front cover of Academic Pipeline Programs
Academic Pipeline Programs
Diversifying Pathways from the Bachelor's to the Professoriate
Curtis D. Byrd
Lever Press, 2021
Academic pipeline programs are critical to effectively support the steady increase of diverse students entering the academy. Academic Pipeline Programs: Diversifying Bachelor's to the Professoriate describes best practices of successful academic government and privately funded pre-collegiate, collegiate, graduate, and postdoctoral/faculty development pipeline programs. The authors explore 21 hallmark academic pipeline programs using their THRIVE index: Type, History, Research, Inclusion, Identity, Voice, and Expectation. The final chapter of the book offers information for using and starting similar programs. The appendix offers an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) mapped database of programs using the THRIVE index. This book will equip parents, high school counselors, college advisors, faculty, department chairs, and higher education administrators to identify academic pipeline programs that fit their needs. Readers will also learn about how academic pipeline programs are situated within an institutional or organizational change model.

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An Asian American Theology of Liberation
Tian An Wong
Lever Press, 2023
What does liberation mean for Asians at the core of an anti-Black, settler-colonial empire? This landmark book is the first to offer an Asian American theology of liberation for the present and future global crises. The broad scope of contemporary ideas that the book engages with will be of interest to students, activists, clergy, and scholars alike. Readers interested in radical politics, political theology, and Asian American history will find this book an important addition to their bookshelves.

Providing an intersectional frame that considers the breadth and diversity of Asian American experiences alongside those of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx thinkers in the United States and across the globe, An Asian American Theology of Liberation puts Asian American theology in dialogue with theories from psychoanalysis, Afro-pessimism, Black Marxism, postcolonial studies, and queer theology. In this groundbreaking work, Wong Tian An combines archival research uncovering a much overlooked theology of liberation — born in the 1970s out of Asian Americans’ struggles for political recognition and civil rights in the United States — with powerful analyses drawing from the theological, intellectual, and political developments of the last half century.

This wide-ranging study connects urgent themes such as protest movements in Hong Kong, anti-Asian violence in the United States, and Indigenous struggles everywhere, while building on Asian theologies such as Dalit theology in India, theology of struggle in the Philippines, and Minjung theology in Korea. Drawing deeply and broadly across disciplines, the book altogether revives and renews an Asian American theology of liberation for a new generation.

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Being a Presence for Students
Teaching as a Lived Defense of Liberal Education
Jeff Frank
Lever Press, 2019
This book offers a lived defense of liberal education. How does a college professor, on a daily basis, help students feel the value of liberal education and get the most from that education? We answer this question, as professors, each day in the classroom. John William Miller, a philosophy professor at Williams College from 1924-1960 and someone noted for his exceptional teaching, developed one form that this lived defense can take. Though Miller published very little while he was alive, the archives at Williams College hold unpublished notes and essays of this master teacher. In this book, Jeff Frank offers an extended commentary on one of these unpublished essays where Miller develops his thinking on liberal education. Frank refines the idea that presence is central to liberal education and offers suggestions for how professors can become an educative presence for students. The goal of this book is an invitation to other professors who value liberal education to think with Miller about how to foster their own lived defense of liberal education, each day, in their own classrooms. The tone of the book is meant to be invitational, at times even conversational, and the book concludes with some direct suggestions for how professors can live their own defense of liberal education.

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Casa Pueblo
A Puerto Rican Model of Self-Governance
Alexis Massol González, Translated by Ashwin Ravikumar and Paul Schroeder Rodríguez
Lever Press, 2022
As a community-based organization in the mountains of south-central Puerto Rico, Casa Pueblo implements alternatives to extractive capitalism that do not rely on governments or distant non-profits. In this book, Alexis Massol-González, Casa Pueblo’s founder, reflects on its extraordinary forty-year history of experiments with community self-governance. Massol-González received the prestigious Goldman Prize (popularly known as the Green Nobel) for the organization’s initiatives to protect the environment, affirm cultural and human values, and create sustainable economic alternatives. This collective translation was undertaken in the spirit of the organization and offers a chronological account of Casa Pueblo’s evolution from a small group of concerned citizens to an internationally recognized model for activism.

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Confronting Child Sexual Abuse
Knowledge to Action
Anne M. Nurse
Lever Press, 2020
Most people get information about child sexual abuse from media coverage, social movements, or conversations with family and friends. Confronting Child Sexual Abuse describes how these forces shape our views of victims and offenders, while also providing an in-depth look at prevention efforts and current research. Sociologist Anne Nurse has synthesized studies spanning the fields of psychology, sociology, communications, criminology, and political science to produce this nuanced, accessible, and up-to-date account. Topics include the prevalence of abuse, the impact of abuse on victims and families, offender characteristics, abuse in institutions, and the efficacy of treatments. Written for people who care for kids, for students considering careers in criminal justice or human services, and for anyone seeking information about this devastating issue, Nurse’s book offers new public policy ideas as well as practical suggestions on how to engage in prevention work. Interactive links to studies, videos, and podcasts connect readers to further resources.

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Culture and Content in French
Frameworks for Innovative Curricula
Aurélie Chevant-Aksoy
Lever Press, 2022
Instructors in today’s language classrooms face the challenge of preparing globally competent and socially responsible students with transcultural aptitude. As classroom content shifts toward communication, collaboration, and problem solving across cultural, racial, and linguistic boundaries, the teaching of culture is an integral part of foreign language education. This volume offers nontraditional approaches to teaching culture in a complex time when the internet and social networks have blurred geographical, social, and political borders. The authors offer practical advice about teaching culture with kinesthetics, music, improvisation, and communication technologies for different competency levels. The chapters also explore multi-literacies, project-based learning, and discussions on teaching culture through literature, media, and film. The appendices share examples of course syllabi, specific course activities, and extracurricular projects that explore culinary practices, performing arts, pop culture, geolocation, digital literacy, journalism, and civic literacy.

