Cambria Press Publication Review: Fearless Femininity by Women in American Theatre (1910s to 2010s)

Congratulations to Professor Lynne Greeley (University of Vermont) on the outstanding review of her book Fearless Femininity by Women in American Theatre (1910s to 2010s) in the journal Women’s History Review.

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The book review praises Fearless Femininity because:

Greeley has assembled a very large ‘cast’ of female artists: their ranks include the ‘first feminists’ (p. 215) Megan Terry and Bobbi Ausubel; Martha Boesing, cofounder of the feminist Minneapolis theatre company, At the Foot of the Mountain; Spiderwoman Theater, the Indigenous all-female (and all family) company; and commercially successful representatives of ‘third-wave’ feminism, such as playwrights Eve Ensler, Rivka Solomon, and Sarah Ruhl. Greeley also discusses the work of playwrights and performers who challenge not just the masculinity of American theatre but confront its whiteness and hetero-normativity: Latina playwright Caridad Svich; African American playwright Lynn Nottage; and artists Adelina Anthony, Young Jean Lee, and Najla Said, who (respectively) work from the perspectives of Ch/Xicana, queer, Asian American,and Arab/Palestinian American theatre and performance. Greeley brings to her research a deep-rooted knowledge of both American theatre history and feminist work’s place within it. Throughout the book she stresses women’s choices, their agency and activism, in crafting female or female-identified characters, ones made in the face of an art form and profession that has historically been dominated by men.

The journal review further recommends the book because “students of American theatre history, American women’s and gender history, and the histories of American feminism will have much to learn from Greeley’s own fearless approach to her subject.”

Fearless Femininity is part of the Cambria Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series headed by Professor John Clum (Duke University).

Order this book on Amazon.

  • Hardcover: 588 pages
  • Publisher: Cambria Press (February 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160497883X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604978834

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#MLA17 – Scholars Making a Difference

The following individuals are scholars who are making a difference with their outstanding scholarly and community contributions. Check out their books at the Cambria booth (#509) in the #MLA17 book exhibit hall.

Top row (left to right): Paul Manfredi (Pacific Lutheran University), Mabel Moraña (Washington University in St. Louis), Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta), E. K. Tan (Stony Brook University), and Alison Groppe (University of Oregon).

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Bottom row (left to right): Susan Lever (University of Sydney), Christian Rubio (Bentley University), Wendy Larson (University of Oregon), John Clum (Duke University), and Mark Bender (The Ohio State University).

Scholars Making a Difference

Paul Manfredi

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Paul Manfredi is Chair of Chinese Studies Program at Pacific Lutheran University and the author of Modern Poetry in China: A Visual-Verbal Dynamic, which has been praised by the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art for being “a very well-written, researched, illustrated and convincingly argued book that will no doubt be read widely among those with a specialist interest in Chinese literature and traditional culture. It is a text that challenges rigid distinctions between the verbal and the visual, not simply through theoretical appeals but also thoroughly grounded historical analysis.” The book includes color images and is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania). *Dr. Manfredi will be at the #MLA17, presiding over the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

Mabel Moraña

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Mabel Moraña is the William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences and the Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize Winner. Her forthcoming book The Monster as War Machine is part of the Cambria Studies in Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa (University of Pennsylvania).

Christopher Lupke

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Christopher Lupke is Professor and Chair of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta and the author of The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion, which Modern Chinese Literature and Culture notes that “Lupke succeeds brilliantly” because “Lupke not only demonstrates his astute familiarity with Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship, which he critically engages with throughout the study, but also reveals his intense familiarity with lesser known yet highly insightful details about Hou’s relationship with his collaborators Zhu Tianwen and Wu Nianzhen” and also  because “Lupke further expands the scope of the study by reading Hou’s work in relation to the films of the venerated Japanese director Ozu Yasujiro.” *Dr. Lupke will be at the #MLA17, presenting at the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

E. K. Tan

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E. K. Tan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University and is the author of the highly acclaimed Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World, which renowned Sinologists David Der-wei Wang and Shu-mei Shih have lauded as “magnificent work” and “conceptually innovative and flawlessly written,” respectively.  The book review by Modern Chinese Literature and Culture notes that Tan’s book is “well-written and researched” and “makes important contributions to Sinophone studies, Chinese studies, and Southeast Asian Studies, as well as to scholarship on diaspora, comparative literature, and world literature.” *Dr. Tan will be at the #MLA17, presenting at the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

Alison Groppe

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Alison Groppe is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Oregon and the author of Sinophone Malaysian Literature: Not Made in China, which has earned rave reviews in top academic journals. Southeast Asian Studies commends it for “its comprehensive coverage, focused treatment, and lucid exposition”; and the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies praises Groppe’s book because it “provides us with the much-needed basis for further explorations of the literary and cultural landscape of Southeast Asia. This insightful, detailed, and knowledgeable study will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese literature and culture, diasporic literature, and Southeast Asian studies.”

