#MLA18 Book Launch: The Monster as War Machine

Meet Dr. Mabel Moraña, William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and winner of the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, on Saturday (January 6) at 11:30 a.m. at the Cambria Press booth (101) for a book signing for her latest book, The Monster as War Machine.

This book is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Dr. Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr.  de la Campa will also be at the booth to celebrate the publication of this new book.

Read excerpts of The Monster as War Machine.

#MLA18

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The Monster as War Machine – Book Excerpts

Cambria Press is proud to announce the publication of the new book, The Monster as War Machine, by by Mabel Moraña, William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and winner of the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize. See below for excerpts from this book, which has been hailed as “a tour de force” and praised for being “audacious, erudite, and exquisitely written.”

Monster as War Machine

From the preface

An apparatus of social immunization, a simulacrum that spectacularizes its artificiality, a shifter that activates social dynamics, an assemblage that threatens the machinery of power, the monster symbolizes the heroic resistance of the slave and the sinister excesses of the master. Thus, it is essential to contextualize, even though it may seem fallacious, even the universality that the monster evokes in every one of its apparitions and attributes. In spite of its extreme empiria, and although it frequently lacks rationality and language, the monster is in its own way always philosophical. This book proceeds as a critical exercise that follows the meanderings of the monster’s “negative aesthetics.”

On Epistemophilia and the Performance of Difference

The nineteenth century was inhabited by ghosts and monsters that expressed dystopian fantasies about the possibility of unrestrained combinations of nature and technology. The anxiety that accompanied the ideology of progress, the turbulent culmination of the colonialist enterprise in the Americas, and the massive expansion of capitalism came to be sublimated through the monstrous. In this context, monstrosity constituted a discourse that directly addressed the tensions and exclusions of the social “order” of modernity in which forms of domination and social exclusion that began with colonialism were perpetuated and made into law. Processes like the scientific “rationalization” of the body were based on the demonization of otherness. These practices took the form of taxonomies of races and individuals that became part of the hierarchical and discriminatory imaginaries of infinite “progress” in modern capitalism. Monstrosity provided a visual and conceptual support for currents of thought that promoted privilege and exclusion based on naturalist criteria and supposedly demonstrable and unimpeachable truths. “Scientific racism” asserted the superiority of the Caucasian race within a highly influential technological structure that legitimated the political, economic, and cultural domination of societies thought to be savage, primitive, or barbarous. Forms of hybridity like mestizaje were interpreted as monstrous processes that promoted impurity and the degeneration of “pure” races.

On the Ubiquitous Quality of Monsters

For the monster, neither progress nor utopia nor purity of class, race, or gender exists, because its being consists of a contaminated material in which human qualities have been definitively or partially displaced, erased, or substituted by spurious, out-of-place characteristics. This ubiquitous quality constitutes the essence of the monster. The remains of its soul reside precisely in this ambiguous, fragile, and unstable condition. Zombies, vampires, pishtacos, chupacabras, demons, phantasms, and other representatives of the broad family tree that shares the characteristics of the monstrous or the supernatural are all beings that benefit from solitude and isolation. However, they also share, within their domains, family resemblances. The monster generates itself—regenerates, degenerates—mechanically, in order to survive as a distinct concentration of irrationality in a world ruled by monstrous but legitimated principles of exclusion and reification.

On the Age of Futilitarianism

Certain social, economic, and political conditions nonetheless seem to be a breeding ground for the proliferation of monstrosity, which is expressed both in concrete fears such as the desperation of being trapped, or the disconcerting awareness of horizons that open up a landscape of disorienting freedom that manifests as a foreign, ghostly place. According to the Comaroffs, we are now in “the Age of Futilitarianism”—that is, an era in which all hope is thought to be vain and all effort is considered futile …

The Monster as War Machine is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Opening to China

Congratulations to Professor Charlotte Furth on the outstanding review of her book, Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization, 1981–1982, by China Review International.

Modern Chinese History

The review notes that

For those who saw China at this time, this book is a touching reminder of the tentativeness of the whole affair – how Americans and Chinese alike were desperate to meet and get to know each other – and how difficult that was in reality – as cultural gaps and political realities loomed in the background of every encounter.

It further adds that:

Opening to China tells us also about the life of one of our most important China scholars, and through that life we see the growth and maturation of the field of modern Chinese history in the twentieth century. … this book about her time there informs us about the fraught nature of public diplomacy. …those interested in this key period of relations between the United States and China will find in this book a detailed and evocative picture of the personal side of public diplomacy. At the same time, it is a jolly good read.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Congratulations to Professor Christopher Lupke on the excellent review of his book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion, by Film International, which praises it for being

a well-informed book straddling between the disciplines of Chinese Studies and Film Studies and is highly relevant to film buffs, sinophiles, film researchers, and students.

