As a “critical social theory,” intersectionality already lies at the roots of contemporary cultural studies, and the best work in cultural studies has the capacity for or is already engaging with intersectionality as method. This is work that accounts for the multifaceted nature of subjects, institutions, processes, and structures as it asks its questions about cultural objects, experience, ideology, history, or discourses. Intersectionality as, along with dialectical materialism, a core intellectual practice of cultural studies, offers expanded possibilities for political traction, relevance to the world and people’s lives, and transformative potential. We see models of such work throughout this issue, including with part two of a special forum on emergent analytics of critical humanities.
Stefanie A Jones, Eero Laine and Chris Alen Sula
This essay undertakes a reparative reading of Aya of Yopougon, a multivolume graphic novel by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie. Setting Aya alongside other African comics and prevailing interpretations of African and Diasporic literatures, this interpretation coins the term “novelty” to describe the unique mode of representing subjects, space, and time in the text. This “novelty” situates Aya at the intersection of tendencies in African, European, and North American comics art, and it juxtaposes subtle renditions of everyday life with overdetermined representations of African societies and Africans in Diaspora. The essay also articulates the relevance of novelty for feminist, queer, and postcolonial theories, comics scholarship, and Diaspora Studies.
andré m. carrington
This essay analyses the theatricalized performance of stripping in the popular films Magic Mike (2013; dir. Steven Soderbergh) and its sequel, Magic Mike XXL (2015; dir. Gregory Jacobs). Following a critical dance studies approach that attends to the intersection of body and gesture with socio-political, historical, and economic structures, I suggest theatricalized sexual labour in these films reveals the racial exclusions from the ideology of entrepreneurship. Considering the appropriation of black aesthetics in Magic Mike XXL’s performances of striptease, the film seeks to evaporate the spectre of race, that is, the way the white fantasy of the entrepreneurial subject is supported by the appropriation of racialized and especially black labour.
This paper demonstrates how target marketing provides valuable point-of-sale and point-of-interaction insights, and argues that the labor theory of value is untenable for understanding the conditions of leisure-time surveillance and data aggregation. It then provides a close reading of an Amazon affiliated fulfillment center exposé in order to examine precisely how the information produced during leisure-time surveillance intensifies the exploitation of fulfillment center labor. Target marketing is part of a larger apparatus that aggregates data for the purposes of assigning risk, differentiating prices, and managing supply chains and labor costs.
This article outlines the digital storytelling methods used for a community based research project focused on issues of sexuality among California farmworkers: Sexualidades Campesinas. We note how our process of collaboration in the creation and production of digital stories was shaped by the context and our envisioned storytellers. We then offer a critical analysis of our own unique experience with digital storytelling in this project, focusing on a handful of concepts key to understanding the nature of our collaborative production process: community, affect and collaboration, storytelling, performance, and mediation, with an eye to the problem of ethics.
Ethics, Collaboration, and Knowledge Production: Digital Storytelling with Sexually Diverse Farmworkers in California
Tania Lizarazo, Elisa Oceguera, David Tenorio, Diana Pardo Pedraza and Robert McKee Irwin
Introduction to Part II of the forum, Emergent Critical Analytics for Alternative Humanities. Here, emergent scholars respond to essays by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Julie Avril Minich, and Jodi Melamed, each of whom elaborated on the alternative possibilities of dealing with the legacies of settler colonialism, new materialisms, disability, and institutionality in Part I, published in Lateral 5.1.
Chris A Eng and Amy K King
Response to J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, “A Structure, Not an Event: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity,” published in Lateral 5.1. Jafri articulates how a critical race feminist/queer lens makes possible thinking that sees the repetitions of racialized, gendered, sexualized colonial violence.
Response to J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, “A Structure, Not an Event: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity,” published in Lateral 5.1. Gniadek approaches settler colonialism via questions of time—asking When is settler colonialism?—which reveals how narratives of national belonging tend to operate, as narrative confrontations that facilitate violence throughout and across time.
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
Response to Kyla Wazana Tompkins, “On the Limits and Promise of New Materialist Philosophy,” published in Lateral 5.1. Shomura mediates upon the promise and possibilities that new materialisms affords in its attentiveness to the material.
Response to Kyla Wazana Tompkins, “On the Limits and Promise of New Materialist Philosophy,” published in Lateral 5.1. Huang reassesses the methodological implications of new materialisms by grappling with renewed attention to form in literary studies to articulate the varying processes by which racial difference becomes elided, rematerialized, and remade.
Michelle N Huang
Kyla Wazana Tompkins
Response to Julie Avril Minich, “Enabling Whom? Critical Disability Studies Now,” published in Lateral 5.1. Schalk calls for a shift in thinking that directly affects action and discusses creating classroom experiences that help students to critique intersecting social structures in their everyday encounters.