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Democratic Criticism
Poetics of Incitement and the Muslim Sacred
Masood Raja
Lever Press, 2023

After the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988), the poetics of incitement— found in texts originating in the West containing themes and representations of Islam hurtful to Muslims—became an accepted method of textual production in the West. Production of such texts intensified after the attacks of 9/11. Democratic Criticism: Poetics of Incitement and the Muslim Sacred by Masood Ashraf Raja urges a new mode of reading, one that permits Western readers to transcend local reading practices in order to, as best as one can, read from the point of view of the Other.

Raja argues that the lack of understanding of Muslim responses to the poetics of incitement in the West is the result of a lack of cross-cultural knowledge. He claims metropolitan universities often do not teach the proper social, historical, and religious context required for effectively reading these texts with any form of cultural knowledge. To remedy this, Raja offers and theorizes “democratic reading practices” and new ways for students to engage with texts. A genealogy of the Muslim Sacred is included, thereby giving readers the history and specific knowledge that constitutes an average Muslim reader of these texts, a subject who should be imagined and empathized with when those in the West read works of the poetics of incitement. 

Democratic Criticism encourages Western readers to develop a deeper understanding of the meaning-making processes of the Islamic world while at the same time encouraging the Muslim readers to read representations of the Islamic world with a more expansive understanding. It will be a helpful tool in creating reading practices that allow both teachers and students of literature to transcend their mode of reading as universal and to read from the perspective of the Other, and allow readers to engage meaningfully with these texts. Students and scholars of world literature, history, and religious studies will find this book insightful and valuable.

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The Detroit Genre
Race, Dispossession, and Resilience in American Literature and Film, 1967-2023
Vincent Haddad
Lever Press, 2024
Detroit has an essential relationship to genre in American literature and popular culture. The contemporary formations of the suburban sitcom, the post-apocalyptic genre, the sci-fi dystopia, crime fiction, the superhero genre, and contemporary horror would not exist in the way they do today without the aesthetic material and racial history of Detroit. When DC Comics wanted to compete with Marvel and market “socially relevant” comics, especially ones dealing with issues of race, they swapped Gotham and Metropolis for Detroit. What about vampires concerned with de-industrialization, heritage conservation, and impending water wars? Must be Detroit. A story about a half-man, half-robot wrestling with what it means to be human by fighting crime? Improbably, Detroit has two. Author Vincent Haddad’s The Detroit Genre provides the first comprehensive literary and cultural investigation of the representations of Detroit in popular and literary culture.
The book first establishes the concept of the “Detroit genre” that emerged in late 1960s and traces the tropes of this white-centric narrative genre in popular culture, touching on key texts including Blue Collar, Robocop, The Crow, It Follows, and Barbarian. The second part shows how Black writers, including Alice Randall, adrienne maree brown, Stephen Mack Jones, and Angela Flournoy, reclaimed and revised the Detroit genre and shows how they have un-fixed Detroit narratives of dispossession, criminality, and industrial and social failure through formal experimentations on genre itself.
Where Detroit has typically been painted in the news as one of three things—the center of the automotive industry; crime-ridden and in ruins; or as a “blank canvas” with limitless potential of entrepreneurship—Vincent Haddad shows that the Detroit genre in literature and film can be far more powerful than news media in narrating Black dispossession as a pragmatic, even liberal consensus. The texts studied here condition forgetfulness about Detroit’s history or expose it to a full reckoning, direct attention toward or away from the city’s agents of injustice, fetishize resilience or model resistance, and foreclose or imagine a future of Black liberation. Appealing to scholars of popular literature, media, race, and American studies, The Detroit Genre is an accessible and engaging study of the city’s influence on a wide array of genres in pop culture.

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Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive
Bethany Hicok
Lever Press, 2020
In a life full of chaos and travel, Elizabeth Bishop managed to preserve and even partially catalog, a large collection—more than 3,500 pages of drafts of poems and prose, notebooks, memorabilia, artwork, hundreds of letters to major poets and writers, and thousands of books—now housed at Vassar College. Informed by archival theory and practice, as well as a deep appreciation of Bishop’s poetics, the collection charts new territory for teaching and reading American poetry at the intersection of the institutional archive, literary study, the liberal arts college, and the digital humanities. The fifteen essays in this collection use this archive as a subject, and, for the first time, argue for the critical importance of working with and describing original documents in order to understand the relationship between this most archival of poets and her own archive. This collection features a unique set of interdisciplinary scholars, archivists, translators, and poets, who approach the archive collaboratively and from multiple perspectives. The contributions explore remarkable new acquisitions, such as Bishop’s letters to her psychoanalyst, one of the most detailed psychosexual memoirs of any twentieth century poet and the exuberant correspondence with her final partner, Alice Methfessel, an important series of queer love letters of the 20th century. Lever Press’s digital environment allows the contributors to present some of the visual experience of the archive, such as Bishop’s extraordinary “multi-medial” and “multimodal” notebooks, in order to reveal aspects of the poet’s complex composition process.

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Engineering Manhood
Race and the Antebellum Virginia Military Institute
Jonson Miller
Lever Press, 2020
It is not an accident that American engineering is so disproportionately male and white; it took and takes work to create and sustain this situation. Engineering Manhood: Race and the Antebellum Virginia Military Institute examines the process by which engineers of the antebellum Virginia Military Institute cultivated whiteness, manhood, and other intersecting identities as essential to an engineering professional identity. VMI opened in 1839 to provide one of the earliest and most thorough engineering educations available in antebellum America. The officers of the school saw engineering work as intimately linked to being a particular type of person, one that excluded women or black men. This particular white manhood they crafted drew upon a growing middle-class culture. These precedents impacted engineering education broadly in this country and we continue to see their legacy today.

