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New Books in Literary Studies

Author: Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Scholars of Literature about their New Books

584 Episodes
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Gaurav Desai’s Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013), offers an alternative history of East Africa in the Indian Ocean world. Reading the life narratives and literary texts of South Asians writing in and about East Africa, Gaurav Desai highlights many complexities in the history of Africa's experience with slavery, migration, colonialism, nationalism, and globalization. Consulting Afrasian texts that are literary and nonfictional, political and private, he broadens the scope of African and South Asian scholarship and inspires a more nuanced understanding of the Indian Ocean's fertile routes of exchange. Desai shows how the Indian Ocean engendered a number of syncretic identities and shaped the medieval trade routes of the Islamicate empire, the early independence movements galvanized in part by Gandhi's southern African experiences, the invention of new ethnic nationalisms, and the rise of plural, multiethnic African nations. Calling attention to lives and literatures long neglected by traditional scholars, Desai introduces rich, interdisciplinary ways of thinking not only about this specific region but also about the very nature of ethnic history and identity. Traveling from the twelfth century to today, he concludes with a look at contemporary Asian populations in East Africa and their struggle to decide how best to participate in the development and modernization of their postcolonial nations without sacrificing their political autonomy. Gaurav Desai is Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Micheal Rumore is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His work focuses on the Indian Ocean as an African diasporic site. He can be reached at mrumore@gradcenter.cuny.edu. Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Vanita Reddy, in her book Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity and South Asian American Culture (Duke University Press, 2016), locates diasporic transnationality, affiliations and intimacies through the analytic of beauty. Through her analysis of Asian American literary fiction and performance artwork and installations, Reddy lingers on moments, objects and subjective positions that reveal the potentiality of beauty. Not just a site for neoliberal complicity, beauty, in its presence as well as absence, also emerges as something subversive.  The re-articulation of the bindi and the saree, objects that are otherwise imbued with upper-caste, Hindu hetero-reproductive symbolisms, in the works of performance artists, offer queer queer subversion of power structures. Beauty also becomes the site of not just physical but also social (im)mobility as Reddy presents the complicated ways in which beauty relates to aspiration. Central to her project is upending the male-centric understanding of the relationship between the diaspora and the “nation”. Focussing not only on female narratives of movement and mobility but also interrogating the vulnerability and queer-ness of male subject positions, Reddy provides a nuanced interrogation of how “frivolous” beauty becomes the site of transformative transnational journeys.  In the first three chapters, she looks at the literary fiction that either centrally or marginally deploys beauty as the site of narrating stories about the diaspora. Chapter 4 and 5 look at feminist performances and cyber representations of objects like the bindi and saree that deliberately challenge the essentialization of these objects and destabilizes them not just to narrate stories of movement but emphasize potential for mobilization through seemingly non-serious, beautiful artifacts. Vanita Reddy is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University.                      Lakshita Malik is a doctoral student in the department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work focuses on questions of intimacies, class, gender, and beauty in South Asia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and The Battles of Lev Gleason (Chapterhouse Publishing, 2020), Brett Dakin, Gleason’s great-nephew delves into the life of his famous relative. Gleason rose to the top of the comic publishing world during its Golden Age, publishing Daredevil and Crime Does Not Pay among other titles. Dakin explores the family archives and FBI files to give readers a comprehensive look into the life of Gleason and his Progressive activism. Gleason’s experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee and Dr. Frederic Wertham and other Anti-Comic activists give a glimpse into important political and social activism of the 1940s and 50s in American history. Dakin not only presents the story of Great-Uncle Lev, but he also gives readers insight into his research into Gleason’s life, career, and disappearance from public. Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English at Western Illinois University. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. She is the author of Writing a Riot: Riot Grrrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics (Peter Lang, 2018). You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at rj-buchanan@wiu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity (Northwestern University Press, 2020), Ari Linden analyzes Karl Kraus’s oeuvre while engaging in the conversation about modernism and modernity, which is shaped and conditioned by the already post-postmodern condition. This perspective opens up the exploration of modernist projects and allows a discussion that goes beyond a specific time-period and invites us to locate the conversation about Kraus, as well as about the modernist discourse, in the context of the present moment. In his book, Linden outlines the most salient features of Kraus’s writing and establishes an ethic and aesthetic matrix to explore the variations and renditions that the modernist projects may promote and welcome. The book specifies Kraus’s aesthetic engagement with satire, as well as with the exploration of the language limitations (if any) and with intellectual conversations, which serve as responses to political and historical events. The latter makes Linden’s project particularly relevant and up-to-date for the contemporary moment: Kraus’s oeuvre helps further disclose how writing can be engaged as a key instrument not only for the construction of the individual’s perception of the self and others, but also for the construction of ideological paradigms, encapsulating power and control on both individual and public levels. Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity brings modernity and modernism to the forefront of the post-postmodernist concerns and offers an insightful perspective on how a writer responds to history and politics while interrupting the discourse with their aesthetic renditions. Ari Linden is an assistant professor in the Department of German Studies at the University of Kansas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Psychiatry has lagged behind many clinical specialties in recognizing the importance of narrative for understanding and effectively treating disease. With this book, Bradley Lewis makes the challenging and compelling case that psychiatrists need to promote the significance of narrative in their practice as well. Narrative already holds a prominent place in psychiatry. Patient stories are the foundation for diagnosis and the key to managing treatment and measuring its effectiveness. Even so, psychiatry has paid scant scholarly attention to the intrinsic value of patient stories. Fortunately, the study of narrative outside psychiatry has grown exponentially in recent years, and it is now possible for psychiatry to make considerable advances in its appreciation of clinical stories. Narrative Psychiatry: How Stories Can Shape Clinical Practice (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011) picks up this intellectual opportunity and develops the tools of narrative for psychiatry. Lewis explores the rise of narrative medicine and looks closely at recent narrative approaches to psychotherapy. He uses philosophic and fictional writings, such as Anton Chekhov’s play Ivanov, to develop key terms in narrative theory (plot, metaphor, character, point of view) and to understand the interpretive dimensions of clinical work. Finally, Lewis brings this material back to psychiatric practice, showing how narrative insights can be applied in psychiatric treatments―including the use of psychiatric medications. Nothing short of a call to rework the psychiatric profession, Narrative Psychiatry advocates taking the inherently narrative-centered patient-psychiatrist relationship to its logical conclusion: making the story a central aspect of treatment. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Around the world Muslims praise the Prophet Muhammad through the recitation of lyrical poetry. In West Africa, Arabic praise poetry has a rich history informed by local literary, spiritual, and ritual elements. Oludamini Ogunnaike, assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, explores this abundant heritage in Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection: A Study of West African Arabic Madih Poetry and its Precedents (Islamic Texts Society, 2020). In this social setting praise poetry draws from traditional Islamic materials but also employs patterns and concepts from West Africa sources and practices. Ogunnaike translates numerous poems and contextualizes them within a deep intellectual well of Sufi thought. He also places these poems within the realm of lived religious practice and presents them as part of everyday contemporary life in West Africa. In our conversation we discuss the place of praise poetry as a genre, the broader literary tradition it relies on, Sufi theology, the wider intellectual heritage of West Africa, Ibrahim Niass and the Tijaniyyah order, audiences recitations and readings, the functions of these poems in practice, the process of translation, and how these sources might be used in classrooms. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How Do We Write Our Personal History at the Same Time That It’s Written for Us? Today I talked to Suri Hustvedt about this question and others as we discuss her book Memories of the Future (Simon and Schuster, 2019). The Literary Review (UK) has called Hustvedt “a twenty-first-century Virginia Woolf.” She’s the author of seven novels, four collections of essays, and two works of nonfiction. She has a PhD in English literature from Columbia University and lectures in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Hustvedt is the recipient of numerous awards, including the European Essay Prize. Topics covered in this episode include: What it can mean to be a heroine instead of a hero, including in regards to which emotions might conventionally be considered “off-limits.” The role that the author’s over-a-dozen drawings play in this novel. Musings on what the roots of ambition might be, and how ambition and shame as well as memory and imagination are often so intertwined. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). To check out his “Faces of the Week” blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