The review notes that Lupke’s book:

provides Chinese-speaking readers a cinematic approach to Hou’s well-known and less well-known works and non-Chinese speaking readers a holistic view on Hou’s works and a window into Chinese-language scholarship on Hou. By detaching Hou Hsiao-hsien’s works from the frequently-used framework of European arthouse tradition, the book strives to move away from a Eurocentric view and delves deep into film texts. Plot summary is detailed; historical settings and socio-political undertone are foregrounded.

The review also commends the book because

The ambition of balancing between Chinese Studies and Film Studies and between textual analysis, contextual information, and theoretical discussion is also rather difficult to achieve. Yet the book remains an enjoyable read for lovers of Hou’s films and a comprehensive and informative guide to the sinophone world of Hou Hsiao-hsien; it bridges the scholarship on Hou in English and Chinese and embraces Hou’s oeuvres in its entirety.

This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Global Performing Arts Series headed by John M. Clum (Duke University).

Hou Hsiao-hsien

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Christos Tsiolkas

Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Gildersleeve on the outstanding review of her book, Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision in the journal Australian Literary Studies.

The review notes that:

“The great attractiveness of Gildersleeve’s study is that she manages to encounter the fundamental tension between different versions of Tsiolkas without needing to narrativise his career in a way that is governed by any particular set of terms. She does this through her astute use of affect theory to set up another way of encountering his work. … By bringing affect theory into dialogue with current cultural discourses she aims to show us ‘how Australian writing can work as part of a broader network of cultural reparative strategies’ (17).

It adds that the chapters are “lucid, well-constructed and very learned” and that

“Gildersleeve writes eloquently and sympathetically. She is terrifically erudite, which enables her to generate unexpected insights into the broader literary and cultural context. Her expertise as a scholar of modernism is evident at the moments that Conrad, Eliot, Mann and others pop up. She is also theoretically very capacious, and gracious with regard to other critics.”

The review further notes that:

the book strikes me as a fascinating example of a trend in literary studies that really does deserve more attention: a desire for a notion of Bildung that is called into being at the very moment that literary culture, not to mention broader forms of historical and critical literacy, seem most threatened by new media forms that have thoroughly undermined the very ideal of community to which Bildung appeals.

Finally, the review recommends Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision because it “will be an important touchstone for anyone interested in Tsiolkas and affect theory, or in Australia’s contemporary literary landscape more generally.”

This book is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Dr. Susan Lever.

Christos Tsiolkas

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APSA 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award goes to Michael A. Genovese

Congratulations to Dr. Michael A. Genovese on winning the prestigious APSA 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award. This award honors an outstanding contribution to undergraduate and graduate teaching political science at two- or four-year institutions.

Dr. Genovese is Professor of Political Science, President of World Policy Institute, and the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author of numerous highly acclaimed books, including The Encyclopedia of the American PresidencyThe Power of the American Presidency 1789-2000, and The Paradoxes of the American Presidency. His latest books are The Trumping of American Politics (released September 2017) and How Trump Governs (forthcoming Fall 2017).

#APSA2017

 

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How Trump Governs (forthcoming Fall 2017)

Dr. Genovese will be chairing the #APSA2017 session “The Foundations of Executive Legitimacy” on Saturday at 2PM at Hilton Union Square in Continental Parlor 9.

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CNN interview with Michael Genovese on the Charlottesville protest

Dr. Michael A. Genovese, President of Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, was on CNN to discuss President Donald Trump’s statements about the Charlottesville protest.

Dr. Genovese’s latest book, The Trumping of American Politics, will be released this month; and his next book, How Trump Governs, will be released this fall.

Michael A Genovese

Below are the links to the three segments of the discussion:

Segment 1

“It’s about morals. It’s about truth. It’s about who we are as a people. It’s a defining moment, and we have to choose.” —Michael A. Genovese

Segment 2

“Can the president lead? Only if he wants to. He can’t just speak to the base. He has to speak to all of us. […] Right now he is in jeopardy of losing the establishment of the Republican party. He cannot govern without them.” —Michael A. Genovese

Segment 3

“History is important. We should not cover it up. We should not obliterate it. We need to learn the lessons of history — the good, the bad, and the ugly. But the equivalency argument that the president and some other people make is a false one. You’re talking about those who made, built, and invented American versus those who are traitors to it and tried to destroy it. And so, who you honor tells a lot about who you are.” —Michael A. Genovese

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