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Extraordinary Partnerships
How the Arts and Humanities are Transforming America
Christine Henseler, editor
Lever Press, 2020
This inspirative and hopeful collection demonstrates that the arts and humanities are entering a renaissance that stands to change the direction of our communities. Community leaders, artists, educators, scholars, and professionals from many fields show how they are creating responsible transformations through partnership in the arts and humanities. The diverse perspectives that come together in this book teach us how to perceive our lives and our disciplines through a broader context. The contributions exemplify how individuals, groups, and organizations use artistic and humanistic principles to explore new structures and novel ways of interacting to reimagine society. They refresh and reinterpret the ways in which we have traditionally assigned space and value to the arts and humanities.

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Faculty as Global Learners
Off-Campus Study at Liberal Arts Colleges
Joan Gillespie
Lever Press, 2020
This co-authored collection offers valuable insights about the impact of leading off-campus study on faculty leaders’ teaching, research, service, and overall well-being. Recognizing that faculty leaders are themselves global learners, the book addresses ways that liberal arts colleges can more effectively achieve their strategic goals for students' global learning by intentionally anticipating and supporting the needs of faculty leaders, as they grow and change. Faculty as Global Learners offers key findings and recommendations to stimulate conversations among administrators, faculty, and staff about concrete actions they can explore and steps they can take on their campuses to both support faculty leaders of off-campus programs and advance strategic institutional goals for global learning. This collection includes transferrable pedagogical insights and the perspectives of faculty members who have led off-campus study programs in a variety of disciplines and geographic regions.

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Gleanings from the Field
Food Security, Resilience, and Experiential Learning
Edited by Dan Trudeau, William Moseley, and Paul Schadewald
Lever Press, 2025
In recent years, the concept of “food security” has garnered significant attention among policymakers, activists, and educators. Stemming from a growing awareness of the complexities surrounding access to sufficient food globally, movements advocating for food justice and sovereignty have emerged in response to these systemic inequities and health disparities, particularly in local communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in regions such as Ukraine and Gaza, and the escalating impacts of climate change, reliable food security has become exacerbated by these existing disparities. Gleanings from the Field argues that addressing food security is essential for tackling broader sustainability challenges facing humanity and recognizes the role of food in community-building, cultural exchange, and quality of life. However, promoting food security entails navigating intricate trade-offs, such as balancing economic interests in food supply with environmental concerns.

This timely essay collection frames our food security challenges as “wicked problems,” puzzles without clear solutions that are characterized by evolving complexities and divergent stakeholder priorities. In classroom settings, they argue for the usage of experiential learning to cultivate “wicked problem-solving skills” among students. Gleanings from the Field exemplifies this approach, offering pedagogical interventions to prepare students for tackling these wicked problems, while advocating for high-impact learning experiences that enable students to grapple with the interconnected systems influencing food security. Through hands-on experiences and reflective practice, students gain a deeper understanding of these systems and their societal implications. Importantly, the contributions outlined in this volume underscore the need for a multidimensional view of food security, thus examining the intersections of economic interests, government policies, and social movements. By contextualizing food security within broader political-economic arrangements, educators can empower students to enact meaningful change.

Gleanings from the Field argues for a holistic approach to food security education, one that acknowledges the fraught nature of wicked problems and equips students with the skills and knowledge needed for effective action. By integrating experiential learning, conceptual frameworks about food security and resilience, and real-world engagement, educators can cultivate a new generation of resilient problem-solvers committed to addressing food insecurity and other wicked problems.

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The Hero and the Victim
Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction
Gregory Brazeal
Lever Press, 2024
Two decades after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a canon of American literature about the war has begun to emerge. Gregory Brazeal’s The Hero and the Victim situates Iraq War fiction in war literature’s broader history. In contrast to the emphasis of most pre-modern war literature on the figure of the warrior-as-hero, and the growing modern emphasis on the figure of the soldier-as-victim, Iraq War fiction reflects the troubled emergence of a new narrative: the story of the ordinary soldier as a wrongdoer or even criminal. To a greater extent than earlier literature about American wars, Iraq War fiction is haunted by depictions of moral injury and expressions of unresolved guilt. 

The emphasis on soldier criminality in Iraq War fiction can be partly explained by the rise of moral cosmopolitanism and its blurring of the traditional conceptual lines between war and crime. The anti-war literature of the twentieth century often presented fallen soldiers on both sides equally as victims and viewed the distinction between heroes and villains as part of the illusion that battlefield experience strips away. Written in the long shadow of Nuremberg, Iraq War fiction grapples with the possibility that the soldiers on one’s own side may not be the heroes in the story, or even the victims, but participants in a wrong, and perhaps even complicit in crimes. The Hero and the Victim contributes to the ongoing, public reexamination of American traditions by confronting a topic that has, up to now, been largely untouched: the moral celebration of military service. 

The Hero and the Victim explores the theme of soldier criminality through close readings of several works by American authors, including Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds, Phil Klay’s Redeployment, Helen Benedict’s Sand Queen, Chris Kyle’s American Sniper, and Roy Scranton’s War Porn. This volume will be an essential text for students of American literature, historians of war culture, and any scholar interested in representations of the Iraq War.