If Jay Gatsby is the embodiment of patriotism, what does that mean for America? Join NBN host Lee Pierce and author Greil Marcus as they take a deep dive into how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the American Dream has been understood, portrayed, distorted, misused, and kept alive. In Under the Red White and Blue: Patriotism, Disenchantment, and the Stubborn Myth of The Great Gatsby" (Yale University Press, 2020), renowned critic Greil Marcus takes on the fascinating legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. An enthralling parable (or a cheap metaphor) of the American Dream as a beckoning finger toward a con game, a kind of virus infecting artists of all sorts over nearly a century, Fitzgerald’s story has become a key to American culture and American life itself. Marcus follows the arc of The Great Gatsby from 1925 into the ways it has insinuated itself into works by writers such as Philip Roth and Raymond Chandler; found echoes in the work of performers from Jelly Roll Morton to Lana Del Rey; and continued to rewrite both its own story and that of the country at large in the hands of dramatists and filmmakers from the 1920s to John Collins’s 2006 Gatz and Baz Luhrmann’s critically reviled (here celebrated) 2013 movie version—the fourth, so far. Greil Marcus has written many books, including Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, The Old, Weird America, and The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America. We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Muslims have lived in the Caribbean for centuries. Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers University Press, 2020) examines the archive of autobiography, literature, music and public celebrations in Guyana and Trinidad, offering an analysis of the ways Islam became integral to the Caribbean, and the ways the Caribbean shaped Islamic practices. Aliyah Khan recovers stories that have been there all along, though they have received little scholarly attention. The interdisciplinary approach takes on big questions about creolization, gender, politics and cultural change, but it does so with precision and attention to detail. Aliyah Khan is an assistant professor of English and Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this episode, I talk with Pernilla Myrne about her exciting and excellently researched book Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature, published with IB Taurus in 2020. Pernilla Myrne is an Associate Professor of Arabic Literature and History at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where she also earned her PhD in 2008. Her research interests include the representation of women in pre-modern Arabic literature, attitudes to sexuality in medieval Islam, and women as creative subjects. In today’s discussion, Myrne shares with us the origins of her book, some of its findings, and the process of collecting the many, many sources she used to make this book an essential resource of many a thing female sexuality, including pleasure, sexual comedy, and women’s bodies. Among Myrne’s impressive range of sources are medical, Islamic legal, literary, and entertainment sources. Contrary to popular and even scholarly expectations, medieval erotic literature emphasized female sexual satisfaction, including via teaching male readers how precisely to ensure that their female partner reaches an orgasm. Other specific themes we discuss in today’s interview include the Greek influences on Islamic writers writing about sex and sexuality, female desire, the two-seed theory, female orgasm, and lesbian love. The book would be welcome by anyone interested in gender and sexuality, medieval literature, and female representation in various genres, such as medical, erotic, and religio-legal literature. Shehnaz Haqqani is Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. Her primary research areas include Islam, gender, and questions of change and tradition in Islam. She also vlogs on YouTube; her videos focus on dismantling the patriarchy and are available at here.  She can be reached at haqqani_s@mercer.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Fifty Playwrights on their Craft (Bloomsbury, 2018), Caroline Jester and Caridad Svich talk to writers from the US, the UK, and countries around the world about what it means to be a playwright today. Playwrights range from avant-gardists like Erik Ehn and Sibyl Kempson to well-known playwrights like Willy Russell and Paula Vogel. Each playwright provides a definition of what a playwright is, as well as thoughts about the role of playwriting in our current age of digital storytelling. Taken together, these interviews provide evidence that the craft of playwriting has never been as diverse, as exciting, or as necessary as it is right now.     Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached atandyjamesboyd@gmail.com.