.

Carter worked harder than most men because of her race and gender, and Greenwald and Li reflect on her lifelong commitment to her adopted home of Harlem, where she was viewed as a role model, arts patron, community organizer, and, later, as a legal advisor to the United Nations, the National Council of Negro Women, and several other national and global organizations.

Carter was both a witness to and a participant in many pivotal events of the early and mid– twentieth century, including the Harlem riot of 1935 and the social scene during the Harlem Renaissance.

Using transcripts, letters, and other primary and secondary sources from several archives in the United States and Canada, the authors paint a colorful portrait of how Eunice continued the legacy of the Carter family, which valued education, perseverance, and hard work: a grandfather who was a slave who bought his freedom and became a successful businessman in a small colony of former slaves in Ontario, Canada; a father who nearly single-handedly integrated the nation’s YMCAs in the Jim Crow South; and a mother who provided aid to Black soldiers in France during World War I and who became a leader in several global and domestic racial equality causes.

Carter’s inspirational multi-decade career working in an environment of bias, segregation, and patriarchy in Depression-era America helped pave the way for those who came after her.

Shortlisted: ASLE Ecocriticism Book Award

The Disposition of Nature

Jennifer Wenzel

Finalist, 2022 Ecocriticism Book Prize, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
Shortlisted, 2020 Book Prize, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present

How do literature and other cultural forms shape how we imagine the planet, for better or worse? In this rich, original, and long awaited book, Jennifer Wenzel tackles the formal innovations, rhetorical appeals, and sociological imbrications of world literature that might help us confront unevenly distributed environmental crises, including global warming.

The Disposition of Nature argues that assumptions about what nature is are at stake in conflicts over how it is inhabited or used. Both environmental discourse and world literature scholarship tend to confuse parts and wholes. Working with writing and film from Africa, South Asia, and beyond, Wenzel takes a contrapuntal approach to sites and subjects dispersed across space and time. Reading for the planet, Wenzel shows, means reading from near to there: across experiential divides, between specific sites, at more than one scale.

Impressive in its disciplinary breadth, Wenzel’s book fuses insights from political ecology, geography, anthropology, history, and law, while drawing on active debates between postcolonial theory and world literature, as well as scholarship on the Anthropocene and the material turn. In doing so, the book shows the importance of the literary to environmental thought and practice, elaborating how a supple understanding of cultural imagination and narrative logics can foster more robust accounts of global inequality and energize movements for justice and livable futures.

Winner: Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Prize

The Worlding of Arabic Literature

Anna Ziajka Stanton

Winner of the Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Award

The Worlding of Arabic Literature: Language, Affect, and the Ethics of Translatability is available from the publisher on an open-access basis.

Winner: Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show in the Scholarly Illustrated Category

Form and Feeling

Antonio Sergio Bessa, Michael Asbury, Antonio Sergio Bessa, Claudia Calirman, Frederico Coelho, Simone Homem de Mello, Marcos Gonçalves, Jose Lira, Fernanda Lopes, Martin Mäntele, Adele Nelson, Eduardo Oliveira, Claudia Saldanha, Eduardo Sterzi, Luisa Valle

Winner, 2022 Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show in the Scholarly Illustrated Category

A significant contribution on the development and aftermath of post–World War II Concretism in Brazil

Form and Feeling features a collection of essays by noted scholars exploring the sensorial, experience-based, and participatory practices pioneered in the 1950s by artists and poets such as Flávio de Carvalho, Ivan Serpa, Hélio Oiticica, Haroldo de Campos, Mary Vieira, Lygia Pape, Anna Maria Maiolino, Lygia Clark, Waly Salomão, and Emil Forman, among many others. Fourteen thought-provoking essays examine how many of their strategies constituted a pertinent critique of the country’s wide-ranging embrace of Eurocentric modernity while anticipating a number of practices prevalent among contemporary artists today—namely, the rise of art as social practice, the embrace of pedagogical concerns by artists, and relational aesthetics.

The fourteen essays collected in this volume consider the ramifications of modernist abstraction in the second half of the twentieth century and contribute to a growing academic field in postwar Brazilian and Latin American art history. Contributions to this anthology examine the development of modernist ideas that flourished in Brazil during a controversial period interspersed by dictatorial regimes. The global aspect of Brazilian art is especially evident in these studies, presenting the relational complexity of their subjects as transcultural, transnational actors while simultaneously contributing to a growing, increasingly nuanced understanding of visual and material culture, performance, and criticism in Brazil.

Form and Feeling continues the important process of re-analyzing the intersections of Concretism and Neo concretism, arguing for greater affinities between the primary and lesser-known cast of characters while equally redistributing the strict geographical divisions of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This anthology broadly situates this extraordinary period of artistic experimentation in direct relationship to contemporary factors, such as psychoanalysis, educational systems, poetry, politics, and feminism. It crafts innovative relationships about the constructive hierarchies of form and space, poetry and painting, and mathematics and philosophy, thus engendering new positions for a deeply ensconced period in Brazilian history.

Shortlisted: The French-American Foundation Translation Prize

In Defense of Secrets

Anne Dufourmantelle, Lindsay Turner

Finalist, French-American Foundation Translation Prize

In an age that prizes political and personal transparency, In Defense of Secrets champions the secret as what permits relation and ensures our humanity.

Psychoanalyst and philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle drowned in 2017 in an attempt to rescue two children caught in the ocean. Her work lives on, though, in this provocative and necessary book. Through etymologies and case studies, personal history and incisive commentary on contemporary society, In Defense of Secrets returns us to the fundamental psychic scene of the secret. The secret, for Dufourmantelle, is not a code to be cracked or a firewall to be penetrated but a dynamic and powerful entity that permits relation and that ensures our humanity.

Tracking the secret though art and literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and sociology, from the Inquisition to the present, Dufourmantelle’s writing spirals around the question of the secret’s value. In our age, when political and personal transparency seem to be prized above all—lives posted on the Internet, information leaked, whistles blown, taboos absent except with respect to the secret itself—In Defense of Secrets champions what remains hidden, private, veiled, hushed, just out of sight. The secret is on the side of nature, not science; organic growth, not technology; love’s generosity, not knowledge’s grasp.

