Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Booknotes

Brazilian Telenovelas and the Myth of Racial Democracy, by Samantha Noguiera Joyce (Lexington Books, 2012). “Examines what happens when a telenovela directly addresses matters of race and racism in contemporary Brazil. This investigation provides a traditional textual analysis of Duas Caras (2007-2008), a watershed telenovela for two main reasons: It was the first of its kind to present audiences with an Afro-Brazilian as the main hero, openly addressing race matters through plot and dialogue. Additionally, for the first time in the history of Brazilian television, the author of Duas Caras kept a web blog where he discussed the public's reactions to the storylines, media discussions pertaining to the characters and plot, and directly engaged with fans and critics of the program.”—publisher’s description

Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics, by Robert Mann (Louisiana State University, 2011). "[A]n enterprising book meticulously reconstructing the genesis and impact of this very brief, very devastating piece of film."  --Frank Rich, New York Magazine

The Digital Condition: Class and Culture in the Information Network, by Randolf Menzel and Julia Fishcher (MIT Press, 2011). How global class inequalities are reflected in and help form digital culture.

Drop Dead Gorgeous: Representations of Corpses in American TV Shows, by Tine Weber (University of Chicago, 2012). The representation of corpses and parts of corpses on TV shows such as CSI Las Vegas, Bones, NCIS, Six Feet under, and Dexter.
The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market and Lohas, by Monica M. Emerich (University of Illinois, 2011). From organic produce and clothing to socially conscious investing and eco-tourism, the lifestyles of health and sustainability, or LOHAS, movement encompasses diverse products and practices intended to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle for people and the planet….first book to qualitatively study the LOHAS marketplace and the development of a discourse of sustainability of the self and the social and natural worlds.” –publisher’s description

Hollywood ‘s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet, by Peter Decherney (Columbia University, 2012). “There was a time when mentioning copyright drew yawns across faculty lounges and barstools, but no longer. This crucial component of our cultural infrastructure is now the topic of the day. Peter Decherney's sure-handed, able history of Hollywood and copyright gives us a rich perspective on the industry's past, present, and possible future.” --Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside

Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the U.S., by Anthony Walsh (Routledge, 2012). “Drug prohibition emerged at the same time as the discovery of film, and their histories intersect in interesting ways. This book examines the ideological assumptions embedded in the narrative and imagery of one hundred fictional drug films produced in Britain, Canada, and the U.S. from 1912 to 2006” –publisher’s description

How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technologies¸ by N. Katherine Hayles (University of Chicago, 2012). “Comprehensive account of how humanities scholars and students apprehend their work differently in the context of the digital turn. The perfect fusion of N. Katherine Hayles’s characteristically lucid technical explanations and virtuosic literary analyses, this book navigates the divide between the traditional and digital humanities and shows us how they might in fact intellectually stimulate and support each other. A discipline supposedly in crisis has never seemed so vibrant.”—Rita Raley, University of California, Santa Barbara

Inter/vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy, by Jan Rune Holmevik (MIT Press, 2012). “"A unique consideration of the play of new cultural and narrative forms, new media, and the interrelationship between artistic and other knowledge structures and emergent networked global cultures…glints with convertible, reversible, interchangeable attractions, grounding both gameworlds and electronic textuality firmly in the richest tradition of the humanities."--Michael Joyce, Professor of English and Media Studies, Vassar College

Is There a Home in Cyberspace? The Internet in Migrant’s Everyday Life and the Emergence of Global Communities, by Heike Monika Greschke (Routledge, 2012). “How is global togetherness possible? How does the availability of the Internet alter migrants' everyday lives and senses of belonging? This book introduces an 'alien people' inhabiting a specific common virtual space in the World Wide Web, while the members of this space - most of them ethnic Paraguayans - are physically located in many different parts of the world….The concentration on a single case facilitates an in-depth understanding of contemporary migration practices, cultural meanings of digital media and senses of belonging.” –publisher’s description

Liberation Technology: The Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy, edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. (John Hopkins University, 2012). “Liberation Technology brings together cutting-edge scholarship from scholars and practitioners at the forefront of this burgeoning field of study. An introductory section defines the debate with a foundational piece on liberation technology and is then followed by essays discussing the popular dichotomy of "liberation" versus "control" with regard to the Internet and the sociopolitical dimensions of such controls. Additional chapters delve into the cases of individual countries: China, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia.” –publisher’s description

