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.
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.
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.
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 college town is a unique type of urban place, shaped by the sometimes conflicting forces of youth, intellect, and idealism. The hundreds of college towns in the United States are, in essence, an academic archipelago. Similar to one another, they differ in fundamental ways from other cities and the regions in which they are located.
In this highly readable book -- the first work published on the subject -- Blake Gumprecht identifies the distinguishing features of college towns, explains why they have developed as they have in the United States, and examines in depth various characteristics that make them unusual. In eight thematic chapters, he explores some of the most interesting aspects of college towns -- their distinctive residential and commercial districts, their unconventional political cultures, their status as bohemian islands, their emergence as high-tech centers, and more. Each of these chapters focuses on a single college town as an example, while providing additional evidence from other towns.
Lively, richly detailed, and profusely illustrated with original maps and photographs, as well as historical images, this is an important book that firmly establishes the college town as an integral component of the American experience.
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.
From parrots and snakes to 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; animals' exchange at US exotic animal auctions; 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 objects. Their capture and sale severs 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 bio-economic 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.
“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.