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (Plácido) were perhaps the most important and innovative Cuban writers of African descent during the Spanish colonial era. Both nineteenth-century authors used Catholicism as a symbolic language for African-inspired spirituality. Likewise, Plácido and Manzano subverted the popular imagery of neoclassicism and Romanticism in order to envision black freedom in the tradition of the Haitian Revolution. Plácido and Manzano envisioned emancipation through the lens of African spirituality, a transformative moment in the history of Cuban letters. In Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion (University Press of Mississippi) Matthew J. Pettway examines how the portrayal of African ideas of spirit and cosmos in otherwise conventional texts recur throughout early Cuban literature and became the basis for Manzano and Plácido’s antislavery philosophy. The portrayal of African-Atlantic religious ideas spurned the elite rationale that literature ought to be a barometer of highbrow cultural progress. Cuban debates about freedom and selfhood were never the exclusive domain of the white Creole elite. Pettway’s emphasis on African-inspired spirituality as a source of knowledge and a means to sacred authority for black Cuban writers deepens our understanding of Manzano and Plácido not as mere imitators but as aesthetic and political pioneers. As Pettway suggests, black Latin American authors did not abandon their African religious heritage to assimilate wholesale to the Catholic Church. By recognizing the wisdom of African ancestors, they procured power in the struggle for black liberation. Matthew J. Pettway is assistant professor of Spanish at University of South Alabama. Adam McNeil is a PhD student in History, African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Scholar at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jeremy Black, the prolific professor of history at Exeter University, has published a stunningly attractive volume entitled, Mapping Shakespeare: An Exploration of Shakespeare’s World through Maps (Bloomsbury, 2018). This lavishly illustrated volume compiles maps of the world, of Europe, of England, of English counties, and of English villages, to illustrate its author’s detailed description of the history of cartography and of the ways in which space and locality was represented in the medieval period and early modernity. In this podcast, Professor Black talks about the book’s preparation, and how illustrated works require different kinds of writing processes from conventional monographs, as well as highlighting those parts of the history of cartography that he finds most compelling. Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ahmed El-Shamsy’s Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2020) is an astonishing scholarly feat that presents a detailed, sophisticated, and thoroughly enjoyable intellectual and social history of the modern publishing industry on what we today consider canonical books of Islamic thought. “Painstakingly researched” would be a description too mild for the depth and breadth of sources and analysis that El-Shamsy mobilizes in this book. Over the course of its 8 delightfully written chapters, readers meet some known and many less known book collectors, editors, Muslim reformers, early Salafis, and European Orientalists whose thought, outlook, normative agendas, and wide-ranging efforts produced a distinct corpus of classical Islamic texts. The canonization of what counted as “classical” was itself a markedly modern move and gesture, El-Shamsy argues. Populated with fascinating narratives of manuscript hunting, editorial discoveries and frustrations, and collaborations between Arab scholars and European Orientalists, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics combines the literary flair of a sumptuous novel with the textual density of a philological masterpiece. This carefully crafted and argued book represents both a profound tribute to a mesmerizingly layered archive of tradition and its actors, and a tremendous service to the field of Islamic Studies in particular and Religious Studies more broadly. It will also make a great text to teach in courses on intellectual history, manuscript studies, modern Islam, Muslim reform, and Islamic Law. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone' (Berghahn Books) engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflections on human nature. Adam Brown is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Deakin University, Australia, and a volunteer at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, where he initiated the digitization of the Centre’s survivor video testimony collection. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jennifer J. Davis speaks with Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, about The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan UP, 2020), Jeffers’s latest collection of poems centered on the remarkable life of America’s first poet of African descent, Phillis Wheatley Peters. The Society of Early Americanists recently selected The Age of Phillis as the subject for their Common Reading Initiative for 2021. Prof. Jeffers has published four additional volumes of poetry including The Glory Gets and The Gospel of Barbecue, and alongside fiction and critical essays. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma. In The Age of Phillis, Jeffers draws on fifteen years of research in archives and locations across America, Europe and Africa to envision the world of Phillis Wheatley Peters : from the daily rhythms of her childhood in Senegambia, the trauma of her capture and transatlantic transport, to the icy port of Boston where she was enslaved and educated. In our conversation, Jeffers speaks to the origins of this project, reveals how she embarked on the research and writing process, and shares a few powerful poems from the volume. Jennifer J. Davis is Associate Professor of History and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and the Co-Editor of the Journal of Women’s History. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Hasidic leader R. Nachman of Braslav (1772–1810) has held a place in the Jewish popular imagination for more than two centuries. Some see him as the (self-proclaimed) Messiah, others as the forerunner of modern Jewish literature. Existing studies struggle between these dueling readings, largely ignoring questions of aesthetics and politics in his work. Permanent Beginning: R. Nachman of Braslav and Jewish Literary Modernity (SUNY Press, 2020) lays out a new paradigm for understanding R. Nachman’s thought and writing, and, with them, the beginnings of Jewish literary modernity. Yitzhak Lewis examines the connections between imperial modernization processes in Eastern Europe at the turn of the eighteenth century and the emergence of “modern literature” in the storytelling of R. Nachman. Reading his tales and teachings alongside the social, legal, and intellectual history of the time, the book’s guiding question is literary: How does R. Nachman represent this changing environment in his writing? Lewis paints a nuanced and fascinating portrait of a literary thinker and creative genius at the very moment his world was evolving unrecognizably. He argues compellingly that R. Nachman’s narrative response to his changing world was a major point of departure for Jewish literary modernity. Yitzhak Lewis is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University, China. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What does it mean to be a Brahmin, and what could it mean to become one? The ancient Indian mythological figure Viśvāmitra accomplishes just this, transforming himself from a king into a Brahmin by cultivation of ascetic power. The book, Crossing the Lines of Caste, examines legends of the irascible Viśvāmitra as occurring in Sanskrit and vernacular texts, oral performances, and visual media to show how the "storyworlds" created by these various retellings have adapted and reinforced Brahmin social identity over the millennia. Adheesh Sathaye is Associate Professor, Sanskrit Literature And Folklore, University of British Columbia. You can check out his online class "Narrative Literature in Premodern India" here. For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see rajbalkaran.com/scholarship Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2020), Co-editors David Slucki, Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, Gabriel N. Finder, professor in the department of German Languages and Literatures and former director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia and Avinoam Patt, the Doris and Simon Konover Professor of Judaic Studies and director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut, have assembled an impressive list of contributors who examine what is at stake in deploying humor in representing the Holocaust. This book comes at an important moment in the trajectory of Holocaust memory. As the generation of survivors continues to dwindle, there is great concern among scholars and community leaders about how memories and lessons of the Holocaust will be passed to future generations. Without survivors to tell their stories, to serve as constant reminders of what they experienced, how will future generations understand and relate to the Shoah? This book seeks to uncover how and why such humor is deployed, and what the factors are that shape its production and reception. Dr Max Kaiser teaches at the University of Melbourne. He can be reached at kaiserm@unimelb.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Xu Xu (1908-1980) was one of the most widely read Chinese authors of the 1930s to 1960s. His popular urban gothic tales, his exotic spy fiction, and his quasi-existentialist love stories full of nostalgia and melancholy offer today’s readers an unusual glimpse into China’s turbulent twentieth century. The translations in Bird Talk and Other Stories by Xu Xu: Modern Tales of a Chinese Romantic. (Stone Bridge Press, 2020)--spanning a period of some thirty years, from 1937 until 1965--bring to life some of Xu Xu’s most representative short fictions from prewar Shanghai and postwar Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Afterword illustrates that Xu Xu’s idealistic tendencies in defiance of the politicization of art exemplify his affinity with European romanticism and link his work to global literary modernity. Frederik H. Green is an associate professor of Chinese at San Francisco State University. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the literature and culture of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Period, Sino-Japanese cultural relations, post-socialist Chinese cinema, and contemporary Chinese art. He holds a BA in Chinese Studies from Cambridge University and an MPhil and PhD in Chinese literature from Yale University. He is a translator of Chinese and associate professor of Chinese at San Francisco State University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (1)

Martin Hasani Di Maggio

I’m not sure it’s right to claim that the patriarchal nature of Balkan cultures is a result of the ottomans

Nov 29th
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