The Long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and Contextualizing Newness, edited by David W. Park, Nicholas W. Jankowski, and Steve Jones (Peter Lang, 2011). “Chapters by eminent scholars address the connection between historical consideration and new media. Some assess the historical descriptions of the development of new media; others hinge on the issue of newness as it relates to existing practices in media history. Remaining essays address the shifting patterns of storage at work in media inscription, as they relate to the practice of history, and to the past and contemporary cultural formations. Together they offer a ground-breaking assessment of the long history of new media, clearly recognizing that the new media of today will be the traditional media of tomorrow, and that an emphasis on the history of the future sheds light on what this newness can be said to represent.” –publisher’s description

Media, Sound and Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Alejandra Bronfman and Andrew Grant Wood (University of Pittsburgh, 2010).” “This superb volume brings to light a myriad exciting discoveries: from Brazilian popular music to Bolivian carnival, Alejandra Bronfman and Andrew Grant Wood have assembled a fascinating collection of essays about the intersection of music, sound, radio, and popular culture in Latin America. Never before has Latin America resounded so clearly in a critical anthology.” —Rubén Gallo, Princeton University

Mediating Mental Health: Contexts, Debates and Analysis, by Michael Birch (Ashgate Publishers, 2011). “Looks across fictional and factual genres in film, television and radio examining media constructions of mental health identity. It also questions the opinions of journalists, mental healthcare professionals and people with conditions with regard to mediated mental health meanings.” –publisher’s description

Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feeling: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. (Indiana University, 2011). The media’s role in the public reaction to the murders that led to new hate crime legislation.

Muslims and the New Media: Historical and Contemporary Debates, by Goran Larsson (Ashgate Publishers, 2011). “Eexplores how the introduction of the latest information and communication technologies are mirroring changes and developments within society, as well as the Middle East's relationship to the West.”--publisher’s description 

Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture, by Peter Krapp (University of Minnesota, 2011).  "With a jam-packed intellectual bandwidth, Noise Channels reconfigures how we think about digital culture. Distortion reveals system characteristics: Peter Krapp uses this classic insight to illuminate the vibrant aesthetic and practical offspring of the computer. Marx knew it, Freud knew it, and so do Krapp’s fractious gang of characters. Rarely have the secret affinities among continental high theorists, engineering visionaries, and avant-garde artists been revealed so freshly." —John Durham Peters, University of Iowa

Oversharing: Presentations of Self in the Internet Age, by Ben Agger (Routledge, 2012). “Text messaging, Facebooking, tweeting, camming, blogging, online dating, and internet porn are vehicles of this oversharing, which blurs the boundary between public and private life. This book examines these ‘presentations of self’, acknowledging that we are now much more public about what used to be private.” –publisher’s description

Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication, by James P. Farwell (Georgetown University, 2012). “Using historical examples, Farwell illustrates how its principles have made a critical difference throughout history in the outcomes of crises, conflicts, politics, and diplomacy across different cultures and societies.” –publisher’s description

Politics and the Twitter Revolution: How Tweets Influence the Relationship Between Political Leaders and the Public, by John H. Parmalee and Shannon L. Bichard. (Lexington Books, 2012). How Twitter has been used in Senate and gubernatorial campaigns; includes interview and survey data. 

Super Black: American Popular Culture and Black Superheroes, by Adilifu Nama (University of Texas, 2011). “Examines seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, some of whom also appear on the small and large screens, as well as how the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the image of President Barack Obama.” –publisher’s description

Theories of Communication, edited by Eric McLuhan (Peter Lang, 2011). “The realization of a project begun in the 1970s with Marshall McLuhan and now brought to completion by his son, Eric McLuhan. This collection of short essays assembles theories of communication from a diverse range of famous people – from Thomas Aquinas and Francis Bacon to Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound – and ends with an essay on Marshall McLuhan’s own theory of communication. While the majority of the essays have been previously published, all are seminal pieces in the field. Their presence together in one volume is a significant contribution to the overall task of understanding culture and communication in our time, and will appeal to both scholars and students interested in the work of Marshall McLuhan.” –publisher’s description

Transnational Protests and the Media, edited by Simon Cottle and Libby Lester (Peter Lang, 2011). “With contributions from leading theorists and researchers, this cutting-edge collection discusses protests focusing on war and peace, economy and trade, ecology and climate change, as well as political struggles for civil and human rights, including the Arab uprisings. At its core is a desire to better understand activists' innovative uses of media and communications within a rapidly changing media environment, and how this is altering relations of communication power around the globe.” –publisher’s description

TV Cops: The Contemporary American Television Police Drama, by Jonathan Nichols-Pethnick (Routledge, 2012).  Raises a “number of questions that deserve serious critical attention: Under what circumstances have stories about the police proliferated in popular culture? What function do these stories serve for both the television industry and its audiences? Why have these stories become so commercially viable for the television industry in particular? How do stories about the police help us understand current social and political debates about crime, about the communities we live in, and about our identities as citizens?” –publisher’s description

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