From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war. Kaplan’s investigation of the aerial arts of war—painting, photography, and digital imaging—range from England's surveys of Scotland following the defeat of the 1746 Jacobite rebellion and early twentieth-century photographic mapping of Iraq to images taken in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Throughout, Kaplan foregrounds aerial imagery's importance to modern visual culture and its ability to enforce colonial power, demonstrating both the destructive force and the potential for political connection that come with viewing from above.
An influential thinker’s fascinating reflections and meditations on reacclimating to his native Senegal as a young academic after years of study abroad
The call to morning prayer. A group run at daybreak along the Corniche in Dakar. A young woman shedding tears on a beach as her friends take a boat to Europe. In African Meditations, paths to enlightenment collide with tales of loss and ruminations, musical gatherings, and the everyday sights and sounds of life in West Africa as a young philosopher and creative writer seeks to establish himself as a teacher upon his return to Senegal, his homeland, after years of study abroad.
A unique contemporary portrait of an influential, multicultural thinker on a spiritual quest across continents—reflecting on his multiple literary influences along with French, African Francophone, and Senegalese tribal cultural roots in a homeland with a predominantly Muslim culture—African Meditations is a seamless blend of autobiography, journal entries, and fiction; aphorisms and brief narrative sketches; humor and Zen reflections.
Taking us from Saint-Louis to Dakar, Felwine Sarr encounters the rhythms of everyday life as well as its disruptions such as teachers’ strikes and power outages while traversing a semi-surrealistic landscape. As he reacclimates to his native country after a life in France, we get candid glimpses, both vibrant and hopeful, sublime and mundane, into his Zen journey to resecure a foothold in his roots and to navigate academia, even while gleaning something of the good life, of joy, amid the struggles of life in Senegal.
After arriving from South Asia approximately a thousand years ago, cannabis quickly spread throughout the African continent. European accounts of cannabis in Africa—often fictionalized and reliant upon racial stereotypes—shaped widespread myths about the plant and were used to depict the continent as a cultural backwater and Africans as predisposed to drug use. These myths continue to influence contemporary thinking about cannabis. In The African Roots of Marijuana, Chris S. Duvall corrects common misconceptions while providing an authoritative history of cannabis as it flowed into, throughout, and out of Africa. Duvall shows how preexisting smoking cultures in Africa transformed the plant into a fast-acting and easily dosed drug and how it later became linked with global capitalism and the slave trade. People often used cannabis to cope with oppressive working conditions under colonialism, as a recreational drug, and in religious and political movements. This expansive look at Africa's importance to the development of human knowledge about marijuana will challenge everything readers thought they knew about one of the world's most ubiquitous plants.
Age of Concrete is a history of the making of houses and homes in the subúrbios of Maputo (Lourenço Marques), Mozambique, from the late 1940s to the present. Often dismissed as undifferentiated, ahistorical “slums,” these neighborhoods are in fact an open-air archive that reveals some of people’s highest aspirations. At first people built in reeds. Then they built in wood and zinc panels. And finally, even when it was illegal, they risked building in concrete block, making permanent homes in a place where their presence was often excruciatingly precarious.
Unlike many histories of the built environment in African cities, Age of Concrete focuses on ordinary homebuilders and dwellers. David Morton thus models a different way of thinking about urban politics during the era of decolonization, when one of the central dramas was the construction of the urban stage itself. It shaped how people related not only to each other but also to the colonial state and later to the independent state as it stumbled into being.
Original, deeply researched, and beautifully composed, this book speaks in innovative ways to scholarship on urban history, colonialism and decolonization, and the postcolonial state. Replete with rare photographs and other materials from private collections, Age of Concrete establishes Morton as one of a handful of scholars breaking new ground on how we understand Africa’s cities.
This is a story about aging in place in a world of global movement. Around the world, many older people have stayed still but have been profoundly impacted by the movement of others. Without migrating themselves, many older people now live in a far “different country” than the one of their memories. Recently, the Brexit vote and the 2016 election of Trump have re-enforced prevalent stereotypes of “the racist older person”. This book challenges simplified images of the old as racist, nostalgic and resistant to change by taking a deeper, more nuanced look at older people’s complex relationship with the diversity and multiculturalism that has grown and developed around them. Aging in a Changing World takes a look at how some older people in New Zealand have been responding to and interacting with the new multiculturalism they now encounter in their daily lives. Through their unhurried, micro, daily interactions with immigrants, they quietly emerge as agents of the very social change they are assumed to oppose.
Meth cooks practice late industrial alchemy—transforming base materials, like lithium batteries and camping fuel, into gold
Meth alchemists all over the United States tap the occulted potencies of industrial chemical and big pharma products to try to cure the ills of precarious living: underemployment, insecurity, and the feeling of idleness. Meth fires up your attention and makes repetitive tasks pleasurable, whether it’s factory work or tinkering at home. Users are awake for days and feel exuberant and invincible. In one person’s words, they “get more life.”