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History without Chronology
Stefan Tanaka
Lever Press, 2019
Although numerous disciplines recognize multiple ways of conceptualizing time, Stefan Tanaka argues that scholars still overwhelmingly operate on chronological and linear Newtonian or classical time that emerged during the Enlightenment. This short, approachable book implores the humanities and humanistic social sciences to actively embrace the richness of different times that are evident in non-modern societies and have become common in several scientific fields throughout the twentieth century. Tanaka first offers a history of chronology by showing how the social structures built on clocks and calendars gained material expression. Tanaka then proposes that we can move away from this chronology by considering how contemporary scientific understandings of time might be adapted to reconceive the present and pasts. This opens up a conversation that allows for the possibility of other ways to know about and re-present pasts. A multiplicity of times will help us broaden the historical horizon by embracing the heterogeneity of our lives and world via rethinking the complex interaction between stability, repetition, and change. This history without chronology also allows for incorporating the affordances of digital media.

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Like a Captive Bird
Gender and Virtue in Plutarch
Lunette Warren
Lever Press, 2023

The full extent of Plutarch’s moral educational program remains largely understudied, at least in those aspects pertaining to women and the gendered other. As a result, scholarship on his views on women have differed significantly in their conclusions, with some scholars suggesting that he is overwhelmingly positive towards women and marriage and perhaps even a “precursor to feminism,”  and others arguing that he was rather negative on the issue. Like a Captive Bird: Gender and Virtue in Plutarch is an examination of these educational methods employed in Plutarch’s work to regulate the expression of gender identity in women and men. In six chapters, author Lunette Warren analyzes Plutarch’s ideas about women and gender in Moralia and Lives. The book examines the divergences between real and ideal, the aims and methods of moral philosophy and psychagogic practice as they relate to identity formation, and Plutarch’s theoretical philosophy and metaphysics. 

Warren argues that gender is a flexible mode of being that expresses a relation between body and soul, and that gender and virtue are inextricably entwined. Plutarch’s expression of gender is also an expression of a moral condition that signifies relationships of power, Warren claims, especially power relationships between the husband and wife. Uncovered in these texts is evidence of a redistribution of power, which allows some women to dominate other women and, in rare cases, men too. Like a Captive Bird offers a unique and fresh interpretation of Plutarch’s metaphysics which centers gender as one of the organizational principles of nature. It is aimed at scholars of Plutarch, ancient philosophy, and ancient gender studies, especially those who are interested in feminist studies of antiquity.


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Make It New
Reshaping Jazz in the 21st Century
Bill Beuttler
Lever Press, 2019
As jazz enters its second century it is reasserting itself as dynamic and relevant. Boston Globe jazz writer and Emerson College professor Bill Beuttler reveals new ways in which jazz is engaging with society through the vivid biographies and music of Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, The Bad Plus, Miguel Zenón, Anat Cohen, Robert Glasper, and Esperanza Spalding. These musicians are freely incorporating other genres of music into jazz—from classical (both western and Indian) to popular (hip-hop, R&B, rock, bluegrass, klezmer, Brazilian choro)—and other art forms as well (literature, film, photography, and other visual arts). This new generation of jazz is increasingly more international and is becoming more open to women as instrumentalists and bandleaders. Contemporary jazz is reasserting itself as a force for social change, prompted by developments such as the Black Lives Matter, #MeToo movements, and the election of Donald Trump.

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Meaningful Technologies
How Digital Metaphors Change the Way We Think and Live
Eric Chown and Fernando Nascimento
Lever Press, 2022

As smartphones mediate more of our activities, they are changing our relationship with meaning. To a teenager, for example a “conversation” is just as likely to refer to an exchange of text messages as it is a face-to-face discussion. Meanwhile, Facebook has redefined what friendship means, Snapchat what a memory means, etc. The kinds of changes smartphones bring are happening at rapid pace: TikTok reached a billion users in just over three years, whereas it took the telephone 75 years to reach a tenth of that number of people. Meaningful Technologies: How Digital Metaphors Change the Way We Think and Live by Eric Chown and Fernando Nascimento offers systematic reconsideration of the ways in which digital technologies impact our lives both individually and collectively. 

Metaphors aren’t just a clever way to describe technology, they are also changing the way we think. When we click on a picture of a shopping cart it connects a complex set of technologies to represent a simple idea that we’re all familiar with. A heart icon under a photo is understood as an easy way to express appreciation. We aren’t required to understand how technology works, just how we interact with it. The ambiguity of metaphors, and the complexity of technology can also hide important realities about what is being described. “The cloud,” for example, actually consists of very real data centers, which consume huge amounts of natural resources to keep running. Meanwhile, pressing that heart icon on a photo is a signal to the artificial intelligences running in your app that you want to see more things like that photo and that it should adjust what it knows about you accordingly.

There is a constant feedback loop between us and the digital technologies we use. We are constantly using them and they are changing us through their usage. Meaningful Technologies focuses on this loop from the perspectives of hermeneutic philosophy and cognitive science. Through the former, the authors examine meaning and how it changes over time. Through the latter, they gain understanding of how this feedback loop impacts individuals, especially in terms of learning and attention. Chown and Nascimento argue that, on the one hand, apps have a kind of agency never before possible in a technology, but also that, armed with a critical framework for examining such apps, we can regain some of our own agency. This book will appeal to scholars of digital media digital and computational studies, and those interested in issues related to ethical impacts of digital technologies.


