Faculty Publications

Section 1

Research Publications

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Biocultural Creatures
 
In Biocultural Creatures, Samantha Frost brings feminist and political theory together with findings in the life sciences to recuperate the category of the human for politics. Challenging the idea of human exceptionalism as well as other theories of subjectivity that rest on a distinction between biology and culture, Frost proposes that humans are biocultural creatures who quite literally are cultured within the material, social, and symbolic worlds they inhabit. Through discussions about carbon, the functions of cell membranes, the activity of genes and proteins, the work of oxygen, and the passage of time, Frost recasts questions about the nature of matter, identity, and embodiment.  In doing so, she elucidates the imbrication of the biological and cultural within the corporeal self.  In remapping the relation of humans to their habitats and arriving at the idea that humans are biocultural creatures, Frost provides new theoretical resources for responding to political and environmental crises and for thinking about how to transform the ways we live. 

https://www.dukeupress.edu/biocultural-creatures

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Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential Of Black Girlhood

 

 

By Ruth Nicole Brown

University of Illinois Press, 2014

This volume examines how Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths, or SOLHOT, a radical youth intervention, provides a space for the creative performance and expression of Black girlhood and how this creativity informs other realizations about Black girlhood and womanhood. Founded in 2006 and co-organized by the author, SOLHOT is an intergenerational collective organizing effort that celebrates and recognizes Black girls as producers of culture and knowledge. Girls discuss diverse expressions of Black girlhood, critique the issues that are important to them, and create art that keeps their lived experiences at its center.

Drawing directly from her experiences in SOLHOT, Ruth Nicole Brown argues that when Black girls reflect on their own lives, they articulate radically unique ideas about their lived experiences. She documents the creative potential of Black girls and women who are working together to advance original theories, practices, and performances that affirm complexity, interrogate power, and produce humanizing representation of Black girls' lives. Emotionally and intellectually powerful, this book expands on the work of Black feminists and feminists of color and breaks intriguing new ground in Black feminist thought and methodology.

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Imperial Blues: Geographies Of Race And Sex In Jazz Age New York

 

By Fiona I. B. Ngô

Duke Press, 2014

In this path breaking study, Fiona I. B. Ngo  examines how geographies of U.S. empire were perceived and enacted during the 1920s and 1930s. Focusing on New York during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Ngô traces the city's multiple circuits of jazz music and culture. In considering this cosmopolitan milieu, where migrants from the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Japan, and China crossed paths with blacks and white "slummers" in dancehalls and speakeasies, she investigates imperialism's profound impact on racial, gendered, and sexual formations. As nightclubs overflowed with the sights and sounds of distant continents, tropical islands, and exotic bodies, tropes of empire provided both artistic possibilities and policing rationales. These renderings naturalized empire and justified expansion, while establishing transnational modes of social control within and outside the imperial city. Ultimately, Ngô argues that domestic structures of race and sex during the 1920s and 1930s cannot be understood apart from the imperial ambitions of the United States.

Histories of the Dustheap: Waste, Material Cultures, Social Justice

 

 

Edited by Stephanie Foote and Elizabeth Mazzolini

MIT Press, 2012

Garbage, considered both materially and culturally, elicits mixed responses. Our responsibility toward the objects we love and then discard is entangled with our responsibility toward the systems that make those objects. Histories of the Dustheap uses garbage, waste, and refuse to investigate the relationships between various systems--the local and the global, the economic and the ecological, the historical and the contemporary--and shows how this most democratic reality produces identities, social relations, and policies.

The contributors first consider garbage in subjective terms, examining “toxic autobiography” by residents of Love Canal, the intersection of public health and women’s rights, and enviroblogging. They explore the importance of place, with studies of post-Katrina soil contamination in New Orleans, e-waste disposal in Bloomington, Indiana, and garbage on Mount Everest. And finally, they look at cultural contradictions as objects hover between waste and desirability, examining Milwaukee’s efforts to sell its sludge as fertilizer, the plastics industry’s attempt to wrap plastic bottles and bags in the mantle of freedom of choice, and the idea of obsolescence in the animated film The Brave Little Toaster.

Histories of the Dustheap offers a range of perspectives on a variety of incarnations of garbage, inviting the reader to consider garbage in a way that goes beyond the common “buy green” discourse that empowers individuals while limiting environmental activism to consumerist practices. 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Collaborative Dubliners : Joyce in Dialogue

 

 

Edited by Vicki Mahaffey

Contributors include: Derek Attridge, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Maud Ellmann, Anne Fogarty, Andrew Gibson, Carol Loeb Shloss, Joseph Valente

Syracuse University Press

Enigmatic, vivid, and terse, James Joyce’s Dubliners continues both to puzzle and to compel its readers. This collection of essays by thirty contributors from seven countries presents a revolutionary view of Joyce’s technique and draws out its surprisingly contemporary implications by beginning with a single unusual premise: that meaning in Joyce’s fiction is a product of engaged interaction between two or more people. Meaning is not dispensed by the author; rather, it is actively negotiated between involved and curious readers through the medium of a shared text. Here, pairs of experts on Joyce’s work produce meaning beyond the text by arguing over it, challenging one another through it, and illuminating it with relevant facts about language, history, and culture. The result is not an authoritative interpretation of Joyce’s collection of stories but an animated set of dialogues about Dublinersdesigned to draw the reader into its lively discussions. 