Susan Lever

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Susan Lever (University of Sydney) is general editor of the Cambria Australian Literature series and the author of David Foster: The Satirist of Australia, which was shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Walter McRae Russell Award. Lever’s book is praised by JASAL for being “remarkable in many ways … Lever’s analysis is entertainingly accessible and navigates a path through the extremes of contemporary literary theory to explain Foster’s complex philosophical ideas and stylistic idiosyncrasies.” In addition to her own publications, Dr. Lever has also helped many authors develop their own works under the Cambria Australian Literature series. Many of these books, such as by Shirley Hazzard: : Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist by Brigitta Olubas and Giving this Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia by Anne Brewster, have earned outstanding reviews.

Christian Rubio

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Christian Rubio is Associate Professor of Spanish at Bentley University and the author of Krausism and the Spanish Avant-Garde: The Impact of Philosophy on National Culture. Dr. Salvador A. Oropesa, Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Languages at Clemson University, has praised this new book highly because of how “Rubio argues convincingly that Krausism had a practical effect on everyday life and in literature” and points out that “previous critical work on Krausism has focused on its impact on realism. The novelty of Rubio’s study is that it extends its influence to postrealism movements like modernism (in the Anglo sense of the term), the avant-garde, and women’s right’s literature.” As such, he recommends the book as “a must read for those interested in the influence of Krausism and Kantian philosophy in Spanish culture during the early twentieth century.”

Wendy Larson

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Wendy Larson is professor emerita at the University of Oregon and the author of Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture. Jerome Silbergeld of Princeton University eloquently explains why Larson’s book is so important: “Complex and controversial, the director, cinematographer, and actor Zhang Yimou has defined Chinese film more than anyone else since the ‘opening up’ of China in the early 1980s. But do his films best define the real China or define the difficulty of defining ‘China’ and Chinese culture? Globalization is upon us, contending against nationalism and nationalists, and among other things modernizing Chinese cinema but also Hollywoodizing and de-Sinicizing it. Throughout his career, Zhang Yimou has both de-Sinicized and re-nationalized his Chinese cinema. Larson’s learned and entertaining engagement with Zhang’s evolving cinematic representations of Chinese culture looks at him and his films not only as agents of both hybridizing global forces and patriotic Chinese agendas but also as the product of both. Larson’s book engages readers in an insightful reflection on the significance, the potential, and the limitations of film as cultural production in a constantly changing China.”

John Clum

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John Clum is professor emeritus at Duke University and the general editor of the Cambria Studies in Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series. Dr. Clum’s publications include Terrence McNally and Fifty Years of American Gay Drama; The Works of Arthur Laurents: Politics, Love, and Betrayal; Awkward Stages: Plays about Growing Up Gay; and Gay Drama Now: An Anthology. His books have been praised for their astute examinations of important cultural works and their impact. For example, on his book on Arthur Laurents, Dr. Brenda Murphy, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, praised it because “in this authoritative and engaging book, John Clum draws on an unparalleled fund of knowledge about the musical theatre and the history of LGBT theatre in America to chronicle Laurents’s importance as a gay playwright writing about gay issues during the twentieth century. He elegantly demonstrates the ways in which Laurents’s writings parallel the momentous changes in the social, cultural, and political status of LGBT people.” Dr. Clum has also helped many authors develop their own works and is extremely active in the theatre scene.

Mark Bender

mark-bender

Mark Bender is Professor of Chinese literature and folklore at The Ohio State University and the author of The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry. Joni Adamson (Arizona State University) notes that the book “introduces poets whose first language is Chinese, Burmese, Khasi, Nuosu, or Mongolian. But here, their poems can be read in English, which Bender brilliantly wields as a ‘language of interaction.’ In the spirit of myth, these poets introduce us to entangled worlds, from the microscopic to the planetary. They reveal a cosmos of intimate relations between animals, plants, landscapes and waters, and urge us to be cautious about environmental changes taking place at scales that are endangering all life on the planet. This is the first and most authoritative book I have seen on the folk cultures, poetic worlds, and geographies of the Eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, and Southwest China.  It is a sparkling ‘cosmography’ that will immediately become required reading in Chinese and Sinophone literary and cultural studies.”

Check out these #MLA17 events!

For more titles and other authors who are making a difference, see www.cambriapress.com.

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Cambria Press Book Launch: Pedro Zamora, Sexuality, and AIDS Education

Cambria Press is proud to announce the publication of Pedro Zamora, Sexuality, and AIDS Education: The Autobiographical Self, Activism, and The Real World by Christopher Pullen. We are honored that the book will be launched on June 14 at the GLBT Historical Society Archives and Museum. Dr. Pullen will be flying into San Francisco for the event to speak about his book.

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Pedro Zamora was an openly gay AIDS activist of Cuban descent, who became a worldwide media phenomenon, particularly after his participation in The Real World television documentary series, set in San Francisco in 1994, where he openly represented his life as a person living with AIDS. Although Zamora passed away the same year he was on The Real World at only twenty-two years old, his life story continues to be an important contribution to contemporary debates on AIDS education, given how he was such an icon for sexual diversity.

