Thursday, August 01, 2019

The Latest Issue of Confluence, Now Distributed Internationally by SDSU Press.


https://amzn.to/2LWYzCW
As part of a pilot program, SDSU Press is thrilled to announce an association with Confluence, a journal of the AGLSP, (Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Program)--AGLSP is the international mothership for MALAS-style Liberal Studies/Liberal Arts MA & PhD programs worldwide.

Check out their latest issue here in our SDSU Press/Amazon.com special order link.

What is Confluence? Glad you asked: "Confluence is a national, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal published by the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) that reflects the best scholarly and creative work produced within and beyond AGLSP member institutions. Publishing scholarly essays and creative work such as short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art, Confluence stands as a demonstration of and an inspiration to the kind of interdisciplinary engagement that is constitutive of a liberal education, while emphasizing the fundamental relations that transcend the boundaries of discipline and form that must be engaged and explored."

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Steven Bender's HOW THE WEST WAS JUAN--the perfect late fall 2019 syllabus addition for courses in political science, legal history, latin american studies and more...

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Day of the Lord Cometh: Nicholas Genovese's The Utopian Vision: Seven Essays on the Quincentennial of Sir Thomas More from San Diego State University Press

Rereading The Utopian Vision: Seven Essays on the Quincentennial of Sir Thomas More
Brian Frastaci, SDSU Press Editorial Assistant


Direct purchase from our SDSU Press Amz site.
Utopia has long had a bad rap. 

Members of nearly all political persuasions are frequently denounced as “utopian” in espousing an unrealistic and unattainable vision. Ideas are routinely held up “utopian” in the sense of “good in theory, untenable in practice.” If you believe in x, you’re a “utopian.” Might as well leave such things to the realm of fiction. Most espousing one ideology or another would avoid calling themselves “utopian” for these very reasons.
  
The very word utopia doesn’t help matters. Coined by Thomas More in his likewise-named work of 1516, utopia literally means “no place”—οὐτοπία, or outopia, for Greek-savvy readers. Obviously More wanted his readers to understand from the get-go that his was an impossible project. And unfortunately for ideologians of the modern day, this coinage stuck. 

But the idea of utopia hasn’t always been understood as an unattainable fantasy. From virtually the beginning of human civilization, people have traded ideas about the perfect society, and those perfect societies have always been understood as very real, whether an object of the past, present, or future. As SDSU’s own E.N. Genovese argues, two great traditions of utopia existed in antiquity. Those traditions may seem alien to us, but there are bound to be familiarities to the modern ear. What Genovese identifies as the “Indo-European” tradition is the idea that human civilization is cyclical, and that we of the modern day are (of course) in the worst possible existence, an “iron age” to be held in contempt to a past—and future—“golden age”, where justice reigns and humanity lives in an exalted state. The “Near Eastern” tradition, on the other hand, is the idea that a very real paradise currently does exist. This paradise usually takes the form of a garden, wherein there is no violence, no illness, and no suffering (paradise itself comes from a Persian word that means “a walled enclosure”). The Garden of Eden is the most obvious example of an ancient Near Eastern paradise, and as Genesis would have us believe, it does currently exist somewhere around Mesopotamia.  

As Genovese argues, the Indo-European and Near Eastern traditions survive and combine in the form of that great global religion, Christianity. It upholds the example of sinless man in a past paradise, in the Garden of Eden, and it believes in a presently existent paradise, the Kingdom of God in the heavens—both inheritances from Judaism, a Near Eastern religion. And as Jews came to believe before the time of Jesus, so did Christians: a future golden age is to come, the reign of God on earth. 

Two thousand years of interpretation have produced interesting takes on this utopian belief, and likewise lots of word soup. One mouthful possibly familiar to readers is Darbyite premillennialist dispensationalism, a modern interpretation of Jewish and Christian prophetic literature that features a “prophetic clock” operating throughout history. When God decides to start the now-frozen prophetic clock again, the earth will have seven years left before the return of Jesus with fire and brimstone. Fun events that will presage the end-times include a failed attack by Russia and Ethiopia on Israel and the installation of a single world government. Understandably, dispensationalists were excited when the modern nation-state of Israel and the United Nations were founded.


A dispensationalist timeline from 1919. Note the extraordinarily long toes of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

As the image shows, dispensationalism is quite complicated, but its appeal has not been dampened, particularly in the United States. Readers today can enjoy lots of dispensationalist literature, like the bestselling Left Behind series (all sixteen volumes of it) or even the widely panned Nicolas Cage movie of the same name (currently at a 1% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes).