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New Materials
Towards a History of Consistency
Amy E. Slaton
Lever Press, 2020
This edited volume gathers eight cases of industrial materials development, broadly conceived, from North America, Europe and Asia over the last 200 years. Whether given utility as building parts, fabrics, pharmaceuticals, or foodstuffs, whether seen by their proponents as human-made or “found in nature,” materials result from the designation of some matter as both knowable and worth knowing about. In following these determinations we learn that the production of physical novelty under industrial, imperial and other cultural conditions has historically accomplished a huge range of social effects, from accruals of status and wealth to demarcations of bodies and geographies. Among other cases, New Materials traces the beneficent self-identity of Quaker asylum planners who devised soundless metal cell locks in the early 19th century, and the inculcation of national pride attending Taiwanese carbon-fiber bicycle parts in the 21st; the racialized labor organizations promoted by California orange breeders in the 1910s, and bureaucratized distributions of blame for deadly high-rise fires a century later. Across eras and global regions New Materials reflects circumstances not made clear when technological innovation is explained solely as a by-product of modernizing impulses or critiqued simply as a craving for profit. Whether establishing the efficacy of nano-scale pharmaceuticals or the tastiness of farmed catfish, proponents of new materials enact complex political ideologies. In highlighting their actors’ conceptions of efficiency, certainty, safety, pleasure, pain, faith and identity, the authors reveal that to produce a “new material” is invariably to preserve other things, to sustain existing values and social structures.

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Open Access Musicology
Volume One
Louis Epstein
Lever Press, 2020

In the fall of 2015, a collection of faculty at liberal arts colleges began a conversation about the challenges we faced as instructors: Why were there so few course materials accessible to undergraduates and lay readers that reflected current scholarly debate? How can we convey the relevance of studying music history to current and future generations of students? And how might we represent and reflect the myriad, often conflicting perspectives, positions, and identities that make up both music’s history and the writers of history?

Here we offer one response to those questions. Open Access Musicology is a collection of essays, written in an accessible style and with a focus on modes of inquiry rather than content coverage. Our authors draw from their experience as scholars but also as teachers. They have been asked to describe why they became musicologists in the first place and how their individual paths led to the topics they explore and the questions they pose. Like most scholarly literature, the essays have all been reviewed by experts in the field. Unlike all scholarly literature, the essays have also been reviewed by students at a variety of institutions for clarity and relevance.

These essays are intended for undergraduates, graduate students, and interested readers without any particular expertise. They can be incorporated into courses on a range of topics as standalone readings or used to supplement textbooks. The topics introduce and explore a variety of subjects, practices, and methods but, above all, seek to stimulate classroom discussion on music history’s relevance to performers, listeners, and citizens.


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Open Access Musicology
Volume Two
edited by Louis Epstein and Daniel Barolsky
Lever Press, 2023
Open Access Musicology (OAM) publishes peer-reviewed, scholarly essays primarily intended to serve students and teachers of music history, ethno/musicology, and music studies. The constantly evolving collection ensures that recent research and scholarship inspires classroom practice. OAM essays provide diverse and methodologically transparent models for student research, and they introduce different modes of inquiry to inspire classroom discussion and varied assignments. Addressing a range of histories, methods, voices, and sounds, OAM embraces changes and tensions in the field to help students understand music scholarship.
In service of our student- and access-centered mission, Open Access Musicology is a free collection of essays, written in an engaging style and with a focus on modes of inquiry rather than coverage of content. Our authors draw from their experience as scholars but also as teachers. They not only make arguments, but also describe why they became musicologists in the first place and explain how their individual paths led to the topics they explore. Like most scholarly literature, the essays have all been reviewed by experts in the field. Unlike most scholarly literature, the essays have also been reviewed by students at a variety of institutions for clarity and relevance. 
These essays are intended for undergraduates, graduate students, and interested readers without any particular expertise. They can be incorporated into courses on a range of topics as standalone readings, used to supplement textbooks, or read with an eye to new scholarly insights. The topics introduce and explore a variety of subjects, practices, and methods but, above all, seek to stimulate classroom discussion on music history’s relevance to performers, listeners, and citizens. Open Access Musicology will never pretend to present complete histories, cover all elements of a subject, or satisfy the agenda of every reader. Rather, each essay provides an opening to further contemplation and study. We invite readers to follow the thematic links between essays, pursue notes or other online resources provided by authors, or simply repurpose the essay’s questions into new and exciting forms of research and creativity. 
Volume 2 of OAM expands the disciplinary, topical, and geographical ranges of our endeavor, with essays that rely on ethnographic and music theoretical methods as well as historical ones. The essays in this volume touch on music from Europe, South America, and Asia, spanning the 16th century to the present. Throughout, the contributing authors situate music in political, religious, racial, economic, and other cultural and disciplinary contexts. This volume therefore expands what scholars generally mean when they refer to “musicology” and “music,” always with an eye toward relevance and accessibility. 

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Ordering Tang China
Cultural Memory, Emperor Taizong, and the Essentials
Kelly Ngo
Lever Press, 2024
In Ordering Tang China: Cultural Memory, Emperor Taizong and the Essentials, Kelly Ngo presents the first book-length study in English of the Essentials for Bringing about Order from Assembled Texts (Qunshu zhiyao 群書治要), a rulership anthology that became renowned for its model of governance in ancient and early modern East Asia. The Essentials is one of earliest Chinese anthologies designed to educate rulers in cultivating an ethical character and governing the state. Commissioned for the Tang emperor Taizong in the 620s, the Essentials articulates a distinctive political philosophy through a collection of excerpts from and commentaries on the earlier canonical, historical, and masters writings. Examining the Essentials and its transmission in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam through the lens of cultural memory, Ngo explores the foundation, conduct, and impact of Zhenguan rulership, which became synonymous with good governance among later generations of ruling elites, scholars, and historians in China and beyond. 

By connecting the textual discourse with an analysis of its use and reception across the region, Ngo demonstrates that the Essentials was a key source of Confucian political thought and practice during the early Tang dynasty. In accounting for the place of the Essentials in political advice literature, Ngo illustrates how it drew from the ancient Confucian heritage and was still responsive to contemporaneous political concerns, suggesting that the Essentials played a part in the success of Zhenguan political practice.

