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Books by Faculty

Book Cover: German-Jewish Popular Culture before the HolocaustGerman-Jewish Popular Culture before the Holocaust: Kafka's Kitsch

By Dr. David Brenner

David A. Brenner examines how Jews in Central Europe developed one of the first "ethnic" or "minority" cultures in modernity. Not exclusively "German" or "Jewish," the experiences of German-speaking Jewry in the decades prior to the Third Reich and the Holocaust were also negotiated in encounters with popular culture, particularly the novel, the drama and mass media.

Based on research in German, Israeli and American archives, German-Jewish Popular Culture before the Holocaust addresses many of the genres in which a specifically German-Jewish identity was performed, from the Yiddish theatre and Zionist humour all the way to sensationalist memoirs and Kafka’s own kitsch. This middle-class ethnic identity encompassed and went beyond religious confession and identity politics. In focusing principally on German-Jewish popular culture, this groundbreaking book introduces the beginnings of "ethnicity" as we know it and live it today.

Book Cover: Culture & Tactics

Culture & Tactics: Gramsci, Race, and the Politics of Practice

By Dr. Robert F. Carley

While scholars of social and political movements tend to analyze tactics in terms of their effectiveness in achieving specific outcomes, Robert F. Carley argues by contrast that tactics are, above all, not mere means to an end so much as they are a public form of expression pointing out injustices and making just demands. Rooted in a highly original analysis of the tactically mediated relationship between race and mobilization in the work of Italian philosopher and revolutionary Antonio Gramsci, Culture and Tactics demonstrates how tactics impact the organizational structures of social movements and expand the affinities of political communities. Newly envisioning Gramsci as a theorist of race within a broader context of social struggle, Carley connects Gramsci’s insights into the political mobilizations of racialized subaltern groups to contemporary critical race theory and cultural studies of racialization and racism. Speaking across disciplines and drawing on a number of empirical examples, Carley offers a battery of original concepts to assist scholars and activists in analyzing the tactical practices of protests in which race is a central factor.

Andrey Bely's Petersburg: A Centennial Celebration Edited By Olga M. Cooke

Andrey Bely’s “Petersburg”: A Centennial Celebration

Edited by Olga Cooke

Celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of Andrey Bely’s Petersburg, this volume offers a selection of essays that address the most pertinent aspects of the 1916 masterpiece. The plot is relatively a simple one: Nikolai Apollonovich is ordered by a group of terrorists to assassinate his father, the prominent senator Apollon Apollonovich Ableukhov. Nevertheless, Bely’s polyphonic, experimental prose invokes such diverse themes as Greek mythology, the apocalypse, family dynamics, psychology, Russian history, theosophy, revolution, and European literary influences. Considered by Vladimir Nabokov to be one of the twentieth century’s four greatest masterpieces, Petersburg is the first novel in which the city is the hero. Frequently compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses, no other work did more to help launch modernism in turn-of-the-century Russia.

Book Cover: Confronting CrisisConfronting crisis in the Carolingian empire: Paschasius Radbertus' funeral oration for Wala of Corbie

By Drs. Mayke de Jong and Justin Lake 

This book provides an accessible new translation of, and commentary on, an important but enigmatic ninth-century text: the Epitaphium Arsenii ('Epitaph of Arsenius') by the monk and scholar Paschasius Radbertus of Corbie. Couched in the form of a literary dialogue between monks grieving for their lost abbot, the Epitaph serves as a major source for the life and career of Wala (here referred to by the nickname 'Arsenius'), a cousin of Charlemagne who became involved in the rebellions against Charlemagne's son and successor Louis the Pious in the 830's.

A Companion to African CinemaA Companion to African Cinema

Edited by Kenneth W. Harrow and Carmela Garritano

A Companion to African Cinema offers an overview of critical approaches to African cinema. With contributions from an international panel of experts, the Companion approaches the topic through the lens of cultural studies, contemporary transformations in the world order, the rise of globalization, film production, distribution, and exhibition. This volume represents a new approach to African cinema criticism that once stressed the sociological and sociopolitical aspects of a film.

Book Cover: Marriage Without Borders

Marriage Without Borders:Transnational Spouses in Neoliberal Senegal

By Dr. Dinah Hannaford 

Marriage Without Borders is a multi-sited study of Senegalese migration and marriage that showcases contemporary changes in kinship practices across the globe engendered by the neoliberal demand for mobility and flexibility. Based on ten years of ethnographic research in both Europe and Senegal, the book examines a particular social outcome of economic globalization: transnational marriages between Senegalese migrant men living in Europe and women at home in Senegal. These marriages have grown exponentially among the Senegalese, as economic and social possibilities within the country have steadily declined. More and more, building successf

ul social lives within Senegal seems to require reaching outside the country, through either migration or marriage to a migrant. New kinds of affective connection, and disconnection, arise as Senegalese men and women reshape existing conceptions of spousal responsibility, filial duty, Islamic piety, and familial care.

Book cover: Printing VirgilPrinting Virgil:The Transformation of the Classics in the Renaissance

By Dr. Craig Kallendorf

In this work Craig Kallendorf argues that the printing press played a crucial, and previously unrecognized, role in the reception of the Roman poet Virgil in the Renaissance. Using a new methodology developed at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Printing Virgil shows that the press established which commentaries were disseminated, provided signals for how the Virgilian translations were to be interpreted, shaped the discussion about the authenticity of the minor poems attributed to Virgil, and inserted this material into larger censorship concerns. The editions that were printed during this period transformed Virgil into a poet who could fit into Renaissance culture, but they also determined which aspects of his work could become visible at that time.

La galleria interiore dell'Ingegnere By Manuela MarchesiniLa galleria interiore dell'Ingegnere

By Manuela Marchesini

A classic whodunit of 20th century Italian literature, That Awaful Mess of via Merulana by Carlo Emilio Gadda, gets a new reading and a queer solution.

Book Cover: Evolution and Popular NarrativeEvolution and Popular Narrative

Edited by Dirk Vanderberke and Brett Cooke

The contributors to this volume share the assumption that popular narrative, when viewed with an evolutionary lens, offers an incisive index into human nature. In theory, narrative art could take a near infinity of possible forms. In actual practice, however, particular motifs, plot patterns, stereotypical figures, and artistic devices persistently resurface, indicating specific predilections frequently at odds with our actual living conditions. Our studies explore various media and genres to gauge the impact of our evolutionary inheritance, in interdependence with the respective cultural environments, on our aesthetic appreciation. As they suggest, research into mass culture is not only indispensable for evolutionary criticism but may also contribute to our understanding of prehistoric selection pressures that still influence modern preferences in popular narrative.