Cloud Control

By Ricky d’Andrea Crano

Tung-Hui Hu. A Prehistory of the Cloud. The MIT Press, 2015. xxix, 219 pp.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media. The MIT Press, 2016. xiv, 246 pp.

What do Pony Express stations, Victorian sewers, World War II bunkers, interstate highway truck stops, and the post-9/11 CIA practice of extraordinary rendition all have in common? As Tung-Hui Hu demonstrates in his debut scholarly monograph, they each prefigure and in one way or another sculpt our current conceptions of digitally networked computing.
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Resistance in Post-Realist Times

By Kathleen Reeves

Eva Cherniavsky. Neocitizenship: Political Culture After Democracy. New York University Press, 2017. 232 pp.

Any scholar of contemporary culture must grapple with neoliberalism: what is it? how does it work? and how should we respond? A host of theorizations of the present provide helpful descriptions and prescriptions, but it’s rare to encounter a perspectival critique as intuitive and rigorous as Eva Cherniavksy’s Neocitizenship: Political Culture After Democracy.
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Research Note: Reimagining Creative Economy through the lens of Multiple Colonialisms

By Adam Saifer

In April 2017, I traveled to Edmonton, Canada to sit in on the Reimagining Creative Economy: Transnational Histories, Local Practices, Regional Struggles workshop (RCE) at the University of Alberta. Two weeks earlier, Richard Florida—originator of the celebrated and derided (depending on who you ask) theory of the creative class—published his newest tome, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It (2017).
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Inscribing Inequality Beyond Colonialism

By Senayon Olaoluwa

Warwick Research Collective. Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature. Liverpool University Press, 205. 196 pp.

The book, Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature is yet another effort in seminal literary scholarship. It aims to assess the state of literature as a distinct discipline and make projections about its likely value in the future as that which consciously addresses itself to the predominant dynamics of the “world-system” anchored by the dictates of capital, especially in the past 200 years.
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Queering the Politics of Life and Death

By Christine Quinan

Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco, eds. Queer Necropolitics. Routledge, 2014. 216 pp.

In the opening to his celebrated essay “Necropolitics,” Achille Mbembe invokes a series of questions that offer a corrective to Michel Foucault’s established notion of biopower:

But under what practical conditions is the right to kill, to allow to live, or to expose to death exercised?
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The Strategies of White American Masculinity

By Fenn Stewart

Hamilton Carroll. Affirmative Reaction: New Formations of White Masculinity. Duke University Press, 2011. 221 pp.

In Affirmative Reaction, Hamilton Carroll examines the “devices and strategies” through which “white masculinist privilege” is currently being “reorient[ed],” and thus maintained, in a “posthegemonic” context (2). Responding to widespread claims that masculinity is in crisis, Carroll suggests that, in the wake of “broad transformations that have radically altered the landscape of labor and opportunity in the United States,” white masculinity recuperates itself through a transformation from the universal to the particular (for instance, queer, Irish, “white trash,” working class) “whereby the particular becomes a location from which privilege can be recouped” (6).
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“A Second Innocence”: Deactivating the Debt Machine

By Bruno GullÌ

Maurizio Lazzarato. The Making of the Indebted Man. Trans. Joshua David Jordan. Semiotext(e), 2012. 199 pp.

At the outset of The Making of the Indebted Man, in its foreword, Maurizio Lazzarato points out the necessity to “construct the theoretical weapons for the struggles to come” (2012: 11).
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The False Freedom of Rock Stardom

By Sarah Brouillette

Matt Stahl. Unfree Masters: Recording Artists and the Politics of Work. Duke University Press, 2012. 296 pp.

Academic and policy studies of creative labour have tended to suggest that creative work is unique and desirable because it is more autonomous than regular employment, meaning that it is more self-directed, expressive, and self-actualizing, and also more authentically separable from employers’ prerogatives.
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On the Loss of Feminism

By Michelle Meagher

Angela McRobbie. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. Sage, 2009. 192 pp.

A scholar very much rooted in the tradition of British cultural studies, Angela McRobbie first turned her attention to the figure of “the girl” in an important set of analyses of magazines aimed at working class British girls.
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Short-Circuiting the Virtuous Circle

By ERIC VÁZQUEZ

Fernando Ignacio Leiva. Latin American Neostructuralism: The Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development. University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 312pp.

Denouncing neoliberalism’s manifestations has become a boom industry for left-wing academics. It has become a practice so prevalent that even fusty establishmentarians like Stanley Fish have deigned to comment on the uses and abuses of “neoliberalism” as a moniker for the predominance of the market over politics, society, and culture in the present moment.
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From Virtuality to Actuality: The Power, Wealth and Ambivalence of Video Games

By Lisa Dusenberry

Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter. Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter’s Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games deftly merges a critique of Empire and its practices with the social and historical context of video games and the gaming industry.
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Late Postmodernism

By Daniel Worden

Phillip E. Wegner. Life Between Two Deaths, 1989-2001: U.S. Culture in the Long Nineties. Duke University Press, 2009.

The “two deaths” in the title of Phillip E. Wegner’s new book are the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. During the gap between these two events, Wegner finds a cluster of cultural possibilities, a flourishing of “what we might call a ‘late’ postmodernism that only emerges in the 1990s” (5).
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Querying Transnationalism

By Emily Johansen

Inderpal Grewal. Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms. Duke University Press, 2005. 296 pp.

Inderpal Grewal’s monograph Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms invites its readers to consider the overlapping spheres of postcoloniality, American nationalism and transnationalism, and neoliberalism—and the impact they have on subject formation.
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