The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages

 

 

By Mimi Thi Nguyen

Duke University Press, 2012

Listen to The Critical Lede podcast with Mimi Thi Nguyen

In The Gift of Freedom, Mimi Thi Nguyen develops a new understanding of contemporary United States empire and its self-interested claims to provide for others the advantage of human freedom. Bringing together critiques of liberalism with postcolonial approaches to the modern cartography of progress, Nguyen proposes "the gift of freedom" as the name for those forces that avow to reverence aliveness and beauty, and to govern an enlightened humanity, while producing new subjects and actions—such as a grateful refugee, or enduring war—in an age of liberal empire. From the Cold War to the global war on terror, the United States simultaneously promises the gift of freedom through war and violence and administers the debt that follows. Focusing here on the figure of the Vietnamese refugee as the twice-over target of the gift of freedom—first through war, second through refuge—Nguyen suggests that the imposition of debt precludes the subjects of freedom from escaping those colonial histories that deemed them "unfree." To receive the gift of freedom then is to be indebted to empire, perhaps without end.

 

Moving Beyond Borders: A History of Black Canadian and Caribbean Women in the Diaspora

 

 

by Karen Flynn

University of Toronto Press, 2011

Awards: Lavinia L. Dock Award awarded by American Association for the History of Nursing (United States) - Winner in 2013

Moving Beyond Borders is the first book-length history of Black health care workers in Canada, delving into the experiences of thirty-five postwar-era nurses who were born in Canada or who immigrated from the Caribbean either through Britain or directly to Canada. Karen Flynn examines the shaping of these women's stories from their childhoods through to their roles as professionals and community activists.

Flynn interweaves oral histories with archival sources to show how these women's lives were shaped by their experiences of migration, professional training, and family life. Theoretical analyses from postcolonial, gender, and diasporic Black Studies serve to highlight the multiple subjectivities operating within these women's lives. By presenting a collective biography of identity formation, Moving Beyond Borders reveals the extraordinary complexity of Black women's history.

 

The Restructuring of South African Higher Education: Rocky Roads from Policy Formulation to Institutional Mergers, 2001-2005

 

 

Teresa Barnes , Narend Baijnath , Kalawathie Sattar 

Unisa Press, 2010-01-01

Synopsis: Before 1994, South Africa supported 36 higher education institutions as part of its apartheid legacy. Enforced racial segregation resulted in a plethora of institutions to accommodate specific racial and language groups, which were managed and professionally staffed mostly by white males. Financially, these higher education institutions were an enormous burden for the new state after 1994. This book examines the processes of restructuring, following on the government's decision in 2001/2002 to radically reform the legacy of 'the geopolitical imagination of the apartheid planners' in higher education. This innovative study gets under the skin of what was clearly the most major intervention in South African higher education since 1959, utilizing a set of site-based observers on each campus and regular interviews with key informants at each case study site. Since the merging of institutions was far-reaching but widely contested, the study gives descriptive information to analyze whether the mergers were helping towards advancing the causes of equity and increasing student access to higher education. A comprehensive range of institutions are covered and the main researchers represent strong diversity in training and perspectives. .

 

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New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics

 

 

Editors: Diane Coole, Samantha Frost

Duke University Press, 

New Materialisms brings into focus and explains the significance of the innovative materialist critiques that are emerging across the social sciences and humanities. By gathering essays that exemplify the new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, this important collection shows how scholars are reworking older materialist traditions, contemporary theoretical debates, and advances in scientific knowledge to address pressing ethical and political challenges. In the introduction, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost highlight common themes among the distinctive critical projects that comprise the new materialisms. The continuities they discern include a posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency, and a reengagement with both the material realities of everyday life and broader geopolitical and socioeconomic structures.

Coole and Frost argue that contemporary economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments demand new accounts of nature, agency, and social and political relationships; modes of inquiry that privilege consciousness and subjectivity are not adequate to the task. New materialist philosophies are needed to do justice to the complexities of twenty-first-century biopolitics and political economy, because they raise fundamental questions about the place of embodied humans in a material world and the ways that we produce, reproduce, and consume our material environment.


