New and Forthcoming Publications

Climate Change, Interrupted
Representation and the Remaking of Time

Stanford University Press, 2022

Barbara Leckie

In this moment of climate precarity, Victorian studies scholar Barbara Leckie considers the climate crisis as a problem of time. Spanning the long nineteenth century through our current moment, her interdisciplinary treatment of climate change at once rethinks time and illustrates that the time for climate action is now. Climate Change, Interrupted argues that linear, progress-inflected temporalities are not adequate to a crisis that defies their terms. Instead, this book advances a theory and practice of interruption to rethink prevailing temporal frameworks. At the same time, it models the anachronistic, time-blending, and time-layering temporality it advances. In a series of experimental chapters informed by the unlikely trio of Walter Benjamin, Donna Haraway, and Virginia Woolf, Leckie reinflects and cowrites the traditions and knowledges of the long nineteenth century and the current period in the spirit of climate action collaboration. The current moment demands as many approaches as possible, invites us to take risks, and asks scholars and activists adept at storytelling to participate in the conversation. Climate Change, Interrupted, accordingly, invests in interruption to tell a different story of the climate crisis.

The Origins of the Bible and Early Modern Political Thought

Cambridge University Press, 2021

Travis DeCook

In this book, Travis DeCook explores the theological and political innovations found in early modern accounts of the Bible’s origins. In the charged climate produced by the Reformation and humanist historicism, writers grappled with the tension between the Bible’s divine and human aspects, and they produced innovative narratives regarding the agencies and processes through which the Bible came into existence and was transmitted. DeCook investigates how these accounts of Scripture’s production were taken up beyond the expected boundaries of biblical study, and were redeployed as the theological basis for wide-reaching arguments about the proper ordering of human life. DeCook provides a new, critical perspective on ideas regarding secularity, secularization, and modernity, challenging the dominant narratives regarding the Bible’s role in these processes. He shows how these engagements with the Bible’s origins prompt a rethinking of formulations of secularity and secularization in our own time.

The Humanities in a Utilitarian Age: Imagining What We Know, 1800-1850

Palgrave Macmillan, 2020

Paul Keen

This book explores the ways that critics writing in the early nineteenth century developed arguments in favour of the humanities in the face of utilitarian pressures. Its focus reflects the ways that similar pressures today have renewed the question of how to make the case for the public value of the humanities. The good news is that in many ways, this self-reflexive challenge is precisely what the humanities have always done best: highlight the nature and the force of the narratives that have helped to define how we understand our society – its various pasts and its possible futures – and to suggest the larger contexts within which these issues must ultimately be situated.

UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary

Stanford University Press, 2019

Sarah Brouillette

A case study of one of the most important global institutions of cultural policy formation, UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary demonstrates the relationship between such policy-making and transformations in the economy. Focusing on UNESCO’s use of books, Sarah Brouillette identifies three phases in the agency’s history and explores the literary and cultural programming of each. In the immediate postwar period, healthy economies made possible the funding of an infrastructure in support of a liberal cosmopolitanism and the spread of capitalist democracy. In the decolonizing 1960s and ’70s, illiteracy and lack of access to literature were lamented as a “book hunger” in the developing world, and reading was touted as a universal humanizing value to argue for a more balanced communications industry and copyright regime. Most recently, literature has become instrumental in city and nation branding that drive tourism and the heritage industry. Today, the agency largely treats high literature as a commercially self-sustaining product for wealthy aging publics, and fundamental policy reform to address the uneven relations that characterize global intellectual property creation is off the table. UNESCO’s literary programming is in this way highly suggestive. A trajectory that might appear to be one of triumphant success—literary tourism and festival programming can be quite lucrative for some people—is also, under a different light, a story of decline.

Caribbean Jewish Crossings

University of Virginia Press, 2019

Sarah Phillips Casteel and Heidi Kaufman, eds.

Caribbean Jewish Crossings is the first essay collection to consider the Caribbean’s relationship to Jewishness through a literary lens. Although Caribbean novelists and poetsregularly incorporate Jewish motifs in their work, scholars have neglected this strain in studies of Caribbean literature. The book takes a pan-Caribbean approach, with chapters addressing the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone, and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. Part I traces the emergence of a Caribbean-Jewish literary culture in Suriname, St. Thomas, Jamaica, and Cuba from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. Part II brings into focus Sephardic and crypto-Jewish motifs in contemporary Caribbean literature, while Part III turns to the question of colonialism and its relationship to Holocaust memory. The volume concludes with the compelling voices of contemporary Caribbean creative writers.

Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019

Jody Mason

Literature, literacy, and citizenship took on new and contested meanings in early twentieth-century Canada, particularly in frontier work camps. In this critical history of the reading camp movement, Jody Mason undertakes the first sustained analysis of the organization that became Frontier College in 1919.Employing an interdisciplinary approach, Home Feelings investigates how the reading camp movement used fiction, poetry, songs, newspapers, magazines, school readers, and English-as-a-second-language and citizenship manuals to encourage ideas of selfhood that were individual and intimate rather than collective. Mason shows that British-Canadian settlers’ desire to define themselves in relation to an expanding non-British immigrant population, as well as a need for immigrant labour, put new pressure on the concept of citizenship in the first decades of the twentieth century. Through the Frontier College, one of the nation’s earliest citizenship education programs emerged, drawing on literature’s potential to nourish “home feelings” as a means of engaging socialist and communist print cultures and the non-British immigrant communities with which these were associated. Shifting the focus away from urban centres and postwar state narratives of citizenship, Home Feelings tracks the importance of reading projects and conceptions of literacy to the emergence of liberal citizenship in Canada prior to the Second World War.

The Bookshelf

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