This terrific LA Weekly article asks, why are we "sold books the same way we are sold cell phones, as if the latest models deserve the most attention"? Reviews, interviews, publicity hype is all reserved only for the lastest books. And says, Nathan Ihara, "the book they are hyping probably is not the book you ought to read, not even the book you would most enjoy reading. That book lies hidden in the back of the bookstore, or perhaps not even there. It is 10-, 20-, 35-years-old." At Duke Press, our backlist supports us. We always hope each new book is one that will still be selling in a decade. In praise of our backlist, might we suggest three older titles that are currently on our in-house bestsellers list? First is Carla Freeman's High Tech and High Heels: Women, Work, and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean (1999). This ethnography of women working in the informatics industry in Barbados is a perennial bestseller for us, used in courses all around the country. Our editors often cite it to new authors as a way to write important scholarship that is also engaging to students. Another book currently selling well is The Cuba Reader (2003). Our Latin America and World Readers series offer the student or traveler a way to get an overview of a country's history, politics, and culture through primary documents like songs, paintings, photographs, poems, short stories, speeches, cartoons, government reports, and reportage. All the titles in the two series are steady backlist seller for us. The third backlist title we offer you today is Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation by Brian Massumi (2002). Massumi's book was an early title in a the now burgeoning field of affect studies and is a good example of how many of our bestselling books will never see a non-academic review or spend much time on a Barnes and Noble shelf. Instead we are known for cutting-edge theory that may be difficult, but that academics in many fields need to confront. Take some time to browse our other backlist on our website. Unlike a cell phone, a truly excellent book will not become obsolete in just a year or two.
Artist Pedro Lasch has an exhibit at Goldsmiths College in London this week. Lasch shows paintings inspired by the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, featuring the Twin Towers rebuilt identically in ten sites around the world. The installation is called "Phantom Limbs" and will be on view from today through Monday, July 12.
This fall Duke University Press will be publishing Black Mirror/Espejo Negro, the culmination of a three-part project by Lasch that encompasses a museum installation at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, photographs of the installation, and this bilingual book. For the installation, Lasch placed black rectangular mirrors on the walls, each with an image of a Spanish Renaissance painting behind it. Pre-Columbian stone and ceramic figures, chosen by Lasch from the museum’s permanent collection of Meso-American art, stood on pedestals facing toward each mirror and away from visitors entering the room. Viewers were drawn into a meditation on colonialism and spectatorship when, on looking into the black mirrors, they saw the pre-Columbian figures, seventeenth and eighteenth-century Spanish priests and conquistadores, themselves, and the contemporary gallery environment.
Lasch also has a piece currently on display at MoMA PS1 entitled "An Atlas of Radial Cartography."
Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University and the author of the books Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media, has been appointed as the new academic editor of our journal Public Culture. Klinenberg will serve a five-year term, ending in June 2015. Public Culture's editorial office will move from Columbia University to the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University in mid-July.
Fore more information about Eric Klinenberg, please visit sociology.fas.nyu.edu/object/ericklinenberg.For more information about Public Culture, please visit dukeupress.edu/publicculture.