In Unnatural Reproductions and Monstrosity: The Birth of the Monster in Literature, Film, and Media Andrea Wood explained that “in the new zombie-infested world, former orders and systems of knowledge collapse and crumble overnight as survivors are left in a time and place where the familiar has become irreconcilably unfamiliar” while Jesse Stommel noted that “the zombie is not, in the main, an allegorical beast. Critics who get caught up in the zombie’s allegorical register are making what I see as a fatal error, turning away in the face of monstrosity, even as it shambles and plods incessantly closer.”
Brandy Schillace and Andrea Wood, coeditors of this unprecedented volume which covers zombies, vampires, and cyborgs, do not turn away because, as they put it, “monsters continue to fascinate—as well as to plague and haunt imaginations. The psychic landscape is peopled with them; the social fabric is woven of them. This persistent, paradoxical repulsion and fascination with monsters and the monstrous begins, however, with causation.”
The link between the monstrous and fears of reproduction are present from early modern narratives through nineteenth-century fears of degeneration, and into contemporary fascination with apocalyptic zombie films and science fiction narratives about genetic engineering, viral pandemics, and trans-species generation. While the incarnation of the monster manifests through different vehicles across these periods and texts, it is clear that, regardless of its form, anxiety is rooted in concerns over its fecundity—its ability to infect, to absorb, to replicate. This study expands the current discourse on the monstrous reproductive potential of bodies—as well as minds—and engages more directly with monstrous progeny, as well as with unnatural reproduction(s), which threaten to eclipse the future, cast uncertainty on the present, and reimagine the past.
Robert Murray, Vice President of Research at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, was on Alberta Primetime and interviewed about International Relations and the Arctic, a book he coedited with Anita Dey Nuttall, the associate director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta. As the interviewer noted, “Eight countries have claims but there hasn’t been a comprehensive academic study of the changing geopolitics of the circumpolar North—until now” before featuring the book. Hailed as a one of kind with contributions from major heavyweights across continents and areas of expertise, this unprecedented study is an essential resource for researchers as international interest in the Arctic heats up. Watch the interview to hear how Dr. Murray explain the dynamic nature of the geopolitics of the Arctic region.
From the book: “As states are able to access the Arctic more freely and widely, interest in the region will undoubtedly continue to grow. The circumpolar North, with all its opportunities and challenges, represents one of the final frontiers on the planet. There remains plenty of mystery surrounding just how high the levels of natural resources are and how greater shipping access will alter the geopolitical landscape. If the events of the last twenty years are any indication, the Arctic will continue to be at the forefront of international political discussion and debate and will play a pivotal role in geostrategic calculations of states and institutions well into the future.” (pg. 628)
President Barack Obama recently declared that the future stability of the world depends on African nations’ prosperity and self-reliance. Reinforcing this is Toyin Falola, leading authority in African studies, who stated that “scholars and policy makers have the obligation to show Africa and the world how to succeed.” This is why African studies continues to grow as a critical field and why Dr. Falola has launched the Cambria African Studies Series with Dr. Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University). This interdisciplinary series provides a much-needed platform for original studies which both illuminate and critique existing and emerging forms of geopolitical organization in Africa, whether these are nation-states, national imaginations and claims, and movements for self-determination. The editors are interested in studies which shed light on the overarching question of development (human, economic, social, cultural, etc.) and its symbiotic or fraught relationship with old and new political realities on the continent. Both editors will be at the 2014 African Studies Association annual meeting participating at the various sessions (see the ASA program)
Cambria Press congratulates Wumi Raji on the excellent review of his book, Contemporary Literature of Africa, by Re-Markings, whichpraises the book for being “remarkably thorough, sophisticated, and precise.” It also states that “this collection will be useful to readers starting with those who have a general interest in the subject to serious scholars … this book will serve as a defining text for many years to come given its pivotal position in the history of Gambian writing and to the quality of these essays that bring into bold relief the excellence of Tijan M. Sallah‘s writing.” Browse it online now using the Cambria Press Free Preview Tool.
Below is one of Tijan Sallah’s poems, “We Let Tourists,” which clearly demonstrates his extraordinary talent in which his potent words expose the price of a nation’s prosperity and lead one to question what truly “makes a country rich.”