Contributors
Sara Ahmed
Jane Bennett
Rosi Braidotti
Pheng Cheah
Rey Chow
William E. Connolly
Diana Coole
Jason Edwards
Samantha Frost
Elizabeth Grosz
Sonia Kruks
Melissa A. Orlie

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Black Girlhood Celebration

 

 

By Ruth Nicole Brown

Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2009

This book passionately illustrates why the celebration of Black girlhood is essential. Based on the principles and practices of a Black girl-centered program, it examines how performances of everyday Black girlhood are mediated by popular culture, personal truths, and lived experiences, and how the discussion and critique of these factors can be a great asset in the celebration of Black girls. Drawing on scholarship from women's studies, African American studies, and education, the book skillfully joins poetry, autobiographical vignettes, and keen observations into a wholehearted, participatory celebration of Black girls in a context of hip-hop feminism and critical pedagogy. Through humor, honesty, and disciplined research it argues that hip-hop is not only music, but also an effective way of working with Black girls. Black Girlhood Celebration recognizes the everyday work many young women of color are doing, outside of mainstream categories, to create social change by painting an unconventional picture of how complex - and necessary - the goal of Black girl celebration can be.

Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions
 
 
Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 
 
"Challenging Fiction" is a double entendre. This unusual book argues that modernist fiction is not only difficult (or challenging) to read, it also provokes readers to challenge the fictions that they live by. To read modernist literature in a way that unlocks its humor, its discomfiting insights, and its strong emotional undercurrents, a reader must be both receptive and resistant to the author's perspective, actively challenging it with his or her own experience, knowledge, and sensibilities. Using writers as diverse as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Djuna Barnes, Oscar Wilde, and Jean Rhys, this book demonstrates that the rewards of "challenging fiction" are considerable, and unexpected.
 
Regional Fictions: Culture and Identity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

 

by Stephanie Foote

Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2001

Out of many, one --e pluribus unum--is the motto of the American nation, and it sums up neatly the paradox that Stephanie Foote so deftly identifies in Regional Fictions. Regionalism, the genre that ostensibly challenges or offers an alternative to nationalism, in fact characterizes and perhaps even defines the American sense of nationhood. In particular, Foote argues that the colorful local characters, dialects, and accents that marked regionalist novels and short stories of the late nineteenth century were key to the genre's conversion of seemingly dangerous political differences--such as those posed by disaffected Midwestern farmers or recalcitrant foreign nationals--into appealing cultural differences. She asserts that many of the most treasured beliefs about the value of local identities still held in the United States today are traceable to the discourses of this regional fiction, and she illustrates her contentions with insightful examinations of the work of Sarah Orne Jewett, Hamlin Garland, Gertrude Atherton, George Washington Cable, Jacob Riis, and others. Broadening the definitions of regional writing and its imaginative territory, Regional Fictions moves beyond literary criticism to comment on the ideology of national, local, ethnic, and racial identity.

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Fur Nation: From The Beaver To Brigette Burdot

 

 

By Chantal Nadeau 

Routledge, 2001

Fur Nation traces the interwoven relationships between sexuality, national identity, and colonialism. Chantal Nadeau shows how Canada, a white settler colony, bases its existence and its nationhood on a complex sexual economy based on women wrapped in fur.

Nadeau traces the centrality of fur through a series of intriguing case studies, including:

* Hollywood's take on the 330 year history of the Hudson Bay Company, founded to exploit Canada's rich fur resources

* the life of a postwar fur fashion photographer

* a 1950s musical called Fur Lady

* the battle between Brigitte Bardot's anti-fur activists and the fur industry.

Nadeau highlights the connection between 'fur ladies' - women wearing, exploiting or promoting furs - and the beaver, symbol of Canada and nature's master builder. She shows how, in postcolonial Canada, the nation is sexualised around female reproduction and fur, which is both a crucial factor in economic development, and a powerful symbol through which the nation itself is conceived and commodified. Fur Nation demonstrates that, for Canada, fur really is the fabric of a nation.

Queering The Color Line: Race And The Invention Of Homosexuality In American Culture

 

 

By Siobhan Somerville

Duke University Press, 2000 

Queering the Color Line transforms previous understandings of how homosexuality was “invented” as a category of identity in the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century. Analyzing a range of sources, including sexology texts, early cinema, and African American literature, Siobhan B. Somerville argues that the emerging understanding of homosexuality depended on the context of the black/white “color line,” the dominant system of racial distinction during this period. This book thus critiques and revises tendencies to treat race and sexuality as unrelated categories of analysis, showing instead that race has historically been central to the cultural production of homosexuality.
At about the same time that the 1896 Supreme Court Plessy v. Ferguson decision hardened the racialized boundary between black and white, prominent trials were drawing the public’s attention to emerging categories of sexual identity. Somerville argues that these concurrent developments were not merely parallel but in fact inextricably interrelated and that the discourses of racial and sexual “deviance” were used to reinforce each other’s terms. She provides original readings of such texts as Havelock Ellis’s late nineteenth-century work on “sexual inversion,” the 1914 film A Florida Enchantment, the novels of Pauline E. Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Jean Toomer’s fiction and autobiographical writings, including Cane. Through her analyses of these texts and her archival research, Somerville contributes to the growing body of scholarship that focuses on discovering the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality.

Interpreting Ladies: Women, Wit, And Morality In The Restoration Comedy Of Manners

  

By Pat Gill

University of Georgia Press, January 1995