New Books in Critical Theory

Interviews with Scholars of Critical Theory about their New Books



      Claudio Sopranzetti, “Owners of the Map: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility and Politics in Bangkok” (U California Press, 2017)

      When the army brutally dispersed Red Shirts protestors in Bangkok’s busy commercial district in May 2010, motorcycle taxi drivers emerged as a key force, capable of playing cat-and-mouse with security forces, evading military checkpoints, and rescuing protestors and their leaders once the army attacked them. Motorcycle taxis are ubiquitous across the developing world. Dexterously weaving in and out of dense urban conurbations, they transport people, commodities and news through peak...



      Jon Kraszewski, “Reality TV” (Routledge, 2017)

      In his book Reality TV (Routledge, 2017), author Jon Kraszewski explores reality television’s relationship to the American cityscape. Starting with show such as Candid Camera and An American Family, Kraszewski positions reality television in cities where individuals were able to thrive regardless of social class. In this space, early reality television created a laboratory for individuals. Moving to the early 1990s and beyond, Kraszewski challenges the ways in which reality television...



      Marshall Poe, “How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History” (Zero Books, 2018)

      What is the history of a “history book”? In How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History Of History (Zero Books, 2018), Marshall Poe, founder and Editor-In-Chief of the New Books Network, tells the story of why and how we have the “history books” we have. The book uses the literary device of “Elizabeth Ranke,” an ideal type of the modern academic historian, to show how academic disciplines, the structure of college and careers, the tensions between...



      Christopher J. Lee, “Jet Lag” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

      My father has this personality quirk that drives me crazy. Whenever and wherever he travels, no matter how far, he refuses to reset his watch to the local time. For him, it’s always whatever time it is in Cincinnati, Ohio, even if all the clocks around him flash the fact that it isn’t, even if he’s taking my mother, for example, on their once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation to Hawaii and the sun is setting in perfect postcard colors. “No wonder I’m sleepy,”...



      Nicholas Hengen Fox, “Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics” (U Iowa Press, 2017)

      How can reading change the world? In Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Nicholas Hengen Fox, who teaches literature, writing and social justice courses at Portland Community College, explores how literature can make a public impact. A timely book that speaks directly to our current political moment, Reading as Collective Action calls for a move beyond the text in itself to understand how texts are used to imagine and create another world. The...



      Franklin Obeng-Odoom, “Reconstructing Urban Economics: Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment” (Zed Books, 2016)

      In this interview, Carlo D’Ippoliti and Andrea Bernardi interview Franklin Obeng-Odoom who teaches urban economics and political economy in the School of Built Environment at the University of Technology, Sydney. In 2016, Dr Obeng-Odoom won the Patrick Welch Prize awarded by the Association for Social Economics. He also won the EAEPE-Kapp Prize 2017 for “Marketising the commons in Africa: the case of Ghana” Review of Social Economy 74 (4), 390-419. He has recently published...



      Alison Gerber, “The Work of Art: Value in Creative Careers” (Stanford UP, 2017)

      Is making art a job? This question is central to The Work of Art: Value in Creative Careers (Stanford University Press, 2017), the new book by Alison Gerber, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at Lund University. The book explores the working lives of artists by thinking through the idea of value in their work. At the heart of this exploration are four accounts of being an artist; four accounts of value; and four accounts of the occupation. These four...



      Ella Shohat, “On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and Other Displacements” (Pluto Press, 2017)

      Spanning several decades, the work of Ella Shohat, a Professor of Cultural Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University, has introduced conceptual frameworks that fundamentally challenged conventional understandings of Israel, Palestine, Zionism and the Middle East. On the Arab-Jew, Palestine, and Other Displacements (Pluto Press, 2017) gathers together her most influential political essays, interviews, speeches, testimonies and memoirs, as well as previously unpublished...



      Malcolm Harris, “Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials” (Little, Brown and Co, 2017)

      Every young generation inspires a host of comparisons—usually negative ones—with older generations. Whether preceding a criticism or punctuating one, “kids these days” is a common utterance. Perhaps because of the ubiquity of the internet and their heavy presence on it, Millennials have been the most parsed and monitored generation as its members are still in the process of coming of age in history. Stereotypes abound in the media and popular culture: Millennials are...



      Alfie Bown, “The Playstation Dreamworld” (Polity, 2017)

      How can Lacan help us to understand the subversive potential of video games? In The Playstation Dreamworld (Polity, 2017), Alfie Bown, Assistant Professor of Literature at HSMC, Hong Kong, explores this and many other questions of the modern condition. The book offers an accessible overview of key psychoanalytic theories to understand the video game, in particular the video game experience and its impact on the social world. The book uses a plethora of gaming examples, drawing out the...