No Local: Globalization and the Remaking of Americanism

By Benjamin Balthaser

Sarika Chandra. Dislocalism: The Crisis of Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism. Ohio State University Press. 2011. 303pp.

In the final section of Capital, Marx makes a striking observation: despite destroying the land-holding peasantry, the birth of manufacturing in England did not wipe out the small, disconnected villages of rural England, but rather refashioned them in capital’s image, as sites of subsidiary resource production, even poorer and more marginal than they had been before (Marx 918).
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Critical Practice as Desire

By  Elizabeth Groeneveld

Robyn Wiegman. Object Lessons. Duke University Press, 2012. 398 pp.

Robyn Wiegman’s Object Lessons is an extended meditation on the disciplinary frameworks, concepts, and narratives that have shaped the field imaginaries of identity-based studies, focusing primarily on how these have developed within the context of the U.S.
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Women in Academia: How (re)Discovering Feminisms Can Empower You

By Jennifer Burwell

Brown, Susan, Jeanne Perreault, Jo-Ann Wallace, and Heather Zwicker, eds.  Not Drowning But Waving: Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts.  University of Alberta Press, 2011.  472 pages.

Not Drowning But Waving offers twenty-two feminist essays focusing on the complex relationships between women academics and the liberal arts. Separated into three sections – “Not Drowning/Waving,” “History/Temporality/Generations,” and “Activism” – the anthology gathers together a broad range of topics, including the relationship of liberal arts to academic institutions, the many pressures that women in academia face in their attempts to balance personal life with professional duties and aspirations, the costs and opportunities for women academics who hold administrative positions, and the relation of feminism to the liberal arts.
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The Culture of Urbanization in (Post)Socialist China

By Joshua Neves

Yomi Braester. Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract. Duke University Press, 2010. 405 pp.

Robin Visser. Cities Surround the Countryside: Urban Aesthetics in Postsocialist China. Duke University Press, 2010. 362 pp.

Yomi Braester’s Painting the City Red and Robin Visser’s Cities Surround the Countryside offer complementary engagements with urban transformation in P.R. China—though Braester also has a single chapter on Taipei.[1] Each takes as their focus the cultural restructuring that has shaped and been shaped by (post)socialist urbanization and the shifting designs on the city.
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The People’s Media Critique

By Nicholas Holm

Charles R. Acland. Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence. Duke University Press, 2011. 307 pp.

There is a good chance that those who have taught cultural or media theory will have, at some time or another, come up against the popular persistence of subliminal messaging: a belief that mass media can convey potentially powerful secret messages below the level of sensory perception.
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The Future of Anti-racist Feminism In Canada

By Ashley Dryburgh

Sherene Razack, Malinda Smith, and Sunera Thobani, eds. States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century. Between the Lines, 2010. 248 pp.

Despite its forwarding-leaning title, States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century is as much about the past as it is about the future. The collection opens by looking backward, with an eight page preface detailing the history of critical race feminism in Canada over the past decade.
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Authorship: A Queer Death

By David A. Gerstner

Jane Gallop. The Deaths of the Author: Reading and Writing in Time. Duke University Press, 2011. 184 pp.

The moment one reads Jane Gallop’s book, The Deaths of the Author, is the moment one becomes an author. Such banal description about engagement and creative exchange between work and reader has become something of a truism since Roland Barthes penned what Peter Wollen once described as his “squib-like” essay, “The Death of the Author.” Although Barthes took up similar theoretical terrain in his article, “From Work to Text,” it is “The Death of the Author” that resonates–if not for its critical concept, then certainly for its “militant, elegant slogan” (Gallop also refers to the “slogan” as “world-renowned,” a “postructuralist catchphrase,” “theoretical,” “familiar”).
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Entry and Exit Points in Global Capitalism

By Pablo Castagno

Ahmed Kanna. Dubai: The City as Corporation. University of Minnesota Press, 2011. 262 pp.

No doubt Dubai’s image is one of its principal Siren-like allures, calling us to leap to a prelapsarian imagination, simply to swoon immediately at the site of architectural fantasies of the future.
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Fantastic Materialism

By Sarah Hamblin

Andy Merrifield. Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination. London: Pluto, 2011. 220 pp.

Andy Merrifield’s Magical Marxism arises from what he describes as “a double dissatisfaction”: an obvious dissatisfaction with the state of contemporary society and a more delicate frustration with the revolutionary potential of actually existing Marxism (xii).
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Subject of Desire/Subject of Drive: The Emergence of Žižekian Media Studies

By Matthew Flisfeder

Jodi Dean. Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive. Polity, 2010. 140 pp.

Paul A. Taylor. Žižek and the Media. Polity, 2011. 192 pp.

Fabio Vighi. Sexual Difference in European Cinema: The Curse of Enjoyment. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 256 pp.

Those familiar with Slavoj Žižek will know that a great deal of his work is bound up with later theories of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. While Lacan has long been an influential figure in media and cultural theory, the three books reviewed here demonstrate an emerging field of Žižekian media studies that is distinct from the earlier Lacanian media studies.
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Queering Anarchism

By Michael Truscello

Jamie Heckert and Richard Cleminson, eds. Anarchism and Sexuality: Ethics, Relationships and Power. Routledge, 2011. 232 pp.

It may surprise some people outside of the study of anarchism that, alongside race, sexuality is perhaps the least studied subject within anarchist scholarship. This absence in the scholarly literature is often mirrored in practice, and as such the recent publication of Jamie Heckert and Richard Cleminson’s Anarchism and Sexuality provides a necessary intervention.
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No Exit? Imagining Radical Refusal

By Erin Wunker

Simon During. Exit Capitalism: Literary Culture, Theory, and Post-Secular Modernity. Routledge, 2010. 280 pp.

How do we refuse capitalism? Should we? This is Simon During’s central question in his temporally vast and historically deep book Exit Capitalism: Literary Culture, Theory, and Post-Secular Modernity. The book begins with a reflection on his experience at the Sydney Museum of Modern Art’s 2008 Biennale exhibition.
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Architectural Positions

By Jeff Diamanti

Pier Vittorio Aureli. The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture. MIT Press, 2011. 251 pp.

At a certain point in Pier Vittorio Aureli’s The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture it becomes clear that the book’s promise (that an absolute architecture is possible) remains, as any skeptic might suspect, unrealizable.
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