Ordering Tang China also includes the first English-language translations of portions of the seventh-century anthology, with reference to partial translations published in nine languages. Utilizing the theory of cultural memory to study the Essentials not only opens a fresh approach to learning about the imperial consumption of literature, as well as the theory and practice of emperorship, but also offers a case study for how to study Chinese governance literature, including its “mirror for princes” genre.

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The Politics of India under Modi
An Introduction to India’s Democracy, Economy, and Foreign Policy
Vikash Yadav and Jason A. Kirk
Lever Press, 2023

Since the right-wing, Hindu-nationalist government of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the national level in 2014, and with its consolidation of power in the 2019 general election, India has witnessed a significant realignment of its national politics and a shift toward the right of the political spectrum. The Politics of India under Modi provides a detailed overview of India’s political trends, economic prospects, and international relations in the twenty-first century.

This book is designed as a supplement and update for existing syllabi that trace India’s political economy from the birth of the republic to the quest for economic liberalization and great power status. Undergraduates and scholars interested in India’s foreign policy and political reform will find value in this timely book.

“The subject of this book is extremely compelling and important, as well as timely. BJP rule and the Modi regime, it is now clear, represent some critical turning points in Indian politics, which have yet to be analyzed in depth academically by experts. I see this book as a key first step in this process.”
-Rina Verma Williams, School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Cincinnati


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Promissory Notes
On the Literary Conditions of Debt
Robin Truth Goodman
Lever Press, 2018
There is no doubt that the beginning of the twenty-first century was marked by crises of debt. Less well known is that literature played a historical role in defining and teaching debt to the public. Promissory Notes: On the Literary Conditions of Debt addresses how neoliberal finance has depended upon a historical linking of geopolitical inequality and financial representation that positions the so-called “Third World” as negative value, or debt. Starting with an analysis of Anthony Trollope’s novel, The Eustace Diamonds, Goodman shows how colonized spaces came to inhabit this negative value. Promissory Notes argues that the twentieth-century continues to apply literary innovations in character, subjectivity, temporal and spatial representation to construct debt as the negative creation of value not only in reference to objects, but also houses, credit cards, students, and, in particular, “Third World” geographies, often leading to crisis. Yet, late twentieth century and early twenty-first literary texts, such as Soyinka’s The Road and Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow, address the negative space of the indebted world also as a critique of the financial take-over of the postcolonial developmental state. Looking to situations like the Puerto Rican debt crisis, Goodman demonstrates how financial discourse is articulated through social inequalities and how literature can both expose and contest the imposition of a morality of debt as a mode of anti-democratic control.

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Public Feminisms
From Academy to Community
Edited by Carrie N. Baker and Aviva Dove-Viebahn
Lever Press, 2023

The field of feminist studies grew from the U.S. women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s and has continued to be deeply connected to ongoing movements for social justice. As educational institutions are increasingly seeing public scholarship and community engagement as relevant and fruitful complements to traditional academic work, feminist scholars have much to offer in demonstrating different ways to inform and interact with various communities. In Public Feminisms: From Academy to Community edited by Carrie N. Baker and Aviva Dove-Viebahn, a diverse range of feminist scholar-activists write about the dynamic and varied methods they use to reach beyond the traditional academic classroom and scholarly journals to share their work with the public. 

Part one explores how feminist scholars engage broader audiences through art, media, and public programming, including essays on a public discussion series teaching intersectional feminist analysis of popular films, and a podcast from Latina scholars discussing issues of reproductive justice, social justice, motherhood, sexuality, race, and gender. Part two focuses on activism and public education, including essays on “Take Back the Night,” and archiving the women’s march protests. Part three turns to public writing and scholarship, including an essay on elevating the perspectives and voices of underrepresented creatives in the film and television industry. Part four explores feminist pedagogies for community engagement and for teaching public feminisms. 

Accessible and engaging to a broad range of readers, the essays in this volume are a rich resource for scholars and students interested in infusing their academic knowledge into the public sphere. With this timely book, the editors offer an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of community engagement and highlight some of the important public-facing work feminist scholars are doing today. Faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, as well as administrators hoping to increase their schools’ connections to the community, will find this volume indispensable.


front cover of Queer Compassion in 15 Comics
Queer Compassion in 15 Comics
Edited by Phillip Joy, Andrew Thomas, and Megan Aston
Lever Press, 2024
This unique comic anthology takes its readers on a journey through different art styles and queer perspectives, from first Prides to multi-generational friendships to finding community among chosen families. The comics in Queer Compassion offer kaleidoscopic insight into the colorful, heartbreaking, empowering, funny, and diverse lives of queer people around the world by centering compassion as a way to inhabit and build community. 

These comics are created by queer artists for queer audiences and with the intent for queer self-expression and representation. Social science researchers spoke to  diverse members of LGBTQ+ communities to explore their beliefs about and experiences of compassion. Fifteen queer comics were commissioned to illustrate those stories, making the process of creating each comic a unique collaboration between researchers and artists, blending data exploring the meanings of compassion for queer folks with the creativity, passion, and understanding of a queer comic artist. 

These stories reflect not only the harsh realities that many queer people face but they also uplift queer voices, illustrate strength, and capture queer resolve to make life more compassionate. Queer people, living in a cis-heteronormative world, often face experiences of marginalization, discrimination, stigma, trauma, and invisibility in everyday life. Queer Compassion shows that its titular emotion can be the bridge that brings understanding and creates community connections — a bridge that is particularly needed at this time. 

