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Punctum Newsletter for Winter 2023

Published onJan 18, 2023
Punctum Newsletter for Winter 2023
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Reviews, Interviews, and Prizes

Jonathan Alexander’s book Bullied: The Story of an Abuse awarded a Gold Medal IPPY Award (Independent Publisher Book Awards), for LGBTQ+ non-fiction

Tom Lutz (author of Aimlessness and Born Silly) writes:

Jonathan Alexander has always been a provocative, scintillating writer, but with Bullied he has joined the ranks of our finest essayists. More than an examination of bullying and its dynamics, it is part memoir, part auto-analysis, part theoretical exploration, part jeremiad, and part ecstasis—a book that brilliantly examines desire, trauma, hate, longing, and the necessity and the impossibility of fully understanding our overdetermined, overwhelming, overstuffed, always underarticulated individual stories as they are structured and restructured by systems of power, violence, oppression, and, finally, resistance.

M. Sellers Johnson reviews Meis and Tyree’s book Wonder, Horror, Mystery: Letters on Cinema and Religion in Malick, Von Trier, and Kieślowski in New Review of Film and Television Studies

Born out of intimate conversations amidst the early days of the pandemic, this book details shared dialogues between authors Morgan Meis and J.M. Tyree as they foster a sense of community through engagement and correspondence, in a world upended by physical seclusion and uncertainty. These two scholars and dear friends exchanged letters between late 2019 and late summer of 2020, and thus, their writings were manifested during the acute, early months of the COVID-19 quarantine. This type of personal report is the lifeblood of art engagement.

Read the review here!

Craig Dworkin discusses his book Helicography in “The Virtual Library and the Resistance of Material”

As part of the lecture series “Virtually Here, Virtually So,” curated by Daniel Dominguez (Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University).

Watch the video here!

Punctum Co-Director Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei organizes the OASPA Webinar “Shadow Libraries and Access to Knowledge”

Large segments of the scholarly literature, both from backlist catalogs and new publications, continue to be only accessible behind paywalls. This poses a challenge to those scholars not affiliated with well-funded research institutions, in particular in the Global South, exacerbating extant inequities. As a result, an ecosystem of so-called “shadow” or “pirate” libraries has evolved, developing different strategies to make closed content accessible to a wide scholarly public, but they are also highly controversial and considered “illegal” by many academic publishers, some of whom also aggressively sue their librarians.

Watch the OASPA webinar, “Shadow Libraries and Access to Knowledge,” organized by punctum co-director Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, and featuring panelists Arul George Scaria (National Law University Delhi), Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck), Marcell Mars (Memory of the World, Pirate Care), and Balász Bodó (University of Amsterdam).

Follow punctum author Adrian Ivakhiv’s (Shadowing the Anthropocene: Ecorealism for Turbulent Times) blog UKR-TAZ (A Ukrainian Temporary Autonomous Zone)

Ivakhiv’s blog provides ongoing analytical perspectives on the war in Ukraine, infused by the ideals of radical democratic possibility, both in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Check out the blog here!

Alice Pember reviews Anna Backman Rogers’ Still Life: Notes on Barbara Loden’s ‘Wanda’ (1970) in Open Screens Review

The care and attentiveness which Backman Rogers affords [Barbara] Loden’s film constructs a rare, in-depth examination of the formal politics of a woman-authored film, granting this book a place alongside other similar works of close analysis, including Raymond Durgnat’s examination of Psycho (1960) …. Backman Rogers’ claim that Wanda is “the film of our contemporary moment” is certainly justified by this exemplary work of close analysis.

Read the review here!

Matthew J. Jones curates HIV Country Song Playlist

Matthew J. Jones, author of Love Don’t Need a Reason: The Life & Music of Michael Callen, and an expert on how HIV has been handled in popular music across all genres has created a list of country and country-adjacent songs that deal with the topic, “At the Corner of Country and HIV.”

Nicole Walker responds to the Supreme Court’s Abortion Ban in The New York Times

Read punctum author (Where the Tiny Things Are: Feathered Essays) Nicole Walker’s heartbreaking essay in The New York Times, “My Abortion at 11 Wasn’t a Choice. It Was My Life,” in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Robert Thornton-Lee reviews Anon Collective’s Book of Anonymity in Surveillance & Society.

Book of Anonymity must be viewed as an outstanding and unique contribution to the study of anonymity that advances our technological, social, political, and cultural understanding of anonymity and the ways in which it is championed, marginalised, cajoled, and experienced in everyday life.

Read the review here!

Sasha Lleshaj reviews Armando Lulaj and Marco Mazzi’s Broken Narrative: The Politics of Contemporary Art in Albania in ArtMargins

Broken Narrative delivers what it proposes as a fundamental responsibility of the artistic community: “to sum up the present” – a kind of meta-representation of the times we are living, conceived from a space of plurality.

Read the review here!

Naomi Ortiz (Rituals for Climate Change: A Crip Struggle for Ecojustice), a fellow in the Mellon and Ford Foundations’ Disability Futures Fellows program, speaks about ecojustice and self-care in an interview with Melissa Harris-Perry on WNYC’s The Takeaway

As a disabled person, I often think about ecojustice as justice that is reflective of equity versus equality, where resources are divvied up based on need. Ecojustice to me is how we can live and balance the best we can and honor the fact that we have different needs.

Listen to the interview here!

James Reich (Wilhelm Reich versus the Flying Saucers, forthcoming) interviews Laurence Rickels (Critique of Fantasy, 3 vols.) on The Ecological Uncanny

Adolescence is an experiment that must fail in one’s own lifetime – which is why we enter adulthood and opt for various kinds of staying power over prematurity. We could remain teens forever without the failure in our faces only if technology replaced aging with cloning, reproduction with replication, and wisdom with time travel.

Read “Interview with the Vampire Lecturer” here!

Adam Evens reviews Alan Sondheim’s Broken Theory in the Electronic Book Review

This is not a cosmic joke, it doesn’t fuck with the reader: Sondheim means every word (and group of characters and string of typographic symbols) from the bottom of his soul, an impressive feat in itself, for how does one mean a semicolon?

Read the review here!

Adeline Koh and Dorothy Kim’s edited collection Alternative Historiographies of the Digital Humanities awarded the 2022 Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities from the American Studies Association.

New Releases

M.H. Bowker, The Angels Won’t Help You

Leora Fridman, Static Palace

Stephanie Polsky, The Dark Posthuman: Dehumanization, Technology, and the Atlantic World

Forthcoming

Max Yeshaye Brumberg-Kraus, The(y)ology: Mythopoetics for Queer/Trans Liberation

Yasmine Musharbash & Ilana Gershon (eds.), Living with Monsters: Ethnographic Fiction about Real Monsters

Roland Barthes, all except you

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