From the films of Larry Clark, to the feminist comedy of Amy Schumer, to the fall of Louis CK, comedic, graphic, and violent moments of abjection have permeated twentieth- and twenty-first-century social and political discourse. The contributors to Abjection Incorporated move beyond simple critiques of abjection as a punitive form of social death, illustrating how it has become a contested mode of political and cultural capital—empowering for some but oppressive for others. Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, core to theories of abjection by thinkers such as Kristeva and Bataille, the contributors examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Whether analyzing how comedic abjection can help mobilize feminist politics or how expressions of abjection inflect class, race, and gender hierarchies, the contributors demonstrate the importance of competing uses of abjection to contemporary society and politics. They emphasize abjection's role in circumscribing the boundaries of the human, and how the threats abjection poses to the self and other, far from simply negative, open up possibilities for radically new politics.
Contributors. Meredith Bak, Eugenie Brinkema, James Leo Cahill, Michelle Cho, Maggie Hennefeld, Rob King, Thomas Lamarre, Sylvère Lotringer, Rijuta Mehta, Mark Mulroney, Nicholas Sammond, Yiman Wang, Rebecca Wanzo
Accounting for Violence offers bold new perspectives on the politics of memory in Latin America. Scholars from across the humanities and social sciences provide in-depth analyses of the political economy of memory in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, countries that emerged from authoritarian rule in the 1980s and 1990s. The contributors take up issues of authenticity and commodification, as well as the “never again” imperative implicit in memory goods and memorial sites. They describe how bookstores, cinemas, theaters, the music industry, and television shows (and their commercial sponsors) trade in testimonial and fictional accounts of the authoritarian past; how tourist itineraries have come to include trauma sites and memorial museums; and how memory studies has emerged as a distinct academic field profiting from its own journals, conferences, book series, and courses. The memory market, described in terms of goods, sites, producers, marketers, consumers, and patrons, presents a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, commodifying memory potentially cheapens it. On the other hand, too little public exposure may limit awareness of past human-rights atrocities; such awareness may help to prevent their recurring.
Contributors. Rebecca J. Atencio, Ksenija Bilbija, Jo-Marie Burt, Laurie Beth Clark, Cath Collins, Susana Draper, Nancy Gates-Madsen, Susana Kaiser, Cynthia E. Milton, Alice A. Nelson, Carmen Oquendo Villar, Leigh A. Payne, José Ramón Ruisánchez Serra, Maria Eugenia Ulfe
Tourists exult in Bahia, Brazil as a tropical paradise infused with the black population's one-of-a-kind vitality. But the alluring images of smiling black faces and dancing black bodies masks an ugly reality of anti-black authoritarian violence. Christen A. Smith argues that the dialectic of glorified representations of black bodies and subsequent state repression reinforces Brazil's racially hierarchal society. Interpreting the violence as both institutional and performative, Smith follows a grassroots movement and social protest theater troupe in their campaigns against racial violence. As Smith reveals, economies of black pain and suffering form the backdrop for the staged, scripted, and choreographed afro-paradise that dazzles visitors. The work of grassroots organizers exposes this relationship, exploding illusions and asking unwelcome questions about the impact of state violence performed against the still-marginalized mass of Afro-Brazilians.
Numerous activists and scholars have appealed for rights, inclusion, and justice in the name of "citizenship." Against Citizenship provocatively shows that there is nothing redeemable about citizenship, nothing worth salvaging or sustaining in the name of "community," practice, or belonging. According to Brandzel, citizenship is a violent dehumanizing mechanism that makes the comparative devaluing of human lives seem commonsensical, logical, and even necessary. Against Citizenship argues that whenever we work on behalf of citizenship, whenever we work towards including more types of peoples under its reign, we inevitably reify the violence of citizenship against nonnormative others. Brandzel's focus on three legal case studies--same-sex marriage law, hate crime legislation, and Native Hawaiian sovereignty and racialization--exposes how citizenship confounds and obscures the mutual processes of settler colonialism, racism, sexism, and heterosexism. In this way, Brandzel argues that citizenship requires anti-intersectionality, that is, strategies that deny the mutuality and contingency of race, class, gender, sexuality and nation--and how, oftentimes, progressive left activists and scholars follow suit.
In Attachments to War Jennifer Terry traces how biomedical logics entangle Americans in a perpetual state of war. Focusing on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2002 and 2014, Terry identifies the presence of a biomedicine-war nexus in which new forms of wounding provoke the continual development of complex treatment, rehabilitation, and prosthetic technologies. At the same time, the U.S. military rationalizes violence and military occupation as necessary conditions for advancing medical knowledge and saving lives. Terry examines the treatment of war-generated polytrauma, postinjury bionic prosthetics design, and the development of defenses against infectious pathogens, showing how the interdependence between war and biomedicine is interwoven with neoliberal ideals of freedom, democracy, and prosperity. She also outlines the ways in which military-sponsored biomedicine relies on racialized logics that devalue the lives of Afghan and Iraqi citizens and U.S. veterans of color. Uncovering the mechanisms that attach all Americans to war and highlighting their embeddedness and institutionalization in everyday life via the government, media, biotechnology, finance, and higher education, Terry helps lay the foundation for a more meaningful opposition to war.