Tim Lawrence's Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992 is reviewed in the new issue of Bookforum. Reviewer John Rockwell praises Lawrence for writing "the broadest and most insightful study of the whole musical scene so far." He adds, "[E]ven if you didn’t know about Russell and are not yet persuaded to
pursue him further, this is still a book worth reading.
Psychologically, Russell emerges as indeed fascinating, more
fascinating than his music, as a maverick without, Lawrence notes, the
feisty self-righteousness such figures often embody."
The trial of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader who stands accused of genocide, began yesterday in The Hague. But the accused refused to appear, claiming he needed more time to prepare his defense. Karadzic's recalcitrance will remind many of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic made a mockery of the proceedings and died before a verdict could be issued. Next fall we will publish the definitive account of the Milosevic trial, Judith Armatta's Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Armatta, a lawyer, sat inches away from Milosevic throughout the entire trial as she served as an observer for the Coalition for International Justice, a human rights organization. Her book presents both a day-to-day account of the trial and analysis of its significance as well as personal accounts of victims of the Balkan wars. Armatta argues that the trial set an important precedence and that studying and understanding it is crucial to future efforts to bring war criminals (like Karadzic) to justice. After the jump, read an excerpt from this important forthcoming book.
The Guardian's "Brain Food" column features anthropologist Karen Ho this week. Aditya Chakrabortty writes, "Anthropologists used to study the alien: pygmies in rainforests with blowdarts and more piercings than a knife-thrower's assistant.
Nowadays, however, few societies are more foreign than that found on
Wall Street. After all, what could be more outlandish than the tribes
of Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and the famously fierce Goldman Sachs – with their obscure tongue (CDOs, CLOs and the rest), their worship of gold and those grisly ritual cullings of staff?" Ho's book Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Streetis an in-depth investigation into the everyday experiences and ideologies of Wall Street investment bankers which shows how financial markets, and particularly booms and busts, are constructed.
The San Antonio Express-Newsreviews Deborah Paredez's Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. Reviewer Yvette Benavides writes, "What is certain and undeniable about Corpus Christi's most famous
daughter is this: What we can now never know about Selena's rising star
reveals other truths after her death." She continues, "It is perhaps no coincidence that the decade in which Selena died is
the same decade that witnessed the so-called cultural and commercial
"Latin explosion." It is also perhaps no accident that a resurgence of
anti-immigration discourse and policy emerged with those same events. 'The fact that she died at a particular moment in American history is important,' says Paredez." Paredez will be reading from and signing her book tonight at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.
After months of trying to agree on a gambling compact, it appears that Florida's Seminole tribe and its state government are at an impasse, reports the Miami Herald. At issue is the desire of some lawmakers to expand gambling throughout the state and the refusal of the Seminoles to give Florida $150 million a year in shared gaming revenue if the expansion goes through. But the even larger issue looming behind the dispute is that of sovereignty. The Seminoles claim that Federal law makes them a sovereign nation, not subject to the state of Florida's fines and rules. The Florida House of Representatives has asked the Federal government to step in and halt gaming on the Seminole reservations. These large issue of sovereignty are discussed in detail in Jessica Cattelino's High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty. She argues that the Seminoles have used their vast gaming profits to shore up both their cultural traditions and their sovereignty, and that while states and the Federal government have both been happy to let tribes claim sovereignty when they were poor, the addition of huge gambling profits raises the stakes for everyone. When asked about the current impasse, Cattelino said she is "particularly intrigued by the
potential for the tribe to negotiate gaming terms with the federal
government and thereby cut out the state."
The Village Voice looks to expert Bob White and his book Rumba Rules: The Politics of Dance Music in Mobutu’s Zaire in an article about music in the Democratic Republic of Congo. White argues that "many linguistic complexities are rooted in the repression endured under Joseph Désiré Mobutu, a/k/a Mobutu Sese Seko, the CIA-installed despot who changed the country's name to Zaire for much of his 32-year reign (which finally ended in 1997)." Reporter K. Leander Williams especially likes White's chapter that analyzes "soukous lyrics by such stars as J.B. M'Piana, Koffi Olomide,
and General Defao to show that love paeans and praise songs are often
veiled cries for help, community, even power in a society gone awry."
The Washington Post has a thoughtful article today about how in athletics and other areas, it's not always easy to assign a gender to a person. The recent plight of runner Caster Semenya brought to the forefront the issue of competitors who have always identified as women, but who test genetically as male. Reporter David A. Farenthold writes that, with one in 100 people having a medical condition that might make gender assignment difficult, these issues extend far beyond athletic competition. Many people with these medical conditions identify as intersex. Katrina Karkazis's Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience is the first book to examine contemporary controversies over the medical management of intersexuality in the United States from the multiple perspectives of those most intimately involved (parents and doctors as well as intersex people themselves). It has been widely praised for its thoroughness and sensitivity. Check it out if you'd like to know more about this complex issue.
The Chronicle of Higher Education chose Brenda R. Weber's Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity for their "Nota Bene" feature this week. Reporter Kacie Glenn finds that "Weber was drawn to the subject when, watching an episode of Extreme Makeover,
she was puzzled to hear a young woman who had just undergone cosmetic
surgery declare, 'I just don't care what people think of me anymore.' . . . Weber argues that it described a logical, if paradoxical, state of mind.
She theorizes that the woman, like many makeover participants, felt
empowered even as she submitted to society's ideals, because of the
show's insistence that until that moment, her true self had been
suppressed." In the book Weber is critical of the makeover shows, but remains a fan. "Call me a sucker," she writes. "But I like the quirky joy that's represented in such hopeful statements of transformation."
Check out the second video in our Inside Duke Press series!
The Annual Meeting for Duke University Press took place on Thursday, October 8th. Our speaker for this
year's meeting was literary scholar, New York Times columnist, and
former DUP director Stanley Fish. He spoke about his time spent in the
English Department at Duke University and his time as the Duke
University Press Director. This video contains a portion of his speech.
It's barely been released from our warehouse, but already people are talking about Tim Lawrence's new book Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992. Lawrence was in New York City last weekend for a conference devoted to Russell, attended by many music journalists as well as academics. And the book is already garnering rave reviews. Writing in The Wire, Ken Hollings calls the book a "sensitive and thorough biography" and adds, "with Hold On to Your Dreams, the outline of an outstanding and prescient artist can now be more clearly made out." (This review is not available online, alas.) In Time Out New York, Michaelangelo Matos calls the book "obsessively researched" and praises Lawrence's "overriding thesis—that Russell's boundary crossing was as important as the work he made." And a new review by John McLeod in Flagpole says, "Lawrence . . . is a wonderful writer, able to ruminate on music in a way that is deeply knowledgeable without ever losing the groove and the beat." We expect more great reviews to come!