For Dufourmantelle, the secret is a powerful and dynamic thing: deadly if unheard or misused, perhaps, but equally the source of creativity and of ethics. An ethics of the secret, we can hear her say, means listening hard and sensitively, respecting the secret in its secret essence, unafraid of it and open to what it has to say.

Shortlisted: Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies

Homo Psyche

Gila Ashtor

2022 Lammy Finalist, LGBTQ Studies

Can queer theory be erotophobic? This book proceeds from the perplexing observation that for all of its political agita, rhetorical virtuosity, and intellectual restlessness, queer theory conforms to a model of erotic life that is psychologically conservative and narrow. Even after several decades of combative, dazzling, irreverent queer critical thought, the field remains far from grasping that sexuality’s radical potential lies in its being understood as “exogenous, intersubjective and intrusive” (Laplanche). In particular, and despite the pervasiveness and popularity of recent calls to deconstruct the ideological foundations of contemporary queer thought, no study has as yet considered or in any way investigated the singular role of psychology in shaping the field’s conceptual impasses and politico-ethical limitations.

Through close readings of key thinkers in queer theoretical thought—Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Leo Bersani, Lee Edelman, Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, and Jane Gallop—Homo Psyche introduces metapsychology as a new dimension of analysis vis-à-vis the theories of French psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche, who insisted on “new foundations for psychoanalysis” that radically departed from existing Freudian and Lacanian models of the mind. Staging this intervention, Ashtor deepens current debates about the future of queer studies by demonstrating how the field’s systematic neglect of metapsychology as a necessary and independent realm of ideology ultimately enforces the complicity of queer studies with psychological conventions that are fundamentally erotophobic and therefore inimical to queer theory’s radical and ethical project.

Winner: The Frantz Fanon Prize

White Reconstruction

Dylan Rodríguez

Winner, The Frantz Fanon Award for an Outstanding Book in Caribbean Thought

We are in the fray of another signature moment in the long history of the United States as a project of anti Black and racial–colonial violence. Long before November 2016, white nationalism, white terrorism, and white fascist statecraft proliferated. Thinking across a variety of archival, testimonial, visual, and activist texts—from Freedmen’s Bureau documents and the “Join LAPD” hiring campaign to Barry Goldwater’s hidden tattoo and the Pelican Bay prison strike—Dylan Rodríguez counter-narrates the long “post–civil rights” half-century as a period of White Reconstruction, in which the struggle to reassemble the ascendancy of White Being permeates the political and institutional logics of diversity, inclusion, formal equality, and “multiculturalist white supremacy.”

Throughout White Reconstruction, Rodríguez considers how the creative, imaginative, speculative collective labor of abolitionist praxis can displace and potentially destroy the ascendancy of White Being and Civilization in order to create possibilities for insurgent thriving.

Winner: HTI Book Prize

Commodified Communion

Antonio Eduardo Alonso

WINNER, 2021 HTI BOOK PRIZE

Resist! This exhortation animates a remarkable range of theological reflection on consumer culture in the United States. And for many theologians, the source and summit of Christian cultural resistance is the Eucharist. In Commodified Communion, Antonio Eduardo Alonso calls into question this dominant mode of theological reflection on contemporary consumerism. Reducing the work of theology to resistance and centering Christian hope in a Eucharist that might better support it, he argues, undermines our ability to talk about the activity of God within a consumer culture. By reframing the question in terms of God’s activity in and in spite of consumer culture, this book offers a lived theological account of consumer culture that recognizes not only its deceptions but also traces of truth in its broken promises and fallen hopes.

Shortlisted: Bram Stoker Awards

Giving the Devil His Due

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Regina M. Hansen, Simon Bacon, Katherine A. Fowkes, Regina M. Hansen, David Hauka, Russ Hunter, Barry C. Knowlton, Eloise R. Knowlton, Murray Leeder, Catherine O'Brien, R. Barton Palmer, Carl H. Sederholm, David Sterritt, J.P. Telotte, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Finalist, 2021 Bram Stoker Awards (Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction)

The first collection of essays to address Satan’s ubiquitous and popular appearances in film

Lucifer and cinema have been intertwined since the origins of the medium. As humankind’s greatest antagonist and the incarnation of pure evil, the cinematic devil embodies our own culturally specific anxieties and desires, reflecting moviegoers’ collective conceptions of good and evil, right and wrong, sin and salvation. Giving the Devil His Due is the first book of its kind to examine the history and significance of Satan onscreen.

This collection explores how the devil is not just one monster among many, nor is he the “prince of darkness” merely because he has repeatedly flickered across cinema screens in darkened rooms since the origins of the medium. Satan is instead a force active in our lives. Films featuring the devil, therefore, are not just flights of fancy but narratives, sometimes reinforcing, sometimes calling into question, a familiar belief system.

From the inception of motion pictures in the 1890s and continuing into the twenty-first century, these essays examine what cinematic representations tell us about the art of filmmaking, the desires of the film-going public, what the cultural moments of the films reflect, and the reciprocal influence they exert. Loosely organized chronologically by film, though some chapters address more than one film, this collection studies such classic movies as Faust, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, Angel Heart, The Witch, and The Last Temptation of Christ, as well as the appearance of the Devil in Disney animation.

Guiding the contributions to this volume is the overarching idea that cinematic representations of Satan reflect not only the hypnotic powers of cinema to explore and depict the fantastic but also shifting social anxieties and desires that concern human morality and our place in the universe.

Contributors: Simon Bacon, Katherine A. Fowkes, Regina Hansen, David Hauka, Russ Hunter, Barry C. Knowlton, Eloise R. Knowlton, Murray Leeder, Catherine O’Brien, R. Barton Palmer, Carl H. Sederholm, David Sterritt, J. P. Telotte, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Winner: PROSE Awards Category Winner - Biography & Autobiography

Eunice Hunton Carter

Marilyn Greenwald, Yun Li

2022 PROSE Awards Category Winner - Biography & Autobiography
Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards - 2021 BRONZE Winner for Biography

The fascinating biography of Eunice Hunton Carter, a social justice and civil rights trailblazer and the only woman prosecutor on the Luciano trial

Eunice Hunton Carter rose to public prominence in 1936 as both the only woman and the only person of color on Thomas Dewey’s famous gangbuster team that prosecuted mobster Lucky Luciano. But her life before and after the trial remains relatively unknown. In this definitive biography on this trailblazing social justice activist, authors Marilyn S. Greenwald and Yun Li tell the story of this unknown but critical pioneer in the struggle for racial and gender equality in the twentieth century.

Carter worked harder than most men because of her race and gender, and Greenwald and Li reflect on her lifelong commitment to her adopted home of Harlem, where she was viewed as a role model, arts patron, community organizer, and, later, as a legal advisor to the United Nations, the National Council of Negro Women, and several other national and global organizations.

Carter was both a witness to and a participant in many pivotal events of the early and mid– twentieth century, including the Harlem riot of 1935 and the social scene during the Harlem Renaissance.

Using transcripts, letters, and other primary and secondary sources from several archives in the United States and Canada, the authors paint a colorful portrait of how Eunice continued the legacy of the Carter family, which valued education, perseverance, and hard work: a grandfather who was a slave who bought his freedom and became a successful businessman in a small colony of former slaves in Ontario, Canada; a father who nearly single-handedly integrated the nation’s YMCAs in the Jim Crow South; and a mother who provided aid to Black soldiers in France during World War I and who became a leader in several global and domestic racial equality causes.

Carter’s inspirational multi-decade career working in an environment of bias, segregation, and patriarchy in Depression-era America helped pave the way for those who came after her.

Winner: New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Authors' Awards Program

The Princeton Fugitive Slave

Lolita Buckner Inniss

WINNER, NEW JERSEY STUDIES ACADEMIC ALLIANCE BOOK AWARD

James Collins Johnson made his name by escaping slavery in Maryland and fleeing to Princeton, New Jersey, where he built a life in a bustling community of African Americans working at what is now Princeton University. After only four years, he was recognized by a student from Maryland, arrested, and subjected to a trial for extradition under the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. On the eve of his rendition, after attempts to free Johnson by force had failed, a local aristocratic white woman purchased Johnson’s freedom, allowing him to avoid re-enslavement. The Princeton Fugitive Slave reconstructs James Collins Johnson’s life, from birth and enslaved life in Maryland to his daring escape, sensational trial for re-enslavement, and last-minute change of fortune, and through to the end of his life in Princeton, where he remained a figure of local fascination.

Stories of Johnson’s life in Princeton often describe him as a contented, jovial soul, beloved on campus and memorialized on his gravestone as “The Students Friend.” But these familiar accounts come from student writings and sentimental recollections in alumni reports—stories from elite, predominantly white, often southern sources whose relationships with Johnson were hopelessly distorted by differences in race and social standing. In interrogating these stories against archival records, newspaper accounts, courtroom narratives, photographs, and family histories, author Lolita Buckner Inniss builds a picture of Johnson on his own terms, piecing together the sparse evidence and disaggregating him from the other black vendors with whom he was sometimes confused.

By telling Johnson’s story and examining the relationship between antebellum Princeton’s black residents and the economic engine that supported their community, the book questions the distinction between employment and servitude that shrinks and threatens to disappear when an individual’s freedom is circumscribed by immobility, lack of opportunity, and contingency on local interpretations of a hotly contested body of law.

Shortlisted: MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition

Cathay

Ezra Pound, Timothy Billings, Christopher Bush, Haun Saussy

Winner, Ezra Pound Society Book Prize
Finalist, Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism
Finalist, Modernist Studies Association Book Prize for an Edition, Anthology, or Essay Collection

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: Modernist Studies Association First Book Prize

Thinking Through Crisis

James Edward Ford, III

Winner, 2020 William Sanders Scarborough Prize, Modern Language Association
Honorable Mention, MSA First Book Prize

In Thinking Through Crisis, James Edward Ford III examines the works of Richard Wright, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes during the 1930s in order to articulate a materialist theory of trauma. Ford highlights the dark proletariat’s emergence from the multitude apposite to white supremacist agendas. In these works, Ford argues, proletarian, modernist, and surrealist aesthetics transform fugitive slaves, sharecroppers, leased convicts, levee workers, and activist intellectuals into protagonists of anti-racist and anti-capitalist movements in the United States.

Thinking Through Crisis intervenes in debates on the 1930s, radical subjectivity, and states of emergency. It will be of interest to scholars of American literature, African American literature, proletarian literature, black studies, trauma theory, and political theory.

Winner: Ruth Benedict Book Prize

Hijras, Lovers, Brothers

Vaibhav Saria

Winner, 2021 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences
Winner, 2021 Ruth Benedict Prize, Association for Queer Anthropology

Hijras, one of India’s third gendered or trans populations, have been an enduring presence in the South Asian imagination—in myth, in ritual, and in everyday life, often associated in stigmatized forms with begging and sex work. In more recent years hijras have seen a degree of political emergence as a moral presence in Indian electoral politics, and with heightened vulnerability within global health terms as a high-risk population caught within the AIDS epidemic.

Hijras, Lovers, Brothers recounts two years living with a group of hijras in rural India. In this riveting ethnography, Vaibhav Saria reveals not just a group of stigmatized or marginalized others but a way of life composed of laughter, struggles, and desires that trouble how we read queerness, kinship, and the psyche.

Against easy framings of hijras that render them marginalized, Saria shows how hijras makes the normative Indian family possible. The book also shows that particular practices of hijras, such as refusing to use condoms or comply with retroviral regimes, reflect not ignorance, irresponsibility, or illiteracy but rather a specific idiom of erotic asceticism arising in both Hindu and Islamic traditions. This idiom suffuses the densely intertwined registers of erotics, economics, and kinship that inform the everyday lives of hijras and offer a repertoire of self-fashioning beyond the secular horizons of public health or queer theory.