The Left Behind movie (2014). If Genovese is correct, then this is a modern culmination of two venerably ancient traditions of utopia.
 
My point through all this is that a lot of toil has been spent on getting utopia right. And while I don’t espouse dispensationalism or many other utopian projects myself, I only want to suggest that we redefine the word utopia to mean something simpler: a better place. While many in the West don’t believe in a cyclical view of history anymore, many often uphold the glory of past societies as examples for our modern decrepit society to aspire to—see how often “the Founding Fathers”, the “good old days”, the 1950s, and so on, are looked upon with sometimes-religious fervor. And while many likewise don’t believe in a literal paradise existent somewhere else in the world, we often glorify other societies for their supposedly superior ways of life—Japan or Scandinavia, for instance—or maybe even ourselves—we in the United States are supposedly members of a “city on a hill,” as Ronald Reagan once dramatically put it. The idea of the “noble savage” also comes to mind, that colonized indigenous peoples enjoyed or enjoy a simplistic and morally upright idyllic existence in nature. 

In short, utopia is present nearly everywhere in modern discourse, but it doesn’t get recognized as such. Instead, it gets denigrated as a silly fantasy. To close, maybe we should understand utopia in an alternate reading: as eutopia, εὐτοπία—in other words, a good place, something we all hopefully aspire to.

(To read more on Genovese’s construction of ancient utopia, order SDSU Press’s very own The Utopian Vision: Seven Essays on the Quincentennial of Sir Thomas More, available on Amazon here. The book includes other essays on utopias throughout the centuries, such as utopias in Marxism, feminism, Russia, Comte, Vonnegut, and of course, More himself. It also contains the first-ever comprehensive annotated bibliography of utopia!)

 
(Learn more about utopia with SDSU Presss The Utopian Vision: 
Seven Essays on the Quincentennial of Sir Thomas More, available here at Amazon!)  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

San Diego's Sestercentennial Got You Feeling Reminiscent? We've Got the Cure: Mourning Dove's Stories - An Authentic Compilation of Native Tales

From April through July, here in San Diego, both local elected officials and leaders of the Kumeyaay Nation are working together to celebrate 250 years of local history and heritage. A joint effort to commemorate the past and shed light on the region’s many peoples. And while leaders here in San Diego have waited until a big anniversary year to honor our history, native storytellers—like Mourning Dove—have long recognized the importance of preserving cultural traditions.

Considered one of the first native female novelists, Christine Quintasket (Mourning Dove), dedicated her life to transcribing the oral traditions of the Salish-speaking tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

Image result for mourning dove native
Mourning Dove lived 1884-1936 in the native
borderlands between Washington and Canada.

Published in American Indian Studies at San Diego State University, comes Mourning Dove’s Stories, a rare unaltered collection of Mourning Dove’s original works.

Thanks to the extra efforts of editors, Clifford E. Trafzer and Richard D. Scheuerman, many of the stories in this compilation can be found virtually unchanged from Mourning Dove’s own interpretations—free from the westernized influence found in many previous presentations of her works which have been “corrected” by white men.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters—from Lynx to Coyote—all sixteen vignettes highlight the undeniable dualities of life and the careful balance between these dialectical tensions. As the pages turn characters go from brave heroes to cunning villains and back again. Through every transition the stories highlight the fragile balance between the good and evil that live both within and around us.

This book truly remains a treasured preservation of Mourning Dove and the story of her native people. Rich in wisdom and moral lessons, Mourning Dove’s Stories proves a quintessential reading for those interested in learning from the mistakes, examples, and truths of the past.

As many of us today are finally starting to appreciate the rich history of our locality (and our country as a whole), there is no better a moment to purchase Mourning Dove’s Stories as a way to complete the transformative journey through time and tradition. Mourning Dove herself lived in a transitional period in American Indian history—one where cultures collided and rapidly changed. So to the climate of today, as the United States increasingly becomes a region of diversity, we could all learn a lesson from this authentic assemblage of “the oldest truths of America.”

Purchase your own copy of Mourning Dove’s Stories here, so you to can learn from the truths and traditions of the past!

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

An Interview with Fanny Daubigny, Author of the New Book from SDSU Press, "Proust in Black"



Fanny Daubigny has called Los Angeles, CA home for now over ten years. In her new book, Proust in Black, published this Spring by SDSU Press, Daubigny makes the case that, despite his death just after WWI, the literary essence of Marcel Proust is alive and well in the City of Angels; hiding within its many dark recesses that spurred the Film Noir genre in the mid-twentieth century. Proust in Black stands as an unprecedented merge of poetic verse, cinematic history and critical theory that reads not so much like an academic text, but rather, as Daubigny puts it, a "love letter" to the cultural elements that she for so long has poured herself into.

Fanny Daubigny lives and writes in Los Angeles, California, and works as a full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at California State University, Fullerton. This interview was conducted in February of 2019.


SDSU PRESS: You’ve written in the LA Book Review, in the context of Marcel Proust’s own critics attempting to investigate his personal life in order to better understand his work, “Reality always falls short, and objects of beauty become distorted.” How much of yourself was wrapped up in Proust’s fiction while writing this book? Was there something that you used to ground yourself in reality during the process?

Daubigny: Proust in Black is a love letter to the city of Los Angeles, the city that welcomed me more than 10 years ago both as an immigrant and a transplant from Miami, Florida. It is a love letter to literature and film and a farewell letter to a certain type of academic discourse, cultural and literary criticism that I often find too arid, insular and dry. Finally, it is an open break-up letter to a past love.

P: Because you also write poetry, Proust in Black strikes a beautiful balance between academic investigation and pros that often come across as a work of art themselves, which makes for a delightful and informative read. How did you go about finding this balance between personal expression and research-based writing?

D: The balance came to me very naturally and spontaneously. This is how I approach the world and this is how I write as a reflection of how I experience reality.  A balance that constantly swings its pendulum between chaos and order, reason and heart, intellect and emotions, all together pulled by Dionysian and Apollonian forces (as a reference to Nietzschean aesthetics).

P: Having lived all over the world--France, Canada, Chile and Los Angeles (perhaps I’m missing one or two?)--is there something about LA that lends itself especially to the Noir genre that isn’t found anywhere else?

D: Yes, I think it does although the genre goes well beyond historic and cultural determinations as I tried to show it in my essay. What makes Los Angeles so special to me in my exploration of the theme and the genre is the  explosive crystallization of various elements that are so intrinsic to the city: The historic with the second world war ‘free play zone’, the cold war freeze, the nuclear threat (nuclear tests operated in the desert of Nevada in 1953 radiated unto the city of Los Angeles); the geographic with the ever dramatic struggle of a city with its threatening landscape: the sense of a city always being ‘on the edge’ (on the fault line), at the very border of explosion (Kiss me Deadly (1955); collusion with Mexico (Out of the Past (1947); Touch of Evil (1958); at the border of death with the proximity of the desert (Sullivans’ travels, 1941) etc.

Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity, 1944


P: Your book spans decades of Film Noir in LA, from the 1920s to the 1980s. How, in your opinion, have LA Noir films changed throughout time? Do you think the tone of the LA Noir film has changed with the city, or do films change the way we see the city?

D: Yes, absolutely, I think they have even as the stereotypes belonging to the genre can be exported to other film genres. Let’s take the example of Marlowe, the stereotype of the detective.  Marlowe as seen in The Big Sleep by Howard Hawks and Marlowe as portrayed by Robert Altman in A Very Long Goodbye are two different characters and the refection of two different cities in transition. Marlowe in Altman’s movie is still on his quest for truth but the crime scene has shifted to Mexico, the bad guys have turned from librarians to hopeless middle-aged writers, psychiatric wards keep the city’s secrets and Marlowe’s greatest passion is now for a cat.

P: Proust in Black often blurs the line between reality and fiction in its embrace of the night--as you write, “In calling up the night, it is often the myths and folklore of childhood that are evoked,” and “...throughout the centuries the blackness of night has known how to share intimate space with the writer’s white page.” Is there something to the idea of letting oneself get wrapped up in the drama and fantasy of film and fiction in a city like Los Angeles? Do you think there is something that Film Noir--and for that matter, Proust, himself--can teach us about embracing the night?

D: Los Angeles has the texture of a dream-like reality. Never completely real, never completely fake. Always on the edge, on the fault line, in-between, and in-and-out. Film noir has the color of the night, where opposites contrast, collide, meet and merge with one another; where black and white evoke the night of dreamers (like Marlowe) and killers all alike. Proust’s novel, Remembrance of Things Past, contain early drafts that looked very much like a ‘bedtime story’, a conversation initially started between the narrator and his mother about literature. Later, the final version turned out to be the story of a man that cannot find sleep, dreams and wakes-up, fantasying all together about femme fatales, corrupted men and crimes (symbolic) all reflecting the progressive disparition and dissipation of a certain myth, the myth of a greater France, nostalgic of its glorious past whose dream was brutally interrupted in 1914, at the onset of one of the most vicious and barbaric times of the history of the French Republic when France, Europe and the world turned into the blackness and bleakness of WWI.

P: It’s undeniable that our world is changing more quickly by the day, with the advent of  social media, our addiction to the news cycle (and the news cycle’s reliance on our addiction), political turmoil, etc. Where does Proust’s work fit into all of this? Is there a remedy within his writing that society can find solace within? Likewise, where does your book fit into our society today? What can we learn from reading about the relationship between Film Noir and Marcel Proust’s work in your book?

D: Proust’s political stance is oven overlooked (or overshadowed) by the complex aesthetics the novel famously (or infamously) stands for. As said earlier, Proust’s novel is as much a work about poetry, fine imagery and complex metaphors as it is about history involving the researching, chronicling archiving and rendering of complex cultural, political and socio-economic questions such as: secularism, cultural diversity, class struggles, xenophobia, education, sexual politics, genre etc…
Proust in Black follows the path inaugurated by Proust’s novel in the sense that it strives to strike a balance between poetry and history, and in the end addressing in its content and in its form the primary question: how being bicultural is not just a historic but also a poetic question; how bi-culturality blurs the lines between forms and identities, genres and cultures.

Kiss Me Deadly, West of Los Angeles 
@2016 fdaubigny



Saturday, April 27, 2019

New from Hyperbole Books, an SDSU Press Imprint: PROUST IN BLACK Los Angeles: A Proustian Fantasy by Fanny Daubigny

{Full Color Special Limited Edition} 
by Fanny Daubigny 






HYPERBOLE BOOKS AN IMPRINT OF SDSU PRESS ISBN-10: 1-938537-81-5 ISBN-13: 978-1-938537-81-3 $30.95 USA | $42 CANADA | $600 MEXICO | €29 EURO


Fanny Daubigny's PROUST IN BLACK fuses French Literature, cultural studies, film noir, film studies, and Los Angeles, the City of Angels, in a dynamic synthesis of imagination and invention that remakes cultural criticism in the here and now. With lucid and evocative readings of Proust, Billy Wilder, Hollywood film noir and more, Daubigny emerges as a literature and film studies critic with a compelling vision and a lyrical prose artistry that tracks manifestations of Proust in and across the dark night of Southern California. 

Advance word on PROUST IN BLACK 


“A book about Proust and film noir and Los Angeles, yes, but so much more: it is about fear and desire, about guilt and insomnia, about the ‘chiaroscuro of consciousness’ in text and film and culture, about the ‘aesthetics of fear.’ And like a detective searching around dark corners of the city, we are constantly surprised. Buster Keaton joins Robert Wiene and Fritz Lang as an inaugurator of film noir! Pasolini’s debt to Proust! Albertine as femme fatale! It is criticism as detection, criticism as collision, criticism as crime, criticism as confession. It is critique noire.” Tom Lutz, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Los Angeles 
 Review of Books 

“It is a tour de force of dexterous and poetically rendered cross-referencing. In Proust in Black Fanny Daubigny has composed a multi-layered cultural exchange between the country of France and the City of Los Angeles. The polarities, oddly drawn toward each other, will involve, on the French end, the great literary masterpiece of its age, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, and from the U.S. seaside dream city, L.A.'s body of films noir, those darkly gorgeous, cheaply made black and white crime movies from the 40s and 50s. At the center of all this is Desire. At the center of all this are the fluid permutations of memory, persistent yet illusive, and (as Elizabeth Bishop once said of another intangible essence, knowledge) ‘flowing and flown.’” 
 Suzanne Lummis, L.A. Noir Poet 

“Fanny Daubigny maps the liminal spaces where Proust’s romanticism collides with the cynical yearning of the film noir, in a Los Angeles that is at once real and cinematic, present and impossibly distant, smoldering-look cool and branding-iron hot. Like a half-remembered dream, her city floats above the smog line and gets caught in the palms.” 
Richard Schave, Founder, Los Angeles Visionary Association 

About the author: Fanny Daubigny is a writer, translator, and poet--she's also a Professor of French at CSU Fullerton. She has published many articles on Marcel Proust and is a specialist in the nineteenth and twentieth century literatures of France and the French-speaking countries. She lives in Los Angeles, city of angels.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

SDSU Press Proud to Co-Sponsor the Wendelmoot Symposium Event of the Year! Blacktinx Queer Performance | E. Patrick Johnson and Ramon Rivera-Servera, Northwestern University

Blacktinx Queer Performance: Crossing Beyond the Crisis of Bordered Identities
  
In this presentation, E. Patrick Johnson and Ramon Rivera-Servera will discuss their ongoing research collaborations around issues of black and Latinx (“Blacktinx”) queer performance. They will pay particular attention to the history of earlier coalitions of black and latinx queers that lay the groundwork for queer artists to create work that moves beyond hard-and-fast boundaries of ethno-racial identities.

click to enlarge
Mark your calendars! The Wendelmoot CRISIS CRISIS Symposium Series is proud to bring E. Patrick Johnson and Ramon Rivera-Servera to SDSU!

#wendelmoot is a project of the SDSU Department of English & Comparative Literature--this event is co-sponsored by the LGBTQ Research Consortium-SDSU, the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University--The Official Page, M.A.L.A.S. The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and San Diego State University Press.

wendlemoot.sdsu.edu

Check out more about our amazing dynamic duo from Northwestern University here and here:

https://communication.northwestern.edu/faculty/RamonRiveraServera

https://www.afam.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/e-patrick-johnson.html

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Definitive Guide to the "Southern Border" -- REFRAMING THE LATINO IMMIGRATION DEBATE by Alvaro Huerta and featuring the photography of Antonio Turok





 


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Images of Revolution: Art Embraces Death, Destruction, and Humanity in Post-WWI Germany





What better time to dive into the psycho-social dilemma of an era of art that embodies the tragic longing for justice and revolution than now? In Ida Katherine Rigby's War-Revolution-Weimer: German Expressionist Prints, Drawings, Posters and Periodicals from The Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation, the author and former San Diego State University professor of Art History outlines one of the art world's most important and influential movements--not only in the sense of aesthetic style, but also (and more importantly) in the sense of a political uprising in the aftermath of the most globally devastating war in the history of mankind.


Kaethe Kollwitz, Die Freiwilligen 
(The Volunteers), 1922/1923


The selected works within War-Revolution-Weimer, generously provided by the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation based in Los Angeles, California, were created by German Expressionist artists, both well-known and obscure, between 1918 and 1925. Through a variety of printmaking techniques including woodcut, drypoint, lithography, etching, aquatint and even illustrations in crayon, these artists utilized a combination of aesthetic appeal and mass production to engage their audience into a sociopolitical dialog revolving around the fallout from WWI. As an idealistic language of revolution began to take shape following what German Expressionists viewed as the absurdity of war (i.e. death, killing and political injustice), art became a tool to express, simultaneously, one's emotive/physical reaction to war as well as ideas of political revolution.
Franz Maria Jansen, in
Der Anbruch, 1922

Along with over one hundred image panels, Ida Katherine Rigby curates an equally vivid written historical context to the German Expressionist movement:     
“These new radicals were convinced that their powerful reactions to the compelling times and their radical political sentiments could only be conveyed in an intensely emotionalized, revolutionary idiom, and they readily marshaled the prewar generation’s avant-garde, abstract style to serve a new, more political content. Theirs was often less Expressionism than that of their mentors; instead they merged Dadaist, Futurist and Expressionist elements into an explosive unity.”    

The works compiled in War-Revolution-Weimer, indeed, embody political and social sentiments that are not entirely unlike our contemporary experience. Thus, immersing oneself into the world of German Expressionist art as presented in this book is guaranteed to shed new light on shared human experiences, both new and old.


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Back in Print! A Classic Memoir from the Annals of 20th Century American History: Soldier to Ambassador: From the D-Day Normandy Landing to the Persian Gulf War by Charles W. Hostler--SDSU Press

Like some fusion of James Bond and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., this fascinating memoir, Soldier to Ambassador: From the D-Day Normandy Landing to the Persian Gulf War, marks key, life-shaping moments from Charles W. Hostler's amazing odyssey--a remarkable man who began his life as a newsboy during the Great Depression, who developed himself whilst a soldier in the U.S. military, working his way up still further as an agent in the OSS and, finally, as the U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain. 

Hostler describes his 20 year residence in the Middle East, as well as his extensive world travels and dedicated public services.

Click on the book cover image to order now.