“We Let Tourists”by Tijan Sallah*
Our economy is flourishing
Like a flower
But my niece is now a prostitute
(tourists pin her on the bed for 10 kronor)
My little brother
Has dropped out of high school
(he guides tourists for few dalasis)
And my family does not have meat to eat
(hotels consume all)
But the government says tourism
Makes the country rich
Dr. Eduardo Caro (Arizona State University), the RMMLA president, kicked off the luncheon event, which was attended by hundreds of RMMLA attendees, by having Dr. Christopher Lupke (Washington State University) introduce Dr. Mair.
During Christopher Lupke’s eloquent introduction, he announced that he would make a revelation about Victor Mair, of which even the keynote speaker himself would be unaware. Thirty-one years ago, an editorial assistant at the journal CLEAR (Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews) had to type up an article “The Narrative Revolution in Chinese Literature: Ontological Presuppositions”–this was the lead article in the paradigm-shifting symposium on the origins of Chinese fiction. For the editorial assistant, the article was memorable not only for its content and its author but also because it contained an astounding number of footnotes for a 27-page piece–there were 101 of them, and they were all substantive. The article also contained Egyptian and Chinese characters which the editorial assistant had to typeset manually. That editorial assistant was none other than Christopher Lupke and the author of the article Victor Mair! This remarkable coincidence was indeed unknown to Victor Mair, who expressed his gratitude for Christopher Lupke’s careful, painstaking work.
Aptly described by Christopher Lupke as “a naturally restless intellectual whose impact is felt well beyond Chinese studies” and “truly one of the monuments of our profession,” Victor Mair’s authority spans across a wide spectrum from Asian languages to Central Asian mummies (“Texts were not enough for Victor Mair” as Christopher Lupke put it). Given how Victor Mair is always in the vanguard of scholarship (e.g., his incredibly popular Language Log blog, his taking the readers of the Sino-Platonic papers from hundreds of hard-copy readers to an online audience of hundreds of thousands), he is the perfect scholar to speak on the impact of technology on the study of language and literature. Victor Mair’s speech resonated with scholars from all areas–not just Asian studies–as he related fascinating accounts of how he has successfully harnessed technology to accomplish in days what would have normally taken weeks, even months (e.g., his reading of the 40-ft ancient Chinese scrolls). After the speech, audience members commented on how pleased they were to be able to hear such an inspiring and interesting talk by this eminent scholar. This was also mentioned repeatedly later at the special publishing seminar by Toni Tan (director of Cambria Press) and at various sessions and events, such as the RMMLA VIP reception.
Victor Mair and Toni Tan thank the RMMLA, especially executive director Joy Landeira and her team as well as Christopher Lupke, for having them at this important conference.
If you were not at the RMMLA convention, you can still watch Victor Mair’s keynote address, along with the preliminary speeches by Dr. Eduardo Caro and Dr. Christopher Lupke.
You and your library can also enjoy the 30% discount–order by Nov 15 and use the code RMMLA 2014. This is applicable to all titles, not only the ones on the RMMLA flier.
Cambria Press will be at the MLA convention in Vancouver, B.C. and the AAS conference in Chicago. Drop by our booths, which will be right in front of the exhibit hall entrance at both conferences, to browse our books.
In addition to the Cambria Sinophone World Series by Victor Mair, Cambria Press also has other important series for scholars in language and literature:
Cambria Press congratulates Jamie Wilson on the outstanding review of his book, Building a Healthy Black Harlem, by Afro-Americans in New York: Life and History. The journal praises the book for being “a valuable contribution to our knowledge of a place and time better known for its famous writers and artists than for the quotidian struggles of its workers facing racism and the structural economic trap of high rents and low wages.” It also commends the book for being “an impressive achievement that updates social history with fresh material and perspectives and makes important interventions in the literature on African American urbanization.”
Victor H. Mair, the famous Sinologist at the University of Pennsylvania and general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, is the 2014 RMMLA keynote speaker. Unquestionably one of the greatest scholars in Asian studies, Victor H. Mair could earn this widely recognized status based on his scholarly accomplishments in the last decade alone. His vast number of scholarly works, which cover such dazzling breadths and depths (from Sinology to the Tarim mummies), are influential and renowned. His RMMLA keynote which will address the impact of information technology on the study of language and literature is not to be missed.