Engrossingly written and full of keen insights, the book moves from the small pleasures of the everyday—laughter, flirting, teasing—to impossible longings, kinship, and economies of property and substance in order to give a fuller account of trans lives and of Indian society today.

Winner: African Literature Association First Book Award

The Tongue-Tied Imagination

Tobias Warner

Winner, 2021 African Literature Association First Book Award

Should a writer work in a former colonial language or in a vernacular? The language question was one of the great, intractable problems that haunted postcolonial literatures in the twentieth century, but it has since acquired a reputation as a dead end for narrow nationalism. This book returns to the language question from a fresh perspective. Instead of asking whether language matters, The Tongue-Tied Imagination explores how the language question itself came to matter.

Focusing on the case of Senegal, Warner investigates the intersection of French and Wolof. Drawing on extensive archival research and an under-studied corpus of novels, poetry, and films in both languages, as well as educational projects and popular periodicals, the book traces the emergence of a politics of language from colonization through independence to the era of neoliberal development. Warner reads the francophone works of well-known authors such as Léopold Senghor, Ousmane Sembène, Mariama Bâ, and Boubacar Boris Diop alongside the more overlooked Wolof-language works with which they are in dialogue.

Refusing to see the turn to vernacular languages only as a form of nativism, The Tongue-Tied Imagination argues that the language question opens up a fundamental struggle over the nature and limits of literature itself. Warner reveals how language debates tend to pull in two directions: first, they weave vernacular traditions into the normative patterns of world literature; but second, they create space to imagine how literary culture might be configured otherwise. Drawing on these insights, Warner brilliantly rethinks the terms of world literature and charts a renewed practice of literary comparison.

Winner: Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

Living in Death

Richard Rechtman, Lindsay Turner, Veena Das

Winner, Prix Littéraire Paris-Liège 2021
Winner, French Voices Award for Excellence in Publication and Translation

When we speak of mass killers, we may speak of radicalized ideologues, mediocrities who only obey orders, or bloodthirsty monsters. Who are these men who kill on a mass scale? What is their consciousness? Do they not feel horror or compassion?

Richard Rechtman’s Living in Death offers new answers to a question that has haunted us at least since the Holocaust. For Rechtman, it is not ideologies that kill, but people. This book descends into the ordinary life of people who execute hundreds every day, the same way others go to the office. Bringing philosophical sophistication to the ordinary, the book constitutes an anthropology of mass killers.

Turning away from existing psychological and philosophical accounts of genocide’s perpetrators, Rechtman instead explores the conditions under which administering death becomes a job like any other. Considering Cambodia, Rwanda, and other mass killings, Living in Death draws on a vast array of archival research, psychological theory, and anecdotes from the author’s clinical work with refugees and former participants in genocide. Rechtman mounts a compelling case for reframing and refocusing our attempts to explain—and preempt—acts of mass torture, rape, killing, and extermination.

What we must see, Rechtman argues, is that for genocidaires (those who carry out acts that are or approach genocide), there is nothing extraordinary, unusual, or world-historical about their actions. On the contrary, they are preoccupied with the same mundane things that characterize any other job: interactions with colleagues, living conditions, a drink and a laugh at the end of the day. To understand this is to understand how things came to be the way they are—and how they might be different.

Winner: Winner of the French Voices Translation Award

Adapt!

Barbara Stiegler, Adam Hocker

Winner, French Voices Award

This book, a crossover hit in France, offers a fresh genealogy of our neoliberal moment.

“We must adapt!” These words can be heard almost everywhere and in every aspect of our lives. Where does this widespread sense that we have fallen behind come from? How can we explain this progressive colonization of the economic, social, and political fields by this biological vocabulary of evolution? Offering a lucid account of sophisticated material, Barbara Stiegler uncovers the prehistories of today’s ubiquitous rhetoric in Darwinism and American liberalism, while, at the same time, recovering powerful resistances to the rhetoric of adaptation across the twentieth century.

Walter Lippmann, an American theorist of this new liberalism, believed democracy was not adapted to the needs of globalization. Only a government of experts could force society to evolve, he argued. Lippmann thus found himself confronted with John Dewey, the great figure of American Pragmatism. Both Lippmann and Dewey labored under the impression that the world had changed and society needed to adapt. However, Lippmann did not trust society to adapt on its own and insisted on the need for experts who would force the necessary adaptation. Dewey, by contrast, believed the necessary adaptation could only come "from below" and should proceed in a democratic fashion.

Focusing on readings of Michel Foucault, Walter Lippmann, and John Dewey, Adapt! paves the way for renewed insights into neoliberalism’s history, essence, characteristic forces, and impacts, as well as biopolitical theory. Stiegler presents an intriguing new genealogy for the development of neoliberalism, examining whether humans are by nature lagging and require biopolitical and disciplinary management to enforce adaptation. Stiegler also reorients Foucault’s genealogy of neoliberalism by emphasizing the Darwinian rhetoric of adaptation, as it arose in the Lippmann–Dewey Debate, and deftly handles the question of human nature in a way that re-enlivens this traditional concept.

As the industrialization of our ways of life never stops destroying the environment and the health of organisms (climate disruption, the destruction of biodiversity, the growth of chronic diseases, the return of large pandemics), how can we think of a democratic government of life and the living? This is the question that Stiegler’s work helps us to confront.

Winner: American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize

Old Schools

Ramsey McGlazer

Winner: AAIS First Book Prize

Old Schools marks out a modernist countertradition. The book makes sense of an apparent anachronism in twentieth-century literature and cinema: a fascination with outmoded, paradigmatically pre-modern educational forms that persists long after they are displaced in progressive pedagogical theories.

Advocates of progressive education turned against Latin in particular. The dead language—taught through time-tested means including memorization, recitation, copying out, and other forms of repetition and recall—needed to be updated or eliminated, reformers argued, so that students could breathe free and become modern, achieving a break with convention and constraint.

