2020 Affiliate Publications

How a Woman Becomes a Lake: a novel, by Marjorie Celona (Penguin-Random House, 2020). “It’s New Year’s Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover. But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she’s found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo’s sons see Vera? What are they hiding about that day? Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is a compelling, lyrical novel about family, new beginnings, and costly mistakes, which asks, what do you do when the people who are meant to love you the most, fail?” —from the publisher

Spain, the Second World War, and the Holocaust: History and Representation, edited by Sara J. Brenneis and Gina Herrmann (University of Torronto Press, 2020, 736 pages). “Spain has for too long been considered peripheral to the human catastrophes of World War II and the Holocaust. This volume is the first broadly interdisciplinary, scholarly collection to situate Spain in a position of influence in the history and culture of the Second World War. Featuring essays by international experts in the fields of history, literary studies, cultural studies, political science, sociology, and film studies, this book clarifies historical issues within Spain while also demonstrating the impact of Spain’s involvement in the Second World War on historical memory of the Holocaust.” —from the publisher

Gaming Sexism: Gender and Identity in the Era of Casual Video Games, by Amanda Cote, (NYU Press, 2020, 274 pages). “When the Nintendo Wii was released in 2006, it ushered forward a new era of casual gaming in which video games appealed to not just the stereotypical hardcore male gamer, but also to a much broader, more diverse audience. However, the GamerGate controversy six years later, and other similar public incidents since, laid bare the internalized misogyny and gender stereotypes in the gaming community. Today, even as women make up nearly half of all gamers, sexist assumptions about the what and how of women’s gaming are more actively enforced. In Gaming Sexism, Amanda C. Cote explores the video game industry and its players to explain this contradiction, how it affects female gamers, and what it means in terms of power and gender equality.” —from the publisher

Earth Matters on Stage: Ecology and Environment in American Theater, by Theresa May (Routledge, 2020, 344 pages). The book “tells the story of how American theater has shaped popular understandings of the environment throughout the 20th century as it argues for theater’s potential power in the age of climate change. Using cultural and environmental history, seven chapters illuminate key moments in American theater and American environmentalism over the course of the 20th century in the US. It focuses in particular on how drama has represented environmental injustice, and how inequality has become part of the American environmental landscape.  As the first book-length ecocritical study of American theater, Earth Matters examines both familiar dramas, but also lesser-known grassroots plays, in an effort to show that theater can be a powerful force for social change from frontier drama of the late nineteenth century to the eco-theatre movement, the book argues that theater has been part of the history of environmental ideas and action in the US. Earth Matters also maps the rise of an ecocritical thought and ecotheater practice—what the author calls ecodramaturgy—showing how theatre has informed environmental perceptions and policies. Through key plays and productions, it identifies strategies for artists who want their work to contribute to cultural transformation in the face of climate change.” —from the publisher

Countering Violent Extremism in Pakistan: Local Actions, Local Voices, by Anita M. Weiss (Oxford University Press, 2020). “This book identifies and analyzes the impact of the various ways in which local people are responding, taking stands, recapturing their culture, and saying ‘stop’ to the violent extremism that has manifested over the past decade (even longer) in Pakistan. Local groups throughout Pakistan are engaging in various kinds of social negotiations and actions to lessen the violence that has plagued the country since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which let loose a barrage of violence that overflowed into its borders. In so many ways, Pakistanis are engaging in powerful actions that transform how people think about their own society, impeding extremists’ rants while acting on ‘envisioning alternative futures’. This book, hence, focuses on finding the sparks of hope that local people are creating to counter violent extremism. Based on close ethnographic study of ground realities, it looks at not only what people are doing but why they are selecting these kinds of actions, how they are creating alternative narratives about culture and identity, and their vision of a future without violence. This book is also designed to celebrate what is flourishing in cultural performances, music, social activism, and the like in Pakistan today because of people’s commitment to take stands against extremism.” —from the publisher

Beauty Diplomacy: Embodying an Emerging Nation, by Oluwakemi M. Balogun (Stanford University Press, Globalization in Everyday Life Series, 2020, 304 pages). “Even as beauty pageants have been critiqued as misogynistic and dated cultural vestiges of the past in the US and elsewhere, the pageant industry is growing in popularity across the Global South, and Nigeria is one of the countries at the forefront of this trend. In a country with over 1,000 reported pageants, these events are more than superficial forms of entertainment. Beauty Diplomacy takes us inside the world of Nigerian beauty contests to see how they are transformed into contested vehicles for promoting complex ideas about gender and power, ethnicity and belonging, and a rapidly changing articulation of Nigerian nationhood. Drawing on four case studies of beauty pageants, this book examines how Nigeria’s changing position in the global political economy and existing cultural tensions inform varied forms of embodied nationalism, where contestants are expected to integrate recognizable elements of Nigerian cultural identity while also conveying a narrative of a newly-emerging, globally-relevant Nigeria. Oluwakemi M. Balogun critically examines Nigerian pageants in the context of major transitions within the nation-state, using these events as a lens through which to understand Nigerian national identity and international relations.” —from the publisher

Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic, by Ana-Maurine Lara (Rutgers University Press, 2020, 258 pages). This book “is an exploration of the ways that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer persons exercise power in a Catholic Hispanic heteropatriarchal nation-state, namely the Dominican Republic. Lara presents the specific strategies employed by LGBTQ community leaders in the Dominican Republic in their struggle for subjectivity, recognition, and rights. Drawing on ethnographic encounters, film and video, and interviews, LGBTQ community leaders teach readers about streetwalking, confrontación, flipping the script, cuentos, and the use of strategic universalisms in the exercise of power and agency. Rooted in Maria Lugones’s theorization of streetwalker strategies and Audre Lorde’s theorization of silence and action, this text re-imagines the exercise and locus of power in examples provided by the living, thriving LGBTQ community of the Dominican Republic.” —from the publisher

Queer Freedom : Black Sovereignty, by Ana-Maurine Lara (SUNY Press, Afro-Latinx Futures Series, 2020, 200 pages). “Theoretically wide-ranging and deeply personal and poetic, Queer Freedom : Black Sovereignty is based on more than three years of fieldwork in the Dominican Republic. Ana-Maurine Lara draws on her engagement in traditional ceremonies, observations of national Catholic celebrations, and interviews with activists from peasant, feminist, and LGBT communities to reframe contemporary conversations about queerness and blackness. The result is a rich ethnography of the ways criollo spiritual practices challenge gender and racial binaries and manifest what Lara characterizes as a shared desire for decolonization. Queer Freedom : Black Sovereignty is also a ceremonial ofrenda, or offering, in its own right. At its heart is a fundamental question: How can we enable “queer : black” life in all its forms, and what would it mean to be “free : sovereign” in the twenty-first century? Calling on the reader to join her in exploring possible answers, Lara maintains that the analogy between these terms—queerness and blackness, freedom and sovereignty—is necessarily incomplete and unresolved, to be determined only by ongoing processes of embodied, relational knowledge production. Queer Freedom : Black Sovereignty thus follows figures such as Sylvia Wynter, María Lugones, M. Jacqui Alexander, Édouard Glissant, Mark Rifkin, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde in working to theorize a potential roadmap to decolonization.” —from the publisher