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South End Shout
Boston’s Forgotten Music Scene in the Jazz Age
Roger House
Lever Press, 2023

South End Shout: Boston’s Forgotten Music Scene in the Jazz Age details the power of music in the city’s African American community, spotlighting the era of ragtime culture in the early 1900s to the rise of big band orchestras in the 1930s. This story is deeply embedded in the larger social condition of Black Bostonians and the account is brought to life by the addition of 20 illustrations of musicians, theaters, dance halls, phonographs, and radios used to enjoy the music. 

South End Shout is part of an emerging field of studies that examines jazz culture outside of the major centers of music production. In extensive detail, author Roger R. House covers the activities of jazz musicians, jazz bands, the places they played, the relationships between Black and white musicians, the segregated local branches of the American Federation of Musicians (AFL-CIO), and the economics of Boston’s music industry. Readers will be captivated by the inclusion of vintage local newspaper reports, classified advertisements, and details of hard-to-access oral history accounts by musicians and residents. These precious documentary materials help to understand how jazz culture evolved as a Boston art form and contributed to the national art form between the world wars. 

With this book, House makes an important contribution to American studies and jazz history. Scholars and general readers alike who are interested in jazz and jazz culture, the history of Boston and its Black culture, and 20th century American and urban studies will be enlightened and delighted by this book. 


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Theater and Crisis
Myth, Memory, and Racial Reckoning in America, 1964-2020
Patrice D. Rankine
Lever Press, 2024
Racial reckoning was a recurrent theme throughout the summer of 2020, a response to George Floyd’s murder and the unprecedented impact of COVID on marginalized groups. Theater and Crisis proposes a literary and theatrical study of how Floyd's killing could possibly happen in the aftermath of the Civil Rights era, and in the supposedly post-racial era following the election of Barack Obama. In the days and months following Floyd's death, there were nightly protests in streets across the United States and broader world. At the same time, theater performances were forced to shift online to video conferencing platforms and to find new ways to engage audiences. In each case, groups made shared meaning through storytelling and narrative, a liberatory process of myth-making and reverence that author Patrice D. Rankine calls “epiphanic encoding.”

Rather than approaching the problem of racial reckoning through history, where periodization and progress are dominant narratives, Theater and Crisis argues that myth and memory allow for better theorization about recurring events from the past, their haunting, and what these apparent ghosts ask of us. Building on the study of myth as active, processual storytelling, Rankine acknowledges that it grounds and orients groups toward significant events. Theater and Crisis aligns narratives about Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and George Floyd, among others, with ancient, mythic figures such as Christ, Dionysus, Oedipus, and Moses. As living and verbal visitations, these stories performed on stage encode the past through their epiphanies in the present, urging audiences toward shared meaning. 

Rankine traces the cyclical hauntings of race through the refiguring of mythic stories across the past 75 years in the plays of James Baldwin, Ntozake Shange, Antoinette Nwandu, and many more, and in response to flashpoints in US racial history, such as the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, the wars on drugs and crime, and the continued violence against and disenfranchisement of Black people into the twenty-first century. Theater and Crisis explores the appearance of myth on the American stage and showcases the ongoing response by the theatrical establishment to transform the stage into a space for racial reckoning. This timely book is essential reading for scholars of theater studies, classics, and American studies.

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Transforming the Authority of the Archive
Undergraduate Pedagogy and Critical Digital Archives
Andi Gustavson and Charlotte Nunes, Editors
Lever Press, 2023
Featuring a wide array of perspectives, Transforming the Authority of the Archive details new roles for archives in undergraduate pedagogy and new roles for undergraduates in archives. While there has long been a place for archival exploration in undergraduate education (especially primary source analysis of items curated by archivists and educators), the models offered here engage students not only in analyzing collections, but also in the manifold challenges of building, stewarding, and communicating about collections. In transforming what archives are to undergraduate education, the projects detailed in this book transform the authority of the archive, as students and community partners claim powers to curate and create history.
Contributions to this volume represent a range of institutions including small liberal arts colleges, HBCUs, Ivy Leagues, large research institutions, and community-based collections. The assignments, projects, and initiatives described across this volume are fundamentally concerned with the challenge to model digital archival collections so as to center individual and community voices that are historically under-engaged in the archives. To address this challenge, contributors describe various approaches to substantively, often radically, redistribute archival resources and authority. The chapters within Transforming the Authority of the Archive offer thoughtful and creative pedagogical approaches to counter the presumed neutrality of the archive and advocate a shared understanding of the contingency of archival collections. This book is a must-read for liberal arts faculty, graduate students, archivists (both community- and institutionally-affiliated), information-studies professionals, librarians, and other professionals working and teaching in archives, museums, libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions.

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Twilight Zone Reflections
An Introduction to the Philosophical Imagination
Saul Traiger
Lever Press, 2024
Twilight Zone Reflections is the first book of its kind to explore the entirety of The Twilight Zone (1959–1964) as a series. It acts as both an introduction to the field of philosophy and as a complete guide to the philosophical issues illustrated throughout the original 1959-64 television series. Author Saul Traiger explores each of the 156 episodes, investigating the show’s themes in metaphysics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy, and other topics in a way that is accessible to both seasoned philosophers and those outside academia. 

Each short chapter dives into a single episode and concludes with helpful cross-references to other episodes that explore similar philosophical problems and subjects. For example, a reader may be interested in questions about the nature of the mind and whether machines can think. By referencing this book, they could easily discover the thematic connections between episodes like “I Sing the Body Electric” or “The Lateness of the Hour,”  and learn how both episodes introduce the viewer to possible worlds that challenge us to consider whether our idea of the mind, and even our very personhood, extends beyond the human to robots and other artificial intelligences. Each chapter introduces fundamental philosophical questions such as these through the lens of The Twilight Zone and inspires additional exploration. Further readings are suggested for all episodes, making this volume indispensable to academics, students, and fans of the show. Each chapter is short and accessible, ensuring that this book is the perfect resource to accompany a complete series re-watch. 