Yet McGlazer’s remarkable book reminds us that progressive education was championed not only by political progressives, but also by Fascists in Italy, where it was an object of Gramsci’s critique. Building on Gramsci’s pages on the Latin class, McGlazer shows how figures in various cultural vanguards, from Victorian Britain to 1970s Brazil, returned to and reimagined the old school.

Strikingly, the works that McGlazer considers valorize this school’s outmoded techniques even at their most cumbersome and conventional. Like the Latin class to which they return, these works produce constraints that feel limiting but that, by virtue of that limitation, invite valuable resistance. As they turn grammar drills into verse and repetitious lectures into voiceovers, they find unlikely resources for critique in the very practices that progressive reformers sought to clear away.

Registering the past’s persistence even while they respond to the mounting pressures of modernization, writers and filmmakers from Pater to Joyce to Pasolini retain what might look like retrograde attachments—to tradition, transmission, scholastic rites, and repetitive forms. But the counter-progressive pedagogies that they devise repeat the past to increasingly radical effect. Old Schools teaches us that this kind of repetition can enable the change that it might seem to impede.

Winner: Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences

Hijras, Lovers, Brothers

Vaibhav Saria

Winner, 2021 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences
Winner, 2021 Ruth Benedict Prize, Association for Queer Anthropology

Hijras, one of India’s third gendered or trans populations, have been an enduring presence in the South Asian imagination—in myth, in ritual, and in everyday life, often associated in stigmatized forms with begging and sex work. In more recent years hijras have seen a degree of political emergence as a moral presence in Indian electoral politics, and with heightened vulnerability within global health terms as a high-risk population caught within the AIDS epidemic.

Hijras, Lovers, Brothers recounts two years living with a group of hijras in rural India. In this riveting ethnography, Vaibhav Saria reveals not just a group of stigmatized or marginalized others but a way of life composed of laughter, struggles, and desires that trouble how we read queerness, kinship, and the psyche.

Against easy framings of hijras that render them marginalized, Saria shows how hijras makes the normative Indian family possible. The book also shows that particular practices of hijras, such as refusing to use condoms or comply with retroviral regimes, reflect not ignorance, irresponsibility, or illiteracy but rather a specific idiom of erotic asceticism arising in both Hindu and Islamic traditions. This idiom suffuses the densely intertwined registers of erotics, economics, and kinship that inform the everyday lives of hijras and offer a repertoire of self-fashioning beyond the secular horizons of public health or queer theory.

Engrossingly written and full of keen insights, the book moves from the small pleasures of the everyday—laughter, flirting, teasing—to impossible longings, kinship, and economies of property and substance in order to give a fuller account of trans lives and of Indian society today.

Shortlisted: Publishing Triangle Awards

My Daily Actions, or The Meteorites

S. Brook Corfman, Cathy Park Hong

NAMED THE BEST POETRY OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES

My Daily Actions, or The Meteorites is the result of a daily investigative writing practice, in which I was worried that a poem invested in the particulars of my life would be uninteresting—that the "ordinary" would be mundane. Instead memory, dreams, and the associative power of the imagination filled each moment with meaning, each tv show I watched or friend I spoke with, each outfit I wore or nail polish color I chose. In these poems, a combination of dread (for something approaching) and anxiety (for what might be approaching but isn't yet known) undid a sense of the present separate from climate change, global racial capitalism, whiteness, and gender-based violence, especially as I wrote as I tried to find out how my own gender fit into the world. The prose poem is the vehicle by which a recording practice ("journaling") meets the associative power of the poem.

Shortlisted: MSA First Book Award

The Fact of Resonance

Julie Beth Napolin

Shortlisted, 2021 Memory Studies Association First Book Award

The Fact of Resonance returns to the colonial and technological contexts in which theories of the novel developed, seeking in sound an alternative premise for theorizing modernist narrative form. Arguing that narrative theory has been founded on an exclusion of sound, the book poses a missing counterpart to modernism’s question “who speaks?” in the hidden acoustical questions “who hears?” and “who listens?”

For Napolin, the experience of reading is undergirded by the sonic. The book captures and enhances literature’s ambient sounds, sounds that are clues to heterogeneous experiences secreted within the acoustical unconscious of texts. The book invents an oblique ear, a subtle and lyrical prose style attuned to picking up sounds no longer hearable. “Resonance” opens upon a new genealogy of modernism, tracking from Joseph Conrad to his interlocutors—Sigmund Freud, Frantz Fanon, W. E. B. Du Bois, William Faulkner, and Chantal Akerman—the racialized, gendered, and colonial implications of acoustical figures that “drift” through and are transformed by narrative worlds in writing, film, and music.

A major synthesis of resources gleaned from across the theoretical humanities, the book argues for “resonance” as the traversal of acoustical figures across the spaces of colonial and technological modernity, figures registering and transmitting transformations of “voice” and “sound” across languages, culture, and modalities of hearing. We have not yet sufficiently attended to relays between sound, narrative, and the unconscious that are crucial to the ideological entailments and figural strategies of transnational, transatlantic, and transpacific modernism. The breadth of the book’s engagements will make it of interest not only to students and scholars of modernist fiction and sound studies, but to anyone interested in contemporary critical theory.

Winner: Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies

The Literary Qur'an

Hoda El Shakry

Winner, 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, Modern Language Association

The novel, the literary adage has it, reflects a world abandoned by God. Yet the possibilities of novelistic form and literary exegesis exceed the secularizing tendencies of contemporary literary criticism. Showing how the Qurʾan itself invites and enacts critical reading, Hoda El Shakry’s Qurʾanic model of narratology enriches our understanding of literary sensibilities and practices in the Maghreb across Arabophone and Francophone traditions.

The Literary Qurʾan mobilizes the Qurʾan’s formal, narrative, and rhetorical qualities, alongside embodied and hermeneutical forms of Qurʾanic pedagogy, to theorize modern Maghrebi literature. Challenging the canonization of secular modes of reading that occlude religious epistemes, practices, and intertexts, it attends to literature as a site where the process of entextualization obscures ethical imperatives. Engaging with the Arab-Islamic tradition of adab—a concept demarcating the genre of belles lettres, as well as social and moral comportment—El Shakry demonstrates how the critical pursuit of knowledge is inseparable from the spiritual cultivation of the self.