The Alchemy of Meth is a nonfiction storybook about St. Jude County, Missouri, a place in decomposition, where the toxic inheritance of deindustrialization meets the violent hope of this drug-making cottage industry. Jason Pine bases the book on fieldwork among meth cooks, recovery professionals, pastors, public defenders, narcotics agents, and pharmaceutical executives. Here, St. Jude is not reduced to its meth problem but Pine looks at meth through materials, landscapes, and institutions: the sprawling context that makes methlabs possible. The Alchemy of Meth connects DIY methlabs to big pharma’s superlabs, illicit speed to the legalized speed sold as ADHD medication, uniquely implicating the author’s own story in the narrative.
By the end of the book, the backdrop of St. Jude becomes the foreground. It could be a story about life and work anywhere in the United States, where it seems no one is truly clean and all are complicit in the exploitation of their precious resources in exchange for a livable present—or even the hope of a future.
A timely and provocative discussion of alienation as an intersectional category of life under racial capitalism and white supremacy
From the divisiveness of the Trump era to the Covid-19 pandemic, alienation has become an all-too-familiar contemporary concept. In this groundbreaking book, James A. Tyner offers a novel framework for understanding the alienated subject, situating it within racial capitalism and white supremacy. Directly addressing current economic trends and their rhetoric of xenophobia, discrimination, and violence, The Alienated Subject exposes the universal whitewashing of alienation.
Drawing insight from a variety of sources, including Marxism, feminism, existentialism, and critical race theory, Tyner develops a critique of both the liberal subject and the alienated subject. Through an engagement with the recent pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, he demonstrates how the alienated subject is capable of both compassion and cruelty; it is a sadomasochist. Tyner goes on to emphasize the importance of the particular places we find the alienated subject and how the revolutionary transformation of alienation is inherently a spatial struggle. Returning to key interlocutors from Sartre to Fromm, he examines political notions of distance and the spatial practices of everyday life as well as the capitalist conditions that give rise to the alienated subject.
For Tyner, the alienated subject is not the iconic, romanticized image of Marx’s proletariat. Here he calls for an affirmation of love as a revolutionary concept, necessary for the transformation of a society marred by capitalism into an emancipated, caring society conditioned by socially just relations.
This extraordinary volume explores the modern melding of cultures, languages, and traditions on the European continent and the human consequences of the rapidly shifting borders in the new era of the European Union. Twenty contributors, from a British-based Iraqi Jewish sociologist to a Romanian playwright in New York, relate their fascinating life experiences that span countries and continents and the multiple identities that they have cultivated during their life journeys. Alter Ego is a compelling volume that probes deeply into the modern European experience and allows a host of voices to share the joys, challenges, and frustrations of living across multiple cultures.
“The Americas, Otherwise” explores the growing influence of the study of the Americas—variously referred to as Americas Studies, Transamerican Studies, Hemispheric Studies, and Interamerican Studies—on the field of comparative literature. The essays in this special issue suggest the centrality of comparative studies of the Americas to the revision of the discipline as a whole, as well as to intellectual practice in other disciplines.
These essays foreground the work of important hemispheric writers, artists, and public intellectuals such as Roberto Bolaño, Alejo Carpentier, Aimé Césaire, Gabriel García Márquez, Édouard Glissant, José Martí, Ricardo Piglia, and Leopoldo Zea. Topics include migration to the Americas from Asia, Europe, and Africa; hemispheric exceptionalisms since the establishment of the first colonies; the interdisciplinary foundations of border studies; theories of the neobaroque and their application to Latin American cultural formations; Latino critical theory; and the emergence of a southern theory inclusive of the intellectual work of often-marginalized cultures.
The Anarchist Roots of Geography sets the stage for a radical politics of possibility and freedom through a discussion of the insurrectionary geographies that suffuse our daily experiences. By embracing anarchist geographies as kaleidoscopic spatialities that allow for nonhierarchical connections between autonomous entities, Simon Springer configures a new political imagination.
Experimentation in and through space is the story of humanity’s place on the planet, and the stasis and control that now supersede ongoing organizing experiments are an affront to our survival. Singular ontological modes that favor one particular way of doing things disavow geography by failing to understand the spatial as a mutable assemblage intimately bound to temporality. Even worse, such stagnant ideas often align to the parochial interests of an elite minority and thereby threaten to be our collective undoing. What is needed is the development of new relationships with our world and, crucially, with each other.
By infusing our geographies with anarchism we unleash a spirit of rebellion that foregoes a politics of waiting for change to come at the behest of elected leaders and instead engages new possibilities of mutual aid through direct action now. We can no longer accept the decaying, archaic geographies of hierarchy that chain us to statism, capitalism, gender domination, racial oppression, and imperialism. We must reorient geographical thinking towards anarchist horizons of possibility. Geography must become beautiful, wherein the entirety of its embrace is aligned to emancipation.
In this book, Dan Stanislawski studies the geography of various small towns in one Mexican state. He discusses the factors—landscape, buildings, culture groups, and so forth—that create a unique personality for each of these towns.