Offering a comprehensive biographical narrative which brings together a wide range of media sources, including not only close examination of The Real World television series itself, the biographical film Pedro, educational documentaries to which Zamora contributed, and news reports from The Miami Herald, The Wall Street Journal, and POZ Magazine, key elements of Zamora’s story are brought together for the first time.

Chris Holmlund, Arts and Sciences Excellence Professor of Cinema Studies, Women’s Studies and French, University of Tennessee; and author of Impossible Bodies, praises the book:

“Documenting gay Cuban American activist Pedro Zamora’s appearances onscreen, in person, and in print, Pedro Zamora, Sexuality, and AIDS Education reflects on the power of mediated autobiography and testifies to the ongoing importance of working together to combat HIV/AIDS and injustice. Informed by the assessments of 1980s and 1990s AIDs activism offered by Alex Juhasz, José Esteban Muñoz, Simon Watney, Roger Hallas, Randy Shilts, Paul Monette, Marlon Riggs, and others, Pullen’s study details how the good-looking Zamora became a skilled educator who excelled at reaching out to youth, especially queer youth, and people of color. Diagnosed as HIV-positive at the age of seventeen, Zamora learned how to be charismatically convincing, conjoining vulnerability, transparency, sincerity, warmth and strength. His articulately “out” role on MTV’s 1994 reality show, The Real World: San Francisco, was a highlight; sadly, he died that same year, aged only twenty-two. Kudos to Pullen for so eloquently marshaling Pedro Zamora’s life, work, and love, for the present, toward the future.”

This book is in the Cambria Global Performing Arts Series headed by John M. Clum (Duke University).

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5 LGBT-themed Plays on Teens that are Important for Society

A New Publication from Cambria Press

Awkward Stages: Plays about Growing Up Gay
edited by John Clum and Sean Metzger

Cambria Press publication LGBT Theatre Gay Teen
Cambria Press Publication: Awkward Stages: Plays About Growing Up Gay edited by John Clum and Sean Metzger

Having looked carefully at more than forty plays, Professors John Clum (Duke University) and Sean Metzger (UCLA) finally selected five plays for the unique perspectives they bring on gay adolescence.

Why are such plays critical? Why is it important that book like Awkward Stages: Plays About Growing Up Gay are read and made available?

LGBT teens face not only the usual teenage coming-of-age anxieties but also issues ranging from isolation, prejudice, bullying to even suicide and murder. As Clum and Metzger note in their introduction:

“Continued anti-LGBT violence (witness the shooting of 15-year old Larry King in 2008) provides a haunting backdrop for the narratives in this book. These murders intersect with other forms of related queer violence, including bullying and suicide, that have received intermittent attention in US media; however, the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi in 2010 renewed this focus.”

Since then, preventative efforts have been made. Among these Clum and Metzger noted are:

“the It Gets Better Project is that it uses social media networks to respond to new forms of harassment, including cyberbullying. It Gets Better encourages young people to endure the present in hopes of living for a brighter future. This call for endurance —a kind of survival model—perhaps assumes too easily that trauma can be locked away in the past. From White Plains, contained in this volume, suggests that such trauma can cripple the people involved.”

On the playbill for From White Plains, it states: “Just Because It Gets Better Doesn’t Mean It Didn’t Happen.” Calling out the wrongs and reinforcing messages of social justice, which speak out against homophobia and anti-LGBT reactions, is critical for in order for society’s continued progress.

“The Top Ten Reasons Why Theatre is Still Important in the Twenty-First Century” by Professor Kevin Brown (University of Missouri, Columbia). All of Professor Brown’s reasons apply here, but the ones which resonate most deeply for these plays on gay teens are:

“#4 Self-Empowerment
Performance permeates every aspect of our everyday lives. Power relationships are constructed through performances. Understanding how performances unfold around us can help us to recognize and take control of the power dynamics that affect us.

#3 Social Change
Theatre is a cultural space where society examines itself in a mirror. Theatre has long been looked at as a laboratory in which we can study the problems that confront society and attempt to solve those problems.”

Theatre as a mirror for society has been effective; Clum and Metzger observed that “All of these plays have received powerful productions at theatres across America and Canada.” They also added that when they selected these plays, “Our goal was ethnic, racial, and geographical diversity as well as diversity of theme and style.”

In addition to highlighting LGBT teen issues in these diverse ways, the plays in Awkward Stages: Plays About Growing Up Gay also showcases, as Clum and Metzger mentioned, “the vitality and variety of contemporary North American drama.”

Try to catch these plays at your local theatre or at a theatre in a city you’re visiting. For those who have already seen the plays, this book is be an excellent complement in thinking further about the plays and their layers. For those who have not, this book is a fine introduction and will definitely make you want to catch the plays.

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#LGBTStudies #Sexuality #TheatreStudies