Foregrounding form and praxis alike, The Literary Qurʾan stages a series of pairings that invite paratactic readings across texts, languages, and literary canons. The book places twentieth-century novels by canonical Francophone writers (Abdelwahab Meddeb, Assia Djebar, Driss Chraïbi) into conversation with lesser-known Arabophone ones (Maḥmūd al-Masʿadī, al-Ṭāhir Waṭṭār, Muḥammad Barrāda). Theorizing the Qurʾan as a literary object, process, and model, this interdisciplinary study blends literary and theological methodologies, conceptual vocabularies, and reading practices.

Winner: William Sanders Scarborough Prize

Thinking Through Crisis

James Edward Ford, III

Winner, 2020 William Sanders Scarborough Prize, Modern Language Association
Honorable Mention, MSA First Book Prize

In Thinking Through Crisis, James Edward Ford III examines the works of Richard Wright, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes during the 1930s in order to articulate a materialist theory of trauma. Ford highlights the dark proletariat’s emergence from the multitude apposite to white supremacist agendas. In these works, Ford argues, proletarian, modernist, and surrealist aesthetics transform fugitive slaves, sharecroppers, leased convicts, levee workers, and activist intellectuals into protagonists of anti-racist and anti-capitalist movements in the United States.

Thinking Through Crisis intervenes in debates on the 1930s, radical subjectivity, and states of emergency. It will be of interest to scholars of American literature, African American literature, proletarian literature, black studies, trauma theory, and political theory.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

Buying Reality

Danilo Yanich

From a certain perspective, the biggest political story of 2016 was how the candidate who bought three-quarters of the political ads lost to the one whose every provocative Tweet set the agenda for the day’s news coverage. With the arrival of bot farms, microtargeted Facebook ads, and Cambridge Analytica, isn’t the age of political ads on local TV coming to a close?

You might think. But you’d be wrong to the tune of $4.4 billion just in 2016. In U.S. elections, there’s a lot more at stake than the presidency. TV spending has gone up dramatically since 2006, for both presidential and down-ballot races for congressional seats, governorships, and state legislatures—and the 2020 campaign shows no signs of bucking this trend. When candidates don’t enjoy the name recognition and celebrity of the presidential contenders, it’s very much business as usual. They rely on the local TV newscasts, watched by 30 million people every day—not Tweets—to convey their messages to an audience more fragmented than ever.

At the same time, the nationalization of news and consolidation of local stations under juggernauts like Nexstar Media and Sinclair Broadcasting mean a decreasing share of time devoted to down-ballot politics—almost 90 percent of 2016’s local political stories focused on the presidential race. Without coverage of local issues and races, ad buys are the only chance most candidates have to get their messages in front of a broadcast audience.

On local TV news, political ads create the reality of local races—a reality that is not meant to inform voters but to persuade them. Voters are left to their own devices to fill in the space between what the ads say—the bought reality—and what political stories used to cover.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

At Wit's End

Louis Kaplan

CHOICE: OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE

A scholarly and thought-provoking work that places Jewish humor at the center of a discourse about Jewish and German relations through most of the twentieth century.

At Wit’s End explores the fascinating discourse on Jewish wit in the twentieth century when the Jewish joke became the subject of serious humanistic inquiry and inserted itself into the cultural and political debates among Germans and Jews against the ideologically charged backdrop of anti-Semitism, the Jewish question, and the Holocaust.

The first in-depth study to explore the Jewish joke as a crucial rhetorical figure in larger cultural debates in Germany, author Louis Kaplan presents an engrossing and lucid work of scholarship that examines how “der jüdische Witz” (referring to both Jewish wit and jokes) was utilized differently in a number of texts, from the Weimar Republic to the rise of National Socialism, and how it was re-introduced into the public sphere after the Holocaust with the controversial publication of Salcia Landmann’s collection of Jewish jokes in the reparations era (Wiedergutmachung). Kaplan reviews the claims made about the Jewish joke and its provocative laughter by notable writers from a variety of ideological perspectives, demonstrating how their reflections on this complex cultural trope enable a better understanding of German–Jewish intercultural relations and their eventual breakdown in the Third Reich. He also illustrates how selfcritical and self-ironic Jewish Witz maintained a fraught and ambivalent relationship with anti-Semitism.
In reviewing this critical and traumatic moment in modern German–Jewish history through the deadly discourse on the Jewish joke, At Wit’s End includes chapters on the virulent Austrian anti-Semitic racial theorist Arthur Trebitsch, the Nazi racial propagandist Siegfried Kadner, the German Marxist cultural historian Eduard Fuchs, the Jewish diasporic historian Erich Kahler, and the Jewish cabaret impresario Kurt Robitschek, among others. Shedding new light on anti-Semitism and on the Jewish question leading up to the Holocaust, At Wit’s End provides readers with a unique perspective by which to gain important insights about this crucial historical period that reverberates into the present day, when potentially offensive humor coupled with a toxic political climate and xenophobia can have deadly consequences.

Commended: Choice: Outstanding Academic Title

The Princeton Fugitive Slave

Lolita Buckner Inniss

WINNER, NEW JERSEY STUDIES ACADEMIC ALLIANCE BOOK AWARD

James Collins Johnson made his name by escaping slavery in Maryland and fleeing to Princeton, New Jersey, where he built a life in a bustling community of African Americans working at what is now Princeton University. After only four years, he was recognized by a student from Maryland, arrested, and subjected to a trial for extradition under the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. On the eve of his rendition, after attempts to free Johnson by force had failed, a local aristocratic white woman purchased Johnson’s freedom, allowing him to avoid re-enslavement. The Princeton Fugitive Slave reconstructs James Collins Johnson’s life, from birth and enslaved life in Maryland to his daring escape, sensational trial for re-enslavement, and last-minute change of fortune, and through to the end of his life in Princeton, where he remained a figure of local fascination.

Stories of Johnson’s life in Princeton often describe him as a contented, jovial soul, beloved on campus and memorialized on his gravestone as “The Students Friend.” But these familiar accounts come from student writings and sentimental recollections in alumni reports—stories from elite, predominantly white, often southern sources whose relationships with Johnson were hopelessly distorted by differences in race and social standing. In interrogating these stories against archival records, newspaper accounts, courtroom narratives, photographs, and family histories, author Lolita Buckner Inniss builds a picture of Johnson on his own terms, piecing together the sparse evidence and disaggregating him from the other black vendors with whom he was sometimes confused.

By telling Johnson’s story and examining the relationship between antebellum Princeton’s black residents and the economic engine that supported their community, the book questions the distinction between employment and servitude that shrinks and threatens to disappear when an individual’s freedom is circumscribed by immobility, lack of opportunity, and contingency on local interpretations of a hotly contested body of law.

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

The Disposition of Nature

Jennifer Wenzel

Finalist, 2022 Ecocriticism Book Prize, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
Shortlisted, 2020 Book Prize, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present

How do literature and other cultural forms shape how we imagine the planet, for better or worse? In this rich, original, and long awaited book, Jennifer Wenzel tackles the formal innovations, rhetorical appeals, and sociological imbrications of world literature that might help us confront unevenly distributed environmental crises, including global warming.

The Disposition of Nature argues that assumptions about what nature is are at stake in conflicts over how it is inhabited or used. Both environmental discourse and world literature scholarship tend to confuse parts and wholes. Working with writing and film from Africa, South Asia, and beyond, Wenzel takes a contrapuntal approach to sites and subjects dispersed across space and time. Reading for the planet, Wenzel shows, means reading from near to there: across experiential divides, between specific sites, at more than one scale.

Impressive in its disciplinary breadth, Wenzel’s book fuses insights from political ecology, geography, anthropology, history, and law, while drawing on active debates between postcolonial theory and world literature, as well as scholarship on the Anthropocene and the material turn. In doing so, the book shows the importance of the literary to environmental thought and practice, elaborating how a supple understanding of cultural imagination and narrative logics can foster more robust accounts of global inequality and energize movements for justice and livable futures.

Winner: SFTS Book Prize

Radical Botany

Natania Meeker, Antónia Szabari

Winner, 2019 Science Fiction & Technoculture Studies Book Prize

Radical Botany excavates a tradition in which plants participate in the effort to imagine new worlds and envision new futures. Modernity, the book claims, is defined by the idea of all life as vegetal. Meeker and Szabari argue that the recognition of plants’ liveliness and animation, as a result of scientific discoveries from the seventeenth century to today, has mobilized speculative creation in fiction, cinema, and art.

Plants complement and challenge notions of human life. Radical Botany traces the implications of the speculative mobilization of plants for feminism, queer studies, and posthumanist thought. If, as Michael Foucault has argued, the notion of the human was born at a particular historical moment and is now nearing its end, Radical Botany reveals that this origin and endpoint are deeply informed by vegetality as a form of pre- and posthuman subjectivity.

The trajectory of speculative fiction which this book traces offers insights into the human relationship to animate matter and the technological mediations through which we enter into contact with the material world. Plants profoundly shape human experience, from early modern absolutist societies to late capitalism’s manipulations of life and the onset of climate change and attendant mass extinction.

A major intervention in critical plant studies, Radical Botany reveals the centuries-long history by which science and the arts have combined to posit plants as the model for all animate life and thereby envision a different future for the cosmos.

Commended: American Association for Italian Studies Book Prize

Allied Encounters

Marisa Escolar

Honorable Mention for the 2019 American Association for Italian American Book Prize (20-21st Centuries)

Allied Encounters uniquely explores Anglo-American and Italian literary, cinematic, and military representations of World War II Italy in order to trace, critique, and move beyond the gendered paradigm of redemption that has conditioned understandings of the Allied–Italian encounter.

The arrival of the Allies’ global forces in an Italy torn by civil war brought together populations that had long mythologized one another, yet “liberation” did not prove to be the happy ending touted by official rhetoric. Instead of a “honeymoon,” the Allied–Italian encounter in cities such as Naples and Rome appeared to be a lurid affair, where the black market reigned supreme and prostitution was the norm.

Informed by the historical context as well as by their respective traditions, these texts become more than mirrors of the encounter or generic allegories. Instead, they are sites in which to explore repressed traumas that inform how the occupation unfolded and is remembered, including the Holocaust, the American Civil War, and European colonialism, as well as individual traumatic events like the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine and the mass civilian rape near Rome by colonial soldiers

Winner: Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award

Whom We Shall Welcome

Danielle Battisti

Winner, Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award

Whom We Shall Welcome examines World War II immigration of Italians to the United States, an under-studied period in Italian immigration history. Danielle Battisti looks at efforts by Italian American organizations to foster Italian immigration along with the lobbying efforts of Italian Americans to change the quota laws. While Italian Americans (and other white ethnics) had attained virtual political and social equality with many other groups of older-stock Americans by the end of the war, Italians continued to be classified as undesirable immigrants. Her work is an important contribution toward understanding the construction of Italian American racial/ethnic identity in this period, the role of ethnic groups in U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War era, and the history of the liberal immigration reform movement that led to the 1965 Immigration Act.

Whom We Shall Welcome makes significant contributions to histories of migration and ethnicity, post-World War II liberalism, and immigration policy.

Shortlisted: Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies

Reading Sideways

Dana Seitler

Reading Sideways explores the pivotal role that various art forms played in American literary fiction in direct relation to the politics of gender and sexuality in works of modern American literature. It tracks the crosswise circulation of aesthetic ideas in fiction and argues that at stake in the aesthetic turn of these works was not only the theorization of aesthetic experience but also an engagement with political arguments and debates about available modes of sociability and sexual expression. To track these engagements, its author, Dana Seitler, performs a method she calls “lateral reading,” a mode of interpretation that moves horizontally through various historical entanglements and across the fields of the arts to make sense of—and see in a new light—their connections, challenges, and productive frictions.

Each chapter takes a different art form as its object: sculpture, portraiture, homecraft, and opera. These art forms appear in some of the major works of literature of the period central to negotiations of gender, race, and sexuality, including those by Henry James, Davis, Willa Cather, Du Bois, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Mary Wilkins Freeman. But the literary texts that each chapter of this book takes as its motivation not only include a specific art form or object as central to its politics, they also build an alternative aesthetic vocabulary through which they seek to alter, challenge, or participate in the making of social and sexual life. By cultivating a counter-aesthetics of the unfinished, the uncertain, the small, the low, and the allusive, these fictions recognize other ways of knowing and being than those oriented toward reductively gendered accounts of beauty, classed imperatives established by the norms of taste, or apolitical treatises of sexual disinterestedness. And within them—and through “reading sideways”—we can witness the coming-into-legibility of a set of diffuse practices that provide a pivot point for engaging the political methods of minoritized subjects at the turn of the twentieth century.

Winner: The French-American Foundation Translation Prize

Murderous Consent

Marc Crépon, Michael Loriaux, Jacob Levi, James Martel

Winner, 2002 French Translation Prize for Nonfiction

Murderous Consent details our implication in violence we do not directly inflict but in which we are structurally complicit: famines, civil wars, political repression in far-away places, and war, as it’s classically understood. Marc Crépon insists on a bond between ethics and politics and attributes violence to our treatment of the two as separate spheres. We repeatedly resist the call to responsibility, as expressed by the appeal—by peoples across the world—for the care and attention that their vulnerability enjoins.

But Crépon argues that this resistance is not ineluctable, and the book searches for ways that enable us to mitigate it, through rebellion, kindness, irony, critique, and shame. In the process, he engages with a range of writers, from Camus, Sartre, and Freud, to Stefan Zweig and Karl Kraus, to Kenzaburo Oe, Emmanuel Levinas and Judith Butler. The resulting exchange between philosophy and literature enables Crépon to delineate the contours of a possible/impossible ethicosmopolitics—an ethicosmopolitics to come.

Pushing against the limits of liberal rationalism, Crépon calls for a more radical understanding of interpersonal responsibility. Not just a work of philosophy but an engagement with life as it’s lived, Murderous Consent works to redefine our global obligations, articulating anew what humanitarianism demands and what an ethically grounded political resistance might mean.

Winner: The French-American Foundation Translation Prize

Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem

Hélène Cixous, Peggy Kamuf, Eva Hoffman

An inventive literary account of Cixous’s remarkable journey to her mother’s birthplace

Winner, French Voices Award for Excellence in Publication and Translation

For about eighty years, the Jonas family of Osnabrück were part of a small but vibrant Jewish community in this mid-size city of Lower Saxony. After the war, Osnabrück counted not a single Jew. Most had been deported and murdered in the camps, others emigrated if they could and if they managed to overcome their own inertia. It is this inertia and failure to escape that Hélène Cixous seeks to account for in Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem.

Vicious anti-Semitism hounded all of Osnabrück’s Jews long before the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933. So why did people wait to leave when the threat was so patent, so in-their-face? Drawn from the stories told to Cixous by her mother, Ève, and grandmother, Rosalie (Rosi), this literary work reimagines fragments of Ève’s and Rosi’s stories, including the death of Ève’s uncle, Onkel André. Piecing together the story of Andreas Jonas from what she was told and from what she envisages, Cixous recounts the tragedy of the one she calls the King Lear of Osnabrück, who followed his daughter to Jerusalem only to be sent away by her and to return to Osnabrück in time to be deported to a death camp.

Cixous wanders the streets of the city she had heard about all her life in her mother’s and grandmother’s stories, digs into its archives, meets city officials, all the while wondering if she should have come. These hesitations and reflections in the present, often voiced in dialogues staged with her own son or daughter, are woven with scenes from her childhood in Algeria and the half-remembered, half-invented stories of the Jonas family, making Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem one of the author’s most intensely engaging books.

This work received the French Voices Award for excellence in publication and translation. French Voices is a program created and funded by the French Embassy in the United States and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange).

Winner: The French-American Foundation Translation Prize

Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem

Hélène Cixous, Peggy Kamuf, Eva Hoffman

An inventive literary account of Cixous’s remarkable journey to her mother’s birthplace

Winner, French Voices Award for Excellence in Publication and Translation

For about eighty years, the Jonas family of Osnabrück were part of a small but vibrant Jewish community in this mid-size city of Lower Saxony. After the war, Osnabrück counted not a single Jew. Most had been deported and murdered in the camps, others emigrated if they could and if they managed to overcome their own inertia. It is this inertia and failure to escape that Hélène Cixous seeks to account for in Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem.

Vicious anti-Semitism hounded all of Osnabrück’s Jews long before the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933. So why did people wait to leave when the threat was so patent, so in-their-face? Drawn from the stories told to Cixous by her mother, Ève, and grandmother, Rosalie (Rosi), this literary work reimagines fragments of Ève’s and Rosi’s stories, including the death of Ève’s uncle, Onkel André. Piecing together the story of Andreas Jonas from what she was told and from what she envisages, Cixous recounts the tragedy of the one she calls the King Lear of Osnabrück, who followed his daughter to Jerusalem only to be sent away by her and to return to Osnabrück in time to be deported to a death camp.

Cixous wanders the streets of the city she had heard about all her life in her mother’s and grandmother’s stories, digs into its archives, meets city officials, all the while wondering if she should have come. These hesitations and reflections in the present, often voiced in dialogues staged with her own son or daughter, are woven with scenes from her childhood in Algeria and the half-remembered, half-invented stories of the Jonas family, making Osnabrück Station to Jerusalem one of the author’s most intensely engaging books.

This work received the French Voices Award for excellence in publication and translation. French Voices is a program created and funded by the French Embassy in the United States and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange).

Shortlisted: Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

Cathay

Ezra Pound, Timothy Billings, Christopher Bush, Haun Saussy

Finalist, 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.

Winner: The French Voices Translation Award

The Philosophers' Gift

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.

123