Ancestral Places explores the deep connections that ancestral Kanaka (Native Hawaiians) enjoyed with their environment. It honors the mo‘olelo (historical accounts) of the ancestral places of our kupuna (ancestors), and reveals how these mo‘olelo and our relationships with the ‘aina (land) inform a Kanaka sense of place.
Katrina-Ann R. Kapa‘anaokalaokeola Nakoa Oliveira elucidates a Kanaka geography and provides contemporary scholars with insights regarding traditional culture—including the ways in which Kanaka utilize cartographic performances to map our ancestral places and retain our mo‘olelo, such as reciting creation accounts, utilizing nuances embedded in language, and dancing hula.
A Kanaka by birth, a kumu ‘olelo Hawai‘i (language teacher) by profession, and a geographer by training, Oliveira’s interests intersect at the boundary where words and place-making meet her ancestral land. Thus, Ancestral Places imbues the theoretical with sensual practice. The book’s language moves fluidly between Hawaiian and English, terms are nimbly defined, and the work of the field is embodied: geographic layers are enacted within the text, new understandings created—not just among lexica, but amidst illustrations, charts, terms, and poetry.
In Ancestral Places, Oliveira reasserts both the validity of ancestral knowledge systems and their impact in modernity. Her discussion of Kanaka geographies encompasses the entire archipelago, offering a new framework in Kanaka epistemology.
Parrots and snakes, wild cats and monkeys---exotic pets can now be found everywhere from skyscraper apartments and fenced suburban backyards to roadside petting zoos. In Animal Traffic Rosemary-Claire Collard investigates the multibillion-dollar global exotic pet trade and the largely hidden processes through which exotic pets are produced and traded as lively capital. Tracking the capture of animals in biosphere reserves in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize; their exchange at exotic animal auctions in the United States; and the attempted rehabilitation of former exotic pets at a wildlife center in Guatemala, Collard shows how exotic pets are fetishized both as commodities and as objects. Their capture and sale sever their ties to complex socio-ecological networks in ways that make them appear as if they do not have lives of their own. Collard demonstrates that the enclosure of animals in the exotic pet trade is part of a bioeconomic trend in which life is increasingly commodified and objectified under capitalism. Ultimately, she calls for a “wild life” politics in which animals are no longer enclosed, retain their autonomy, and can live for the sake of themselves.
Winner, 2020 J.G. Ragsdale Book Award from the Arkansas Historical Association
“I reckon stranger you have not been used much to traveling in the woods,” a hunter remarked to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft as he trekked through the Ozark backcountry in late 1818. The ensuing exchange is one of many compelling encounters between Arkansas travelers and settlers depicted in Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–1834. This book is the first to integrate the stories of four travelers who explored Arkansas during the transformative period between the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and statehood in 1836: William Dunbar, Thomas Nuttall, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and George William Featherstonhaugh.
In addition to gathering their tales of treacherous rivers, drunken scoundrels, and repulsive food, historian and geographer Andrew J. Milson explores the impact such travel narratives have had on geographical understandings of Arkansas places. Using the language in each traveler’s narrative, Milson suggests, and the book includes, new maps that trace these perceptions, illustrating not just the lands traversed, but the way travelers experienced and perceived place. By taking a geographical approach to the history of these spaces, Arkansas Travelers offers a deeper understanding—a deeper map—of Arkansas.
In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective.
This special issue of positions is a collection of thought-provoking essays that challenges the ways in which the West has traditionally experienced Asia/Pacific film. Focusing on film texts from Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, the articles explore the powerful emotions of frustration and alienation that cinema can express in the face of modernization and globalization. Contributors examine how specific films—including Haplos (1982), Chilsu and Mansu (1988), Fresh Kill (1994), and Princess Mononoke (1997)—rework folktales, literary sources, popular memory, lived experience, and history. Some of the films examined here incorporate supernatural elements and/or gay and lesbian narratives that provide an escape from the sexism, racism, homophobia, environmental destruction, and urban alienation that the filmmakers see as the defining characteristics of the postcolonial world. Asia/Pacific Cinema posits that film, with its ability to play with memory, fate, and linear time, creates a space in which to consider alternatives to the dominant cultural, economic, and social norms.
Contributors. Jonathan Beller, Joan Kee, Kyung Hyun Kim, Helen Hok-sze Leung, Bliss Cau Lim, Gina Marchetti, Susan Napier, Esther C. M. Yau
Indigenous nations are on the front line of the climate crisis. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing twenty-first century responses to climate change that serve as a model for Natives and non-Native communities alike.
Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already been deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and the northward movement of species on the land and in the ocean. Using tools of resilience, Native peoples are creating defenses to strengthen their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible.
Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis, reflecting the voices of more than twenty contributors, including tribal leaders, scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa / New Zealand, and beyond. Also included is a resource directory of Indigenous governments, NGOs, and communities and a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes.