Monday, March 17, 2008

Winter/Spring 2008 Booknotes

Advertising Sin and Sickness: The Politics of Alcohol and Tobacco Marketing, 1950–1990, by Pamela E. Pennock (Northern Illinois University Press, 2007). Table of Contents: Introduction: Health, Morality, and Free Speech / Part One: The Failed Fight to Ban Alcohol Advertising, 1947–1958 / Part Two: The Battle to Regulate Cigarette Marketing, 1960s / Part Three: The New Temperance Movement and Alcohol Marketing Restrictions, 1970s and 1980s .

American Icons: The Genesis of a National Visual Language, by Benedikt Feldges. (Routledge, 2007). Focuses on the “historicity of icons” in the context of modern pictorial culture.

The Anguish of Displacement: The Politics of Literacy in the Letters of Mountain Families in Shenandoah National Park, by Katrina M. Powell (University of Virginia Pres, 2008). Analyzes some 300 handwritten letters written to federal government officials by families displaced by the Virginia park creation in 1926.

Bits of Life: Feminism at the Intersections of Media, Bioscience, and Technology, edited by Anneke Smelik and Nina Lykke (University of Washington Press, 2008). “The editors map the multiple intellectual and institutional histories informing the prolific imaginaries, and contested terrain, of feminist cultural studies of technoscience today." - Jackie Orr, Syracuse University

Children, Media and Consumption: On the Front Edge, edited by Karin M. Ekstrom and Brigitte Tufte (Nordicom, International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media, Yearbook 2007). Collection of articles divided into: Media Culture, Brand and Advertising Culture, and Family Culture.

Chinese Cyber Nationalism, by Xu Wu (Rowan & Littlefield, 2007) Comprehensive examination of the social and ideological movement that mixes Confucian cultural traditions and advanced media technology.

Codyfying Cyberspace: Communications Self-Regulation in the Age of Internet Convergence, by Damian Tambini, Daniolo Leonardi, and Chris Marsden (Routledge, 2007). Based on a three-year study at Oxford University of new media self-regulation in a variety of countries.

The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films, by Christopher P. Lehman (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008). White animators' depictions and interpretations of African-American culture in cartoons from the early 1900s to 1950.

Communication Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of Media, by Robert McChesney (New Press, 2007). Yikes! McChesney argues that even though the media revolution has become more central to the culture, the field of scholarly Communications has never been more marginal.

Confidential to America: Newspaper Advice Columns and Sexual Education, by David Gudelunas (Transactions Books, 2007) Written by one of our own (ASC ‘04 Grad), this book shows how sexual advice columns since the 19th century have served as public forums on sexual etiquette and practice.

Culture and Authenticity, by Charles Lindholm (Blackwell, 2007). “The hope for an authentic experience draws us to charismatic leaders, expressive artists, and social movements; it makes us into trendy consumers, creative performers, and fanatical collectors. It also can lead to the bloodshed of ethnic cleansing.…Authenticity, in its many guises, offers seekers a sense of belonging, connection and solidity. Yet, even as authenticity has become more valued, it has become more elusive and remote. Calling upon anthropological case studies from different cultures, historical material, and comparative philosophy [the author] explores how notions of authenticity develop, what forms it takes, and how it changes over time.” –Publisher’s website

Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses, by Jussi Parikka (Peter Lang, 2007). A comprehensive and critical analysis of the culture and history of the computer virus phenomenon, drawing on the cultural theories of Deleuze, Virilio, and others.

Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, by Maggie Jackson (Prometheus, 2008). “Explores the many ways in which we are eroding our capacity for deep, sustained attention—the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress” as we in our “mobile, virtual multitasking ways” head toward a future of only “snippets, glimpses, skimming, McThinking, and mistrust.” –publisher’s catalog

Documenting Gay Men: Identity and Performance in Reality Television and Documentary Film, by Christopher Pullen (McFarland, 2007). How reality programming and film have helped to promote positive images of gay men.

Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press, by Davis W. Houck and Matthew A. Grindy (University Press of Mississipp, 2008). Describes how Mississippi dailies and weeklies both reflected and influenced opinion on the 1955 case of the 14-year-old black youth from Chicago who was murdered after he was supposedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in the state.

Freedom’s Journal: The First African-American Newspaper, by Jacqueline Bacon (Lexington Books, 2007). A comprehensive examination of the first African American newspaper published in New York from 1827-1829.

The Exploit: a Theory of Networks, by Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker (University of Minnesota, 2008). Provides insight into “how networks operate” and “the political implications of this emerging form of power. It cuts through the nonsense about how ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ networks supposedly are, and it offers a rich analysis of how network protocols create a new kind of control. Essential reading for all theorists, artists, activists, techheads, and hackers of the Net.” —McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto

The Guardian: The History of South Africa’s Extraordinary Anti-Apartheid Newspaper, by James Zug (Michigan State, 2007). The history of the newspaper that helped to bring down Apratheid.

Health, Risk, and News: The MMR Vaccine and the Media, by Tammy Boyce (Peter Lang, 2007). Study of the role the media played in fanning or allaying public fears over links between autism and the vaccine against mumps, rubella, and measles.

Internationalizing Internet Studies: Beyond Anglophone Paradigms
, edited by George Groggin and Mark Mclelland (Routledge, 2008). A range of perspectives on understanding the internet in cultural, social, national, and regional settings. The authors deem the Asia-Pacific region as currently the most dynamic in the field of internet studies.

Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond, by Esther Peeren (Stanford, 2007). The work of literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin as it applies to popular culture, including television series such as Sex in the City.

ISpy: Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era, by Mark Andrejevic (University Press of Kansas, 2008) Shows how interactive technologies are increasingly being used for surveillance and data gathering.

It’s Not TV: Watching HBO in the Post-Television Era, edited by Marc Leverette, Brian L. Ott and Cara Louise Buckley (Routledge, 2008). “This book argues that HBO, as part of the leading edge of television, is at the centre of television studies’ interests in market positioning, style, content, technology, and political economy.” –publisher’s website

Journalism as Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue, Ethics, and the Press, by Sandra L. Borden (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2008). Explores the dilemmas faced by public-minded journalists in an era of increasingly commodified journalism, drawing on the work of the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre

Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship, by Sarah Banet-Weiser (Duke University, 2008). Examines the cable network Nickelodeon in light of the relationship between children, media, citizenship, and consumerism.

Live Television: Time, Space and the Broadcast Event, by Stephanie Marriott (Sage, 2007). Analysis of the ways in which television mediates unfolding events.

Madison Avenue and the Color Line: African Americans in the Advertising Industry, by Jason Chambers (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). How black professionals in advertising, journalism, and marketing helped to change company perceptions of the African-American consumer.

Managing the Infosphere: Governance, Technology, and Cultural Practice in Motion, by Stephen D. Mcdowell, Philip E. Steinberg, and Tami K. Tomasello (Temple, 2008). “…exposes and explains how electronic communication and networking always consists of spaces of movement—diverse mobilities of information, capital, trade, territoriality, regimes of governance. In so doing, it forwards a constructivist perspective on space that challenges liberal notions of spatial fixity and flow by placing mobility at the heart of its analysis. —Rob Kitchin, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Media and Nation Building: How the Iban Became Malaysian, by John Postill (Berghahn, 2008). “A breakthrough attempt to bring nation building back on the agenda of meda and communication research, and a valuable contribution to the field of media anthropology.” –H-Nation

The Media and the Rwanda Genocide, edited by Allan Thompson (Pluto Press, 2007). Based in part on the 2004 conference on the topic held at Carlton University in Ottawa.

The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space
, by Scott McQuire (Sage, 2008). “…Argues that the spaces and rhythms of contemporary cities are radically different to those described in classic theories of urbanism. Changes in the city have been paralleled by the transformation of media which has become increasingly mobile, instantaneous and pervasive. The media are no longer separate from the city…The Media City links Myspace to Howard Hughes; trams to cinema; security cameras to exploding buildings; reality TV to Marx; and Lenin on privacy to Kracauer on the mass ornament.”—Publisher’s website

Media/Queered: Visibility and Its Discontents, edited by Kevin G. Barnurst (Peter Lang, 2007). Leading scholars in the field of queer media studies “travel to many corners of mediated queer life—from pre-Stonewall radio to sitcoms to cyberspace, from niche marketing to personal ads to queer media activism, from weddings to lesbian melodrama to sex work—teasing out the many paradoxes and pleasures of contemporary visibility.”—Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco

The Media Were American: US Mass Media in Decline, by Jeremy Tunstall (Oxford, 2007). Contributes to the study of global flows of media, arguing that the US media influence has been in decline throughout the world since the Fifties.

