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Dream for Dead Bodies

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ISBN: 9780472119813 9780472900602 Year: Pages: 265 DOI: 10.3998/mpub.8749028 Language: English
Publisher: University of Michigan Press Grant: Knowledge Unlatched
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2016-05-22 11:01:09
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Dreams for Dead Bodies: Blackness, Labor, and the Corpus of American Detective Fiction offers new arguments about the origins of detective fiction in the United States, tracing the lineage of the genre back to unexpected texts and uncovering how authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Pauline Hopkins, and Rudolph Fisher made use of the genre’s puzzle-elements to explore the shifting dynamics of race and labor in America. The author constructs an interracial genealogy of detective fiction to create a nuanced picture of the ways that black and white authors appropriated and cultivated literary conventions that coalesced in a recognizable genre at the turn of the twentieth century. These authors tinkered with detective fiction’s puzzle-elements to address a variety of historical contexts, including the exigencies of chattel slavery, the erosion of working-class solidarities by racial and ethnic competition, and accelerated mass production. Dreams for Dead Bodies demonstrates that nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature was broadly engaged with detective fiction, and that authors rehearsed and refined its formal elements in literary works typically relegated to the margins of the genre. By looking at these margins, the book argues, we can better understand the origins and cultural functions of American detective fiction.

Resonance of Unseen Things

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ISBN: 9780472900657 9780472072941 Year: Pages: 193 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_608301 Language: English
Publisher: University of Michigan Press Grant: Knowledge Unlatched
Subject: Ethnology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-05-22 11:01:24
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The Resonance of Unseen Things offers an ethnographic meditation on the “uncanny” persistence and cultural freight of conspiracy theory. The project is a reading of conspiracy theory as an index of a certain strain of late 20th-century American despondency and malaise, especially as understood by people experiencing downward social mobility. Written by a cultural anthropologist with a literary background, this deeply interdisciplinary book focuses on the enduring American preoccupation with captivity in a rapidly transforming world. Captivity is a trope that appears in both ordinary and fantastic iterations here, and Susan Lepselter shows how multiple troubled histories—of race, class, gender, and power—become compressed into stories of uncanny memory. “We really don’t have anything like this in terms of a focused, sympathetic, open-minded ethnographic study of UFO experiencers. . . . The author’s semiotic approach to the paranormal is immensely productive, positive, and, above all, resonant with what actually happens in history.”
—Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion, Rice University

“Lepselter relates a weave of intimate alien sensibilities in out-off-the-way places which are surprisingly, profoundly, close to home. Readers can expect to share her experience of contact with complex logics of feeling, and to do so in a contemporary America they may have thought they understood.”
—Debbora Battaglia, Mount Holyoke College

“An original and beautifully written study of contemporary American cultural poetics. . . . The book convincingly brings into relief the anxieties of those at the margins of American economic and civic life, their perceptions of state power, and the narrative continuities that bond them to histories of violence and expansion in the American West.”
—Deirdre de la Cruz, University of Michigan

Risk Criticism

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ISBN: 9780472900671 9780472073023 Year: Pages: 192 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_610090 Language: English
Publisher: University of Michigan Press Grant: Knowledge Unlatched
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2016-06-12 11:01:04
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'Risk Criticism: Reading in an Age of Manufactured Uncertainties' is a study of literary and cultural responses to global environmental risk that offers an environmental humanities approach to understanding risk in an age of unfolding ecological catastrophe. 'Risk Criticism: Reading in an Age of Manufactured Uncertainties' is a study of literary and cultural responses to global environmental risk that offers an environmental humanities approach to understanding risk in an age of unfolding ecological catastrophe. In 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists re-set its iconic Doomsday Clock to three minutes to midnight, as close to the apocalypse as it has been since 1953. What pushed its hands was, however, not just the threat of nuclear weapons, but also other global environmental risks that the Bulletin judged to have risen to the scale of the nuclear, including climate change and innovations in the life sciences. If we may once have believed that the end of days would come in a blaze of nuclear firestorm (or the chill of the subsequent nuclear winter), we now suspect that the apocalypse may be much slower, creeping in as chemical toxin, climate change, or bio- or nano- technologies run amok. Taking inspiration from the questions raised by the Bulletin’s synecdochical “nuclear,” 'Risk Criticism' aims to generate a hybrid form of critical practice that brings “nuclear criticism”—a subfield of literary studies that has been, since the Cold War, largely neglected—into conversation with ecocriticism, the more recent approach to environmental texts in literary studies. Through readings of novels, films, theater, poetry, visual art, websites, news reports, and essays, 'Risk Criticism' tracks the diverse ways in which environmental risks are understood and represented today.

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