2018 - 2019 Faculty Book Showcase

 

Colonial al-Andalus: Spain and the Making of Modern Moroccan Culture

By Eric Calderwood

(Harvard University Press, April 2018)

Through state-backed Catholicism, monolingualism, militarism, and dictatorship, Spain’s fascists earned their reputation for intolerance. It may therefore come as a surprise that 80,000 Moroccans fought at General Franco’s side in the 1930s. What brought these strange bedfellows together, Eric Calderwood argues, was a highly effective propaganda weapon: the legacy of medieval Muslim Iberia, known as al-Andalus. This legacy served to justify Spain’s colonization of Morocco and also to define the Moroccan national culture that supplanted colonial rule.

Writers of many political stripes have celebrated convivencia, the fabled “coexistence” of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in medieval Iberia. According to this widely-held view, modern Spain and Morocco are joined through their shared Andalusi past. Colonial al-Andalus traces this supposedly timeless narrative to the mid-1800s, when Spanish politicians and intellectuals first used it to press for Morocco’s colonization. Franco later harnessed convivencia to the benefit of Spain’s colonial program in Morocco. This shift precipitated an eloquent historical irony. As Moroccans embraced the Spanish insistence on Morocco’s Andalusi heritage, a Spanish idea about Morocco gradually became a Moroccan idea about Morocco.

Drawing on a rich archive of Spanish, Arabic, French, and Catalan sources—including literature, historiography, journalism, political speeches, schoolbooks, tourist brochures, and visual arts—Calderwood reconstructs the varied political career of convivencia and al-Andalus, showing how shared pasts become raw material for divergent contemporary ideologies, including Spanish fascism and Moroccan nationalism. Colonial al-Andalus exposes the limits of simplistic oppositions between European and Arab, Christian and Muslim, that shape current debates about European colonialism.

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Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life

By Christopher Freeburg

(The University of Virgina Press, September 2017)

Christopher Freeburg’s  Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life offers a crucial new reading of a neglected aspect of African American literature and art across the long twentieth century. Rejecting the idea that the most dehumanizing of black experiences, such as lynching or other racial violence, have completely robbed victims of their personhood, Freeburg rethinks what it means to be a person in the works of black artists. This book advances the idea that individual persons always retain the ability to withhold, express, or change their ideas, and this concept has profound implications for long-held assumptions about the relationship between black interior life and black collective political interests.

Examining an array of seminal black texts—from Ida B. Wells’s antilynching pamphlets to works by Richard Wright, Nina Simone, and Toni Morrison—Freeburg demonstrates that the personhood represented by these writers unsettles rather than automatically strengthens black subjects’ relationships to political movements such as racial uplift, civil rights, and black nationalism. He shows how black artists illuminate the challenges of racial collectivity while stressing the vital stakes of individual personhood. In his challenge to current African Americanist criticism, Freeburg makes a striking contribution to our understanding of African American literature and culture.

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The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions

Edited by Wail S. Hassan

(Oxford University Press, September 2017)

The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date. In scope, the book encompasses the genesis of the Arabic novel in the second half of the nineteenth century and its development to the present in every Arabic-speaking country and in Arab immigrant destinations on six continents. Editor Waïl S. Hassan and his contributors describe a novelistic phenomenon which has pre-modern roots, stretching centuries back within the Arabic cultural tradition, and branching outward geographically and linguistically to every Arab country and to Arab writing in many languages around the world.

The first of three innovative dimensions of this Handbook consists of examining the ways in which the Arabic novel emerged out of a syncretic merger between Arabic and European forms and techniques, rather than being a simple importation of the latter and rejection of the former, as early critics of the Arabic novel claimed. The second involves mapping the novel geographically as it took root in every Arab country, developing into often distinct though overlapping and interconnected local traditions. Finally, the Handbook concerns the multilingual character of the novel in the Arab world and by Arab immigrants and their descendants around the world, both in Arabic and in at least a dozen other languages. The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions reflects the current status of research in the broad field of Arab novelistic traditions and signals toward new directions of inquiry.

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The Voice of Technology: Soviet Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1928-1935

By Lilya Kaganovsky

(Indiana University Press, March 2018)

As cinema industries around the globe adjusted to the introduction of synch-sound technology, the Soviet Union was also shifting culturally, politically, and ideologically from the heterogeneous film industry of the 1920s to the centralized industry of the 1930s, and from the avant-garde to Socialist Realism. In The Voice of Technology: Soviet Cinema’s Transition to Sound, 1928–1935, Lilya Kaganovsky explores the history, practice, technology, ideology, aesthetics, and politics of the transition to sound within the context of larger issues in Soviet media history. Industrialization and centralization of the cinema industry greatly altered the way movies in the Soviet Union were made, while the introduction of sound radically influenced the way these movies were received. Kaganovsky argues that the coming of sound changed the Soviet cinema industry by making audible, for the first time, the voice of State power, directly addressing the Soviet viewer. By exploring numerous examples of films from this transitional period, Kaganovsky demonstrates the importance of the new technology of sound in producing and imposing the "Soviet Voice."

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With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire

Edited by Sohail Daulatzai and Junaid Rana

(University of Minnesota Press, May 2018)
 

After September 11, 2001, the global War on Terror has made clear that Islam and Muslims are central to an imperial system of racism. Prior to 9/11, white supremacy had a violent relationship of dominance with Islam and Muslims. Racism against Muslims today borrows from centuries of white supremacy and is a powerful and effective tool to maintain the status quo.

With Stones in Our Hands compiles writings by scholars and activists who are leading the struggle to understand and combat anti-Muslim racism. Through a bold call for a politics of the Muslim Left and the poetics of the Muslim International, this book offers a glimpse into the possibilities of social justice, decolonial struggle, and political solidarity. The essays in this anthology reflect a range of concerns such as the settler colonial occupation of Palestine, surveillance and policing, blackness and radical protest traditions, militarism and empire building, social movements, and political repression. With Stones in Our Hands offers new ideas to achieve decolonization and global solidarity.

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A History of Russia

by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky and Mark D. Steinberg

(Oxford University Press, January 2018)

Now extensively revised in this ninth edition, A History of Russia covers the entire span of the country's history, from ancient times to the post-communist present. Keeping with the hallmark of the text, Riasanovsky and Steinberg examine all aspects of Russia's history--political, international, military, economic, social, and cultural--with a commitment to objectivity, fairness, and balance, and to reflecting recent research and new trends in scholarly interpretation. In the ninth edition, this includes expanded attention to the experiences of ordinary men and women and to imperial expansion and diversity. Extensively revised and with a more streamlined organization, A History of Russia, Ninth Edition, includes recent developments in Ukraine and Russia's near abroad in the Putin era.

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