Recent Books byJouvert Board Members

Volume 1

Arteaga, Alfred. Chicano Poetics: Heterotexts and Hybridities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Alfred Arteaga examines the crossing of literary and social forces that forms the context for being Chicano. 'Heterotextual poetics' reveals how a poetry of the cross can influence identity, in readings ranging from the poetry of gender and race by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz to that of the fragmentary, postmodern subject of Juan Felipe Herrara; it also demonstrates its premises through Arteaga's own poetry. A concept that meshes theory and practice, heterotextuality is the medium in which xicanismo is articulated and comes to be a hybrid subject of textual difference.

---. House with the Blue Bed. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1997.

In House with the Blue Bed, Arteaga reflects on being Chicano, poet, father, race car driver, musician, world traveler. Themes of violence, change, cultural conflict, racism, and human vulnerability are united by lean and lyrical prose. As Michael Palmer writes of these essays, "[a]t the heart of . . . the project is the ancient metaphor of a journey . . . of getting lost to find something," a something, in the words of the book's concluding poem, that is "gift, blessing, or sign"--or, more properly, all three.

Bahri, Deepika, and Mary Vasudeva, eds. Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.

The scholars gathered in Between the Lines stage a series of intense, sometimes contentious debates in an attempt to de-homogenize terms like 'South Asian,' 'postcolonial,' and 'diaspora.' From various political perspectives they address issues such as South Asian identity; the problems of exile, emigration, and institutional location; the values of multi-culturalism; the relationship of theory to political change; and the status of well-known South Asian writers like Salman Rushdie and Bharati Mukherjee. The book also serves as a useful introduction to the field of Postcolonial Studies: its development, its scope, and its most current concerns.

Churchill, Ward. From a Native Son: Selected Essays in Indigenism, 1985-1995. Boston: South End Press, 1996.

This wide-ranging collection brings together a decade of Ward Churchill's writings on American Indian history, culture, and political activism. Churchill sees the subjugation of indigenous peoples in the Americas not only in terms of colonization but also in terms of genocide (see, for instance, the essay "In the Matter of Julius Streicher: Applying Nuremberg Standards to the United States"). His provocative assessments of how Indians are represented on film, in literature, and in academic institutions strengthen his case for systematic cultural extermination, and his analyses of Indian resistance--as it occurs in art, cultural practice, and activist struggle--underpin a theory of indigenism that comprehends tradition, political action, and personal identity.

Gilbert, Helen, and Joanne Tompkins. Post-Colonial Drama: theory, practice, politics. London: Routledge, 1996.

Post-Colonial Drama is the first full-length study to address the ways in which performance has been instrumental in resisting the continuing effects of imperialism. It brings to bear the latest theoretical approaches from post-colonial and performance studies to a range of plays from Australia, Africa, Canada, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and other former colonial regions. Among its major topics are the intersections of post-colonial and performance theories, the post-colonial re-stagings of language and history, the specific enactments of ritual and carnival, and the theatrical citations of the post-colonial body.

Grewal, Inderpal. Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and the Cultures of Travel. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

This transnational study of the narratives and discourses of travel reveals ways in which colonial encounters created linked yet distinct constructs of nation and gender. Grewal draws on nineteenth-century aesthetics, landscape art, women's suffrage debates, and working-class educational programs to show how all social classes in England were influenced by imperialist travel narratives. She also explores how Indian men and women adopted and appropriated aspects of European travel discourse, particularly the set of oppositions between self and other, East and West, home and abroad.

Hall, Donald E., and Maria Pramaggiore, eds.. RePresenting Bisexualities: Subjects and Cultures of Fluid Desire. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Amidst a burgeoning acknowledgment of bisexuality in popular television shows, films and the press, is there an understanding of what it means to be bisexual in a monosexual culture? The essays in RePresenting Bisexualities discuss fluid sexualities through a variety of readings "from the fence," covering texts from Emily Dickinson to Nine Inch Nails. Each author contributes to the collection a unique view of sexual fluidity and transgressive desire. Taken together, the essays provide the most comprehensive bisexual theory reader to date.

Kaplan, Caren. Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement. Durham NC: Duke University Press 1996.

Questions of Travel asks how and when notions of home and away, placement and displacement, dwelling and travel, location and dislocation, come to play a role in contemporary literary and cultural criticism in Europe and the United States. Kaplan argues that the emergence of these notions in contemporary criticism must be linked to the histories of the production of colonial discourses and that they are crucial to the types of cultural representations labeled 'modern' and 'postmodern.' Linking the modernist trope of exile to seemingly postmodern articulations of diaspora, for instance, allows significant rereadings of theorists such as Edward Said and James Clifford . . . and powerful re-assessments of poststructuralist aesthetics, historical nostalgia, and feminist politics of location.

Orr, Elaine Neil. Subject to Negotiation: Reading Feminist Criticism and American Women's Fictions. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1997.

Orr's study of American women's fiction and feminist criticism leads her to invoke the suspicious categories of compromise, balance, and even integration. She wonders if a feminist criticism that purports to be modeled on women's historical experience should take as its guiding metaphors the popular mantras of subversion, separatism, and opposition. She suggests instead that negotiation might provide the groundwork for a practical feminist criticism, one that theorizes the hinged gestures of concession and demand, accommodation and critique. In chapters devoted to Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Toni Morrison, and Marge Piercy, she argues that fictive works by these writers solicit a negotiating criticism; Orr's readings provide some terms and directions for moving American feminist criticism away from a poetics of purity and toward a poetics of the composite and derivative.

Radhakrishnan, R. Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

In this series of meditations on the relationship between theory and practice, R. Radhakrishnan probes the intersections of poststructuralism and postcoloniality that lie at the heart of contemporary controversies over identity and difference. Rather than embracing one totalizing point of view, these essays move in the spaces "between" to establish a productive dialogue between different disciplines and critical practices--to elaborate common ground that can help us be "both past- and future-oriented within the history of the present." Considering issues of location, language, tradition, gender, ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism, culture, and history, Radhakrishnan reclaims poststructuralism as a tool for both understanding postcolonial reality and working for social change.

Rodriguez, Ileana. Women, Guerrillas, and Love: Understanding War in Central America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

How can literature show us what went awry in the process of liberation, and in the construction of a different, better world? Ileana Rodriguez pursues this question through a reading of "politically committed" works produced within the context of Latin American guerrilla movements, including Che Guevara's diary, testimonios by Omar Cabezas and Tomas Borge, and fiction by Sergio Ramirez and Arturo Arias. By focusing on the relationship between the collective and woman, and between woman and the state, Rodriguez challenges current assumptions about gender, sexuality, writing, and nation-building. The book also takes into account the "implosion" of socialist or socialist-like societies responding to the expansion of positivistic cultures. It thus participates in the debate over the subjugation of insolvent nation-states to the mandates of the market, and the consequent substitution of economic master narratives for historical ones.

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