Cultural Studies

Between the World and me

Between the World and me

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE - PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST - ONE OF OPRAH'S "BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH" - NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT

Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race" (Rolling Stone)

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN - NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - O: The Oprah Magazine - The Washington Post - People - Entertainment Weekly - Vogue - Los Angeles Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Chicago Tribune - New York - Newsday - Library Journal - Publishers Weekly

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men--bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son--and readers--the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America

Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America

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Crap. We all have it. Filling drawers. Overflowing bins and baskets. Proudly displayed or stuffed in boxes in basements and garages. Big and small. Metal, fabric, and a whole lot of plastic. So much crap. Abundant cheap stuff is about as American as it gets. And it turns out these seemingly unimportant consumer goods offer unique insights into ourselves--our values and our desires.

In Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America, Wendy A. Woloson takes seriously the history of objects that are often cynically-made and easy to dismiss: things not made to last; things we don't really need; things we often don't even really want. Woloson does not mock these ordinary, everyday possessions but seeks to understand them as a way to understand aspects of ourselves, socially, culturally, and economically: Why do we--as individuals and as a culture--possess these things? Where do they come from? Why do we want them? And what is the true cost of owning them?

Woloson tells the history of crap from the late eighteenth century up through today, exploring its many categories: gadgets, knickknacks, novelty goods, mass-produced collectibles, giftware, variety store merchandise. As Woloson shows, not all crap is crappy in the same way--bric-a-brac is crappy in a different way from, say, advertising giveaways, which are differently crappy from commemorative plates. Taking on the full brilliant and depressing array of crappy material goods, the book explores the overlooked corners of the American market and mindset, revealing the complexity of our relationship with commodity culture over time.
By studying crap rather than finely made material objects, Woloson shows us a new way to truly understand ourselves, our national character, and our collective psyche. For all its problems, and despite its disposability, our crap is us.

DRUNKARD'S WALK: HOW RANDOMNES

DRUNKARD'S WALK: HOW RANDOMNES

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With the born storyteller's command of narrative and imaginative approach, Leonard Mlodinow vividly demonstrates how our lives are profoundly informed by chance and randomness and how everything from wine ratings and corporate success to school grades and political polls are less reliable than we believe.

By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow's intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.

Epidemic Empire: Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror, 1817-2020

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Horror: A Literary History

Horror: A Literary History

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Horror is unlike any other literary genre. It seeks to provoke uniquely strong reactions, such as fear, shock, dread or disgust, and yet remains very popular. Horror is most readily associated with the film industry, but horrific short stories and novels have been wildly loved by readers for well over two centuries. Despite its persistent popularity, until now there has been no up-to-date history of horror fiction for the general reader. This book offers a chronological overview of the genre in fiction and explores its development and mutations over the past 250 years. It also challenges the common misjudgement that horror fiction is necessarily frivolous or dispensable. Leading experts on Gothic and horror literature introduce readers to classics of the genre as well as exciting texts they may not have encountered before. The topics examined include: horror s roots in the Gothic romance and antebellum American fiction; the penny dreadful and sensation novels of Victorian England; fin-de-siecle ghost stories; decadent fiction and the weird; the familial horrors of the Cold War era; the publishing boom of the 1980s; the establishment of contemporary horror auteurs; and the post-millennial zombie trend."

SECONDHAND: TRAVELS IN THE NEW

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SO BLACK AND BLUE: RALPH ELLIS

SO BLACK AND BLUE: RALPH ELLIS

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So Black and Blue is the best work we have on Ellison in his combined roles of writer, critic, and intellectual. By locating him in the precarious cultural transition between Jim Crow and the era of promised civil rights, Warren has produced a thoroughly engaging and compelling book, original in its treatment of Ellison and his part in shaping the history of ideas in the twentieth century."—Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles

The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist

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An extraordinary biography. A gallery of astonishing work. The legacy of a madman.

Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages--and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia's esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world's most celebrated mythological beasts--mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs--were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from a childhood spent exhuming corpses through his medical training, his travels with carnivals, and the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black's magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray's Anatomy for mythological beasts--dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus--all rendered in meticulously detailed anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.

Vexed with Devils: Manhood and Witchcraft in Old and New England

Vexed with Devils: Manhood and Witchcraft in Old and New England

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Stories of witchcraft and demonic possession from early modern England through the last official trials in colonial New England

Those possessed by the devil in early modern England usually exhibited a common set of symptoms: fits, vomiting, visions, contortions, speaking in tongues, and an antipathy to prayer. However, it was a matter of interpretation, and sometimes public opinion, if these symptoms were visited upon the victim, or if they came from within. Both early modern England and colonial New England had cases that blurred the line between witchcraft and demonic possession, most famously, the Salem witch trials. While historians acknowledge some similarities in witch trials between the two regions, such as the fact that an overwhelming majority of witches were women, the histories of these cases primarily focus on local contexts and specifics. In so doing, they overlook the ways in which manhood factored into possession and witchcraft cases.

Vexed with Devils is a cultural history of witchcraft-possession phenomena that centers on the role of men and patriarchal power. Erika Gasser reveals that witchcraft trials had as much to do with who had power in the community, to impose judgement or to subvert order, as they did with religious belief. She argues that the gendered dynamics of possession and witchcraft demonstrated that contested meanings of manhood played a critical role in the struggle to maintain authority. While all men were not capable of accessing power in the same ways, many of the people involved--those who acted as if they were possessed, men accused of being witches, and men who wrote possession propaganda--invoked manhood as they struggled to advocate for themselves during these perilous times. Gasser ultimately concludes that the decline of possession and witchcraft cases was not merely a product of change over time, but rather an indication of the ways in which patriarchal power endured throughout and beyond the colonial period.

Vexed with Devils reexamines an unnerving time and offers a surprising new perspective on our own, using stories and voices which emerge from the records in ways that continue to fascinate and unsettle us.

WHITE FRAGILITY: WHY IT'S SO H

White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

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The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this "vital, necessary, and beautiful book" (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and "allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people' (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

WOMEN, RACE, & CLASS

WOMEN, RACE, & CLASS

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A powerful study of the women's liberation movement in the U.S., from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.