The Twilight Zone considered questions that strike at the heart of philosophical inquiry, such as the nature of self, the existence of god, the possibility of an afterlife, the relationship between knowledge and mental illness, the nature of possibility, even the nature of imagination itself, and so much more. Traiger argues that each episode can serve as an entry point for philosophical reflection. Twilight Zone Reflections is a valuable reference for anyone interested in exploring a well-known slice of popular culture history that doubles as a vast store of philosophical ideas.

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Urban Fantasy
Exploring Modernity through Magic
Stefan Ekman
Lever Press, 2024
Urban fantasy, the genre of fantastic literature in which magic and monsters meet modern society, is fairly young but has old roots. Stefan Ekman’s book, Urban Fantasy: Exploring Modernity through Magic, examines the genre in depth, including its inherent social commentary, its historical development, and its interplay between modernity and the fantastic.

The author draws on a wide range of urban fantasy texts from five decades, combining detailed analysis of dozens of novels and other media with broad discussions to provide a comprehensive understanding of the genre across three sections. The first section presents an overview of what the genre looks like today—both in terms of its common traits and its variety of settings—and how it has developed over time, including the history of urban fantasy scholarship. The second section examines urban fantasy’s core concern with the unseen, for example through a focus on unseen individuals overlooked by society or hiding within it, and on ignored urban spaces or labyrinthine undergrounds. The third section addresses how urban fantasy explores the relationship between the supernatural and modernity. Ekman offers readings of fiction by Ben Aaronovitch, Lauren Beukes, P. Djelí Clark, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Max Gladstone, Kim Harrison, N.K. Jemisin, and Megan Lindholm, among others.

Urban Fantasy will appeal to teachers and students of the fantastic as well as to urban fantasy enthusiasts and literary scholars. Ekman illuminates the genre’s evolution and defining traits, inviting readers to rethink urban fantasy as a creative tool for using magic to explore modernity.

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Vinyl Theory
Jeffrey R. Di Leo
Lever Press, 2020
Why are vinyl records making a comeback? How is their resurgence connected to the political economy of music? Vinyl Theory responds to these and other questions by exploring the intersection of vinyl records with critical theory. In the process, it asks how the political economy of music might be connected with the philosophy of the record. The young critical theorist and composer Theodor Adorno’s work on the philosophy of the record and the political economy of music of the contemporary French public intellectual, Jacques Attali, are brought together with the work of other theorists in order to understand the fall and resurrection of vinyl records. The major argument of Vinyl Theory is that the very existence of vinyl records may be central to understanding the resiliency of neoliberalism. This argument is made by examining the work of Adorno, Attali, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others on music through the lens of Michel Foucault’s biopolitics.

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What Kind of Island in What Kind of Sea?
Franz Fühmann
Lever Press, 2021
The dignity of cognitively disabled people and the ethics of representing their lives are at the heart of an extraordinary yet little-known book first published in the former German Democratic Republic. Was für eine Insel in was für einem Meer, or What Kind of Island in What Kind of Sea (Rostock, Hinstorff, 1986) depicts residents of a church-run institution for people with cognitive disabilities in astonishing black-and-white photographs by Dietmar Riemann and in a probing, poignant essay by esteemed German writer Franz Fühmann. This important text, which moved from a medical model to a historical and cultural view of disability as an aspect of human identity and experience, is translated into English for the first time by Elizabeth Hamilton and includes reflections on the book and its impact. As fuller, global histories of disability are now being written, What Kind of Island in What Kind of Sea opens an essential window onto a formerly shuttered world, demonstrating the power of the arts to hone our capacity to perceive and appreciate human difference.

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Women Making History
The Revolutionary Feminist Postcard Art of Helaine Victoria Press
Julia M. Allen and Jocelyn H. Cohen
Lever Press, 2023

Nourished by the cultural exuberance of second wave feminism, Helaine Victoria Press was a home-grown effort of two young women, Jocelyn Cohen and Nancy Poore, who learned how to print, established a printshop, and became the first publishers of women’s history postcards. The authors of Women Making History demonstrate that by creating postcards, Helaine Victoria Press aimed to do more than provide a convenient writing surface or even affect collective memory. Instead, they argue, the press generated feminist memory. The cards, each with the picture of a woman or group of women from history, were multimodal. Pictures were framed in colors and borders appropriate to the era and subject. Lengthy captions offered details about the lives of the women pictured. Unlike other memorials, the cards were mobile: they traveled through the postal system, viewed along the way by the purchasers, mail sorters, mail carriers, and recipients. Upon arriving at their destinations, cards were often posted on office bulletin boards or refrigerators at home, where surroundings shaped their meanings.

This is the first book to demonstrate the relationships between the feminist art movement, the women in print movement, and the scholars studying women’s history. Readers will be drawn to both the large quantity of illustrative materials and the theoretical framework of the book, as it provides an expanded understanding of rhetorical multimodality.


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Women of Trachis
Rachel Kitzinger
Lever Press, 2021
This new translation of Sophokles’ Women of Trachis is a living script in conversation with the past. Rachel Kitzinger, a Classicist, and Eamon Grennan, a poet, have captured the tones of ancient Greek in strong, swift English, making this translation suitable for a modern audience, whether as readers, listeners, or viewers. The unique addition of an audio recording of the text performed by Vassar College students contributes to the play's accessibility and vividness. Offering a picture both of domestic life and of the values and expectations that characterize Athenian men, Women of Trachis is a rich resource for those interested in gender roles in Greek antiquity.

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