Response to Julie Avril Minich, “Enabling Whom? Critical Disability Studies Now,” published in Lateral 5.1. Kim elaborates upon a crip-of-color critique, which has possibilities to both criticize structures that inherently devalue humans and to take action to work toward justice. Kim’s final call is to identify and act against the inequalities and harm of academic labor, urging readers to take seriously a “politics of refusal” that might help academics of color survive through alternative collectivities.
Jina B Kim
Julie Avril Minich
Response to Jodi Melamed, “Proceduralism, Predisposing, Poesis: Forms of Institutionality, In the Making,” published in Lateral 5.1. Tabares invites us to question the role of what he calls ‘para-institutions,’ such as corporations, in shaping and influencing the logics and investments within the university. As a counterpoint to these processes, he ponders the possibilities of seizing upon the elements of proceduralism in mobilizing forms of collectivity that can span across institutional contexts outside the academy.
The Contexts of Critique: Para-Institutions & the Multiple Lives of Institutionality in the Neoliberal University
Response to Jodi Melamed, “Proceduralism, Predisposing, Poesis: Forms of Institutionality, In the Making,” published in Lateral 5.1. Aho pointedly argues that studies of institutionality all too often substantiate what she calls neoliberalocentrism, which readily posits neoliberalism as the singular paradigm into narrating a teleological development of history. Instead, she echoes Kim and Schalk to articulate ‘crip-of-color materialism’ as an analytic that thickens understandings about global structures of inequity and fissures within them.
Sean Johnson Andrews has produced an engaging text of multifaceted value. His work, particularly the opening chapters, provides a concise history of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS), the (early) Frankfurt School Critical Theory, and the Political Economy of Communication (PEC). Although the histories and notable figureheads of these schools will be broadly familiar to most scholars working in the realm of cultural studies, these opening chapters would be an excellent introduction to the field for either a general readership or students. Indeed, this would make a good textbook in many contexts.
Review of Hegemony, Mass Media, and Cultural Studies: Properties of Meaning, Power, and Value in Cultural Production by Sean Johnson Andrews (Rowman & Littlefield)
André Carrington’s ‘Speculative Blackness’ is a novel approach to the consumption of race representation in media. Carrington explores how Blackness is manufactured, consumed, and transformed through the speculative fiction genre across multiple 20th and 21st century mediums. Traditional media of comic books and television shows reveal the marginalized status of Black figures however, these media do not exist in a vacuum. The consumption of speculative fiction is a transformative process for the original content, which consequentially produces amateur media due to a long-established history of fan interaction. Black representation is characterized as the exception, not the rule, in traditional production, but fan consumption reconfigures these notions. Ultimately, Carrington’s work is an innovative dialogue regarding a genre that creates worlds speculating on what could be. Speculative fiction breaks down preexisting notions of our reality and creates worlds with entirely new expectations and interactions. With the creative liberty of the genre, Carrington casts Black representation as a consumed media but also an imaginative effort.
Review of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction by André M. Carrington (University of Minnesota Press)
“Dispossession: The Performative in the Political” is an interdisciplinary cultural text published from the conversations between Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou. “Dispossession” brings the reader to key questions within philosophical inquiry including: What does it mean to be human? Which bodies are vulnerable as a result of normalizing regimes? How does precarity shift over time? What does occupation mean in regards to discipline and resistance? Which bodies are allowed to have a place and what does demanding a place do to dislocated bodies? Can non-normative people be recognized by the state without incorporation to propriety politics? How is agency complicated by the inter-related nature of life in the everyday?
Review of Dispossession: The Performative in the Political by Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou (Polity)
Stephanie N Berberick
David Joselit’s slim volume “After Art” offers multiple intriguing frameworks to analyze art in the present-day globalized art world. After Art backs away from the traditional approach of artist intent and production and looks at what happens to images once they are attached to the networks that circulate them. Instead of proselytizing individual or even original artworks, Joselit champions images that are constantly reproduced and remediated by artists and architects such as Tania Bruguera, Ai Weiwei, Sherrie Levine, Matthew Barney, Le Corbusier, and Rem Koolhaus.
With this book, Stefan Gandler has made important contributions to the study of Marxism and critical social theory in Mexico. Regarding the first contribution, this book expands the theoretical tools and insights within the canon of Marxist thought. It does this by exposing American and European Marxists to two very important thinkers who have not yet been given much attention by Marxists outside of the Latin American context. The second contribution lies in Gandler’s exegetical work on the texts of these two thinkers, Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolívar Echeverría.
Review of Critical Marxism in Mexico: Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez and Bolivar Echeverría by Stefan Gandler (Haymarket)
Arnold L Farr
As Ivan Ascher shows in his book “Portfolio Society,” since the mid-twentieth century capitalism’s developed world has found itself increasingly dependent on a system of money in itself as determinant of value—a system of credit and debt, of perceived risks and predictions.