Monsters In and Among Us: Toward a Gothic Criminology
, edited by Caroline Joan Picart and Cecil Greek (Farleigh Dickinson University, 2007). How images of violence and monstrosity and Gothic modes of narrative feed into popular culture and even public policy.

Museums, The Media and Refugees: Stories of Crisis, Control, and Compassion, edited by Katherine Goodnow, Jack Lohman, and Philip Marfleet (Berghahn, 2008). Analyzes the conflicting ways refugees are portrayed by museum practitioners and the contexts, stories, and images, often mass media driven, they employ. Basedon case studies in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Negotiating Democracy: Media Transformations in Emerging Democracies, edited by Isaac A. Blankson and Patrick D. Murphy (State University of New York Press, 2007). A collection of articles on the breakup of broadcasting state monopolies in transitional societies such as Bulgaria, Cambodia, and Nigeria.

Netporn: DIY Web Culture and Sexual Politics, by Katrien Jacobs (Rowan & Littlefield, 2007). Study of independent do-it-yourself internet pornography.

News as Entertainment: The Rise of Global Infotainment, by Daya Kishan Thussu (Sage, 2008). The first book-length study of the globalization of the infotainment phenomenon.

Pens and Swords: How the Mainstream Media Report the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
, by Marda Dunsky (Columbia University Press; 2008). Analysis of coverage in more than two dozen major print and broadcast outlets in recent years.

Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV, by Michael Curtin (University of California, 2007). Profiles the leading Chinese commercial studios and telecasters, and delves into the operations of Western conglomerates extending their reach into Asia.

The Poetics of DNA, by Judith Roof (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). How metaphors of DNA in the media and other public discourse have reinforced discrimination against racial and sexual minorities.

Political Communication and Deliberation, by John Gastil (Sage, 2008). “A much needed synthesis of the meaning and role of deliberation in contemporary democracy.” –Michael Delli Carpini, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Politicotainment: Television’s Take on the Real, edited by Kritina Riegert (Peter Lang, 2007). The articles in this collection all work from the notion that “entertainment formats are important sources of political culture and inform political processes.”—publisher’s website

Public Opinion and the Politics of Gay Rights, by Paul R. Brewer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Looks at how public opinion and the public debate on gay rights shape each other.

The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid That Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse
, by Peter Ludlow and Mark Wallace (MIT Press, 2008). History and analysis of the virtual landscape of Second Life, including its own tabloid newspaper.

Thelma and Louise Live! The Cultureal Afterlife of an American Film, edited by Bernie Cook (University of Texas Press, 2007). Essays on the spirited heroines of the 1991 film and its changing reception over time.

Turning on the Mind: French Philosphers on Television, by Tamara Chaplin (Unversity of Chicago, 2008). “Linking philosophy, TV and French identity, Ms. Chaplin also emphasizes the excitement of the medium’s attempt to capture the act of philosophizing.” –Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec.7, 2007

Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England,
by William H. Sherman (University of Pennsylvania, 2007). “Based on a survey of thousands of early printed books,” author “describes what readers wrote in and around their books and what we can learn from those marks by using the tools of archaeologists as well as historians and literary critics.” --Publisher’s catalog

Windows on ModerAdvertising Sin and Sickness: The Politics of Alcohol and Tobacco Marketing, 1950–1990, by Pamela E. Pennock (Northern Illinois University Press, 2007). Table of Contents: Introduction: Health, Morality, and Free Speech / Part One: The Failed Fight to Ban Alcohol Advertising, 1947–1958 / Part Two: The Battle to Regulate Cigarette Marketing, 1960s / Part Three: The New Temperance Movement and Alcohol Marketing Restrictions, 1970s and 1980s .

Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research, edited by Suzanne Castell and Jennifer Jenson (Peter Lang, 2007). “The ‘state of play’ in digital games research today.” –publisher’s website

“You Can’t Air That:” Four Cases of Controversy and Censorship in American Television Programming, by David S. Silverman (Syracuse University, 2007) The cases are: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Richard Pryor Show, TV Nation (Michael Moore), and Politically Incorrect (Bill Maher).

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