Category Archives: books

November 12, 2012, 1:37 pm

Publishing Rocks, Doesn’t It?

If Marx were alive, I know he would publish in Renee Romano & my series at the University of Georgia Press

In honor of University Press Week, your very own Tenured Radical represents the University of Georgia Press with “Small is Better: Why University Presses Are Sustainable Presses.”

For the complete schedule of the University Press Blog Tour, go here.

Enjoy.

September 3, 2012, 10:51 am

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

These are the legendary last words of Joe Hill — except that they weren’t his last words. According to Peter Carlson’s Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood (New York: W.W. Norton: 1983) this catchy phrase was rewritten from a telegram sent to Haywood in 1915 as Hill awaited execution on trumped up charges in a Utah jail. What Joe really wrote was:

“Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”

But Joe Hill had many more last words. They included a subsequent telegram to Haywood which read:

“Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.”

Utah is a beautiful state, with some beautiful people in it, but here we are almost a century later and I have got to agree. I don’t want to be found dead in Utah either. If you’ve got to bury me, bury me in a Blue state…

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September 2, 2012, 2:51 pm

The Indispensable Alexander Saxton

Alexander Saxton, 1919=2012Perhaps because editors thought it would be appropriate to print a full obituary on Labor Day weekend, I only became aware today that historian, laborer, novelist and activist Alexander Saxton passed over on August 20. He was 93, and “died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound” because, as daughter Catherine Steele wrote, Saxton believed that “the terms of his life were his to decide.”

Read Paul Vitello’s story about Saxton here.

Like fellow historian David Montgomery, Saxton became a scholar when McCarthyism ended his career as a novelist and a labor organizer. He was one of the first historians to think seriously about how racial whiteness coalesced as an identity for European-descended working-class men in California; and how the demonization of immigrants from the Asian diaspora by nativist elites served the politics of capitalism in the Western United States.

I read Saxton’s 

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July 26, 2012, 3:44 pm

Citizen Radical: Or, My Life As An Editor

“…..Rose…bud……”

My recent post about icky academic theory-speak stirred the writing pot big time. It prompted a vigorous on-line debate about my unwillingness to name the author/book that triggered my eruption about the unreadability of some theory. My argument that many books would do a better job of illuminating the subject at hand if they were freed from jargon and grammatical circumlocution received less attention.

I am interested in this question because I write, but also because I edit academic book projects and try to take them from good to great, great to fabulous. I meet them at the proposal stage and live with them until they are handed off to the author’s best friend, the copyeditor.

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July 20, 2012, 4:27 pm

Do We Need To Write and Publish So Much Theory?

In addition to novels, I always bring a stack of scholarly books on our annual summer vacation. I bring books in my field, books not in my field, books in fields I might be ready to explore, books I might like to teach and books that I read so that I will be a better blogger.

I also bring books on vacation that are too long, or too complex, for me to be able to read in a sustained way when life is full of distraction and interruption. Sustained reading means finishing a difficult or lengthy book in a reasonable number of sittings — between one and three, or few enough to allow me to hold the parts of the argument in my head as I move toward the end.

It is in this spirit that I reached for a recently published book of theory — in my field, I was thinking of teaching it — and was disappointed within the first ten pages.  I’m not sure that it was fair for me to be disappointed,…

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May 23, 2012, 4:38 pm

BDSM and Feminism: Notes on an Impasse

Today’s guest blogger is Margot D. Weiss, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT. She is the author of 2012 Lambda Award finalist Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke, 2011.)

Last month, Newsweek published a cover story by Katie Roiphe with the headline “The Fantasy Life of Working Women: Why Surrender is a Feminist Dream.” The story purports to account for the run-away success of domination/submission narratives, taking E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey as a case in point. James’s book – the first in a trilogy of erotic novels – is Twilight fan fiction turned New York Times bestseller with movie rights. Banned in several public libraries, it’s a tale of the “dark desires” sparked by the romance between college student Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey. The book is a…

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May 2, 2012, 11:28 am

Meet the Radical: Book Event for Doing Recent History

You are sleepy...you are sleepy...you are sleepy....you want to buy this book.....

Thursday, May 3, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
The New School, 66 West 12th Street, room 510, NYC

Come one, come all, to meet Tenured Radical, with history friends David Rosner (Columbia), David Greenberg (Rutgers), and Gail Drakes (NYU) at the New School for Public Engagement tomorrow evening.  Got a recent history manuscript you are shilling? Unfortunately, my co-editor Renee Romano will not be there, however Derek Krissoff, our editor from the University of Georgia Press, will be in the house.

And if you haven’t got your copy of the book yet, it will be for sale on site.  Description below the jump: (more…)

March 19, 2012, 7:29 pm

Yes Virginia, I Really Publish On Paper Too

Today my editor wrote to say that he was actually holding our new book in his hand! It was the hardback edition, which I think is worth your eyeteeth to own if you are not on a library acquisitions budget.  Soon, however, the University of Georgia Press will be rolling out and shipping copies of Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back for the mean, lean paperback price of $22.95.  Reserve yours by clicking the link above; by going to Powell’s (where you can see the whole table of contents and register to win free books by commenting on ours); or Amazon (where you save no money, get no table of contents, but may qualify for free shipping.)

Better yet, why don’t you mosey into your local independent and/or university bookstore and say, “YO! Where’s that book edited by Potter and Romano…

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January 25, 2012, 4:52 pm

Slouching Toward Joan Didion

I know that, as a feminist, I am not supposed to like Caitlin Flanagan because she has made gender essentialism fashionable again.  But honestly?  I don’t think this makes her a bad person.  She is an intellectual who has a keen eye for the role the gender binary plays in our culture, and then — her flaw is that sometimes she stops there when she should push a little harder.    When she does go for the take down, she is ruthless in ways I appreciate and admire.

I first encountered Flanagan (before I knew I wasn’t supposed to like her) when she published “The Price of Paradise” in The New Yorker (January 3 2005).  This is a priceless piece about the horrors of resort-style family vacations designed for couples who have little children. It’s an article that (more…)

November 15, 2011, 3:47 pm

Rejoining the Parts: A Conversation with Jane Lazarre About Race, Fiction, American History and Her New Novel, Inheritance

Jane Lazarre is a writer of fiction, memoir and poetry who has published many books, beginning with her memoir, The Mother Knot (1976; reissued in 1997 by Duke University Press) and most recently, Inheritance, A Novel (Hamilton Stone Editions, 2011). She has taught writing and literature at New York’s City College and at Yale University; and for many years directed and taught in the undergraduate writing program at Eugene Lang College at the New School.

Tenured Radical: The title of the book — Inheritance — asks the reader to think about what is passed down, generation to generation.  But in the first chapter we are confronted with Sam’s frustration and anger that, as a young woman with a white and a black parent, she knows so little of her family history. We come to understand that our historical “inheritance” not only can’t be taken for granted and but also sometimes requires a…

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