Literature and Labor under Neoliberalism

By Walter Oliver Baker

Sarah Brouillette. Literature and the Creative Economy. Stanford University Press, 2014. 238 pp.

What is the difference between the worker and the artist under capitalism? Historically, the two can be distinguished by object of their labor: the artist works for the sake of work itself, a disinterested labor whose autonomy gives rise to creativity and self-expression, whereas the worker, compelled by the necessity, works for a wage whose function is merely to sustain and thus reproduce the worker’s life.
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The Mass Reading Event and the Citizen-Reader

By Sarah Brouillette and Lina Shoumarova

Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg Sedo. Reading Beyond the Book: The Social Practices of Contemporary Literary Culture. Routledge, 2013. 370 pp.

Reading Beyond the Book presents the results of an extensive program of research into what the authors call mass reading events (MREs). It features case studies of the Richard and Judy Book Club, Canada Reads, and a variety of One Book, One Community (OBOC) programs: from Seattle Reads, which was the first program of its kind, and went on after its 1999 launch to become the basic toolkit for OBOC programs all over the world, to Get Into Reading, a grassroots program that aims to have Liverpool’s underprivileged communities reading classic literature together.
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Glorious and Brave: An American’s Take on Canadian Art

By Mary Elizabeth Luka

Denise Markonish, Ed. Oh Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America. The MIT Press, 2012. 400 pp.

From the first images and words of the Oh, Canada catalogue, it is evident that Denise Markonish is a curator in love with the thousands of artistic works, the 800 artists, and the dozens of critics, commentators and curators she has discovered, considered, and pulled together in a relatively idiosyncratic manner from a country abutting her own.
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Culture, Technology and Hyper-Industrial Capitalism

By Tai Neilson, Lisa Daily, Gavin Mueller and David Rheams

Bernard Stiegler. The Decadence of Industrial Democracies.  Trans. Daniel Ross and Suzanne Arnold. Polity Press, 2011. 194 pp.

In The Decadence of Industrial Democracies Bernard Stiegler presents a singular take on the culture industry in the hyper-industrial age and offers a radical understanding of technological and cultural change. Stiegler applies his philosophical approach developed in Technics and Time to the Americanized culture industry at the heart of industrial democracies. Echoing the Frankfurt School, he describes the willingness of consumer citizens to trade leisure time for consumptive habits.
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Low Theory

By Matt Applegate

McKenzie Wark. Telesthesia: Communication, Culture, and Class. Polity Press, 2012. 241 pp.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is the new and enduring object of political and intellectual inquiry for the Left in the United States. Indeed, like the 1999 Seattle WTO protests before it, OWS is perhaps more momentous, more impactful, or even more ‘revolutionary’ in its after-effects and in its memorialization than it was in the time and space of its production.
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A Call to Theoretical Indiscipline

By Carolyn Elerding

Jonathan Sterne. MP3: The Meaning of a Format. Duke University Press, 2012. 341 pp.

The last decade has been a truly exciting one in cultural studies of sound, largely due to the generous and catalytic contributions of Jonathan Sterne. These include several significant articles, a strong intellectual and activist web presence, and a provocative genealogy of early sound reproduction and transmission entitled The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction.
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The Art World’s Dark Matter

By Bruce Barber

Gregory Sholette.  Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture. Pluto Press, 2011. 240 pp.

In Lana Jokel’s 1972 film monograph on Andy Warhol (Blackwood Films), the artist is asked to conjecture what he considers will become the next major international art movement. With his voice stammering a little under the weight of the question, Warhol responds in a familiar affected manner with “ah…it’ll be…ah…p ….
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