Hokum!, the first book to take a comprehensive view of short-subject slapstick comedy in the early sound era, challenges the received wisdom that sound destroyed the slapstick tradition. Author Rob King explores the slapstick short’s Depression-era development against a backdrop of changes in film industry practice, comedic tastes, and moviegoing culture. Each chapter is grounded in case studies of comedians and comic teams, including the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Robert Benchley. The book also examines how the past legacy of silent-era slapstick was subsequently reimagined as part of a nostalgic mythology of Hollywood’s youth.
“A valuable contribution to historiography in its ability to fill a hole in contemporary film history, increasing our understanding of both the (perceived) narrowed place of the comedy film short in the 1930s and the production and reception of slapstick comedy during that era.” KATHRYN FULLER-SEELEY, Professor of Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas at Austin
“With solid research, jewel-like prose, and plenty of wry humor, Rob King convincingly busts the myths and chases away the nostalgia for silent film comedy. Instead, we leave with a lasting sense of the form’s persistent cultural relevance.” DONALD CRAFTON, author of Shadow of a Mouse
“Hokum! moves deftly through questions of performance, aesthetics, technology, political economy, trade practices, and popular reception to convincingly unseat deeply entrenched understandings of the transition to sound and its impact on the history of screen comedy. This book is some of the smartest film history being written today.” MARK LYNN ANDERSON, author of Twilight of the Idols
ROB KING is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and author of the award-winning The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture.
Archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem capture worldwide attention in various media outlets. The continuing quest to discover the city’s physical remains is not simply an attempt to define Israel’s past or determine its historical legacy. In the context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is also an attempt to legitimate—or undercut—national claims to sovereignty. Bridging the ever-widening gap between popular coverage and specialized literature, Finding Jerusalem provides a comprehensive tour of the politics of archaeology in the city. Through a wide-ranging discussion of the material evidence, Katharina Galor illuminates the complex legal contexts and ethical precepts that underlie archaeological activity and the discourse of “cultural heritage” in Jerusalem. This book addresses the pressing need to disentangle historical documentation from the religious aspirations, social ambitions, and political commitments that shape its interpretation.
“A brilliant book on the contested historical roles of archaeology in modern Jerusalem, a city torn by religious, ideological, and political conflicts. This is a must-read for both scholars and laymen interested in the fascinating, tormented history of the Holy City.” YARON EZRAHI, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“In a work made possible by her remarkable ability to move between Israeli and Palestinian perspectives, Galor uncovers the political dimensions of archaeology as practiced in Jerusalem, bringing to bear her expertise as an archaeologist and an intimate knowledge of the city and its history.” STEVEN WEITZMAN, Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures and Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania
KATHARINA GALOR teaches Judaic Studies and Urban Studies at Brown University. She is the coauthor of The Archaeology of Jerusalem: From the Origins to the Ottomans.
The study of South Asian music falls under the purview of ethnomusicology, whereas that of South Asian literature falls under South Asian studies. As a consequence of this academic separation, scholars rarely take notice of connections between South Asian song and poetry. Modernizing Composition overcomes this disciplinary fragmentation by examining the history of Sinhala-language song and poetry in twentieth-century Sri Lanka. Garrett Field describes how songwriters and poets modernized song and poetry in response to colonial and postcolonial formations. The story of this modernization is significant in that it shifts focus from India’s relationship to the West to little-studied connections between Sri Lanka and North India.
“Takes an innovative approach toward studying modern Sinhala songs as literary works in their own right. Garrett Field’s delightful translations and insightful analysis serve to make these little-studied works into a fascinating lens for viewing significant political and cultural changes in modern South Asia.” STEPHEN C. BERKWITZ, author of Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka
“Garrett Field’s attention to poetics makes this book critical for understanding the larger literary culture of the region. His account of Sri Lankan modern song composers operating in relation to the dominant forces of Indian classical and film musics makes it a must-read for ethnomusicologists.” RICHARD K. WOLF, author of The Voice in the Drum: Music, Language and Emotion in Islamicate South Asia
“Masterfully demonstrates how the intertwined histories of Sinhala musical and poetic efforts developed in relation to the political dynamics of Sri Lanka in the early and mid-twentieth century.” AMANDA WEIDMAN, author of Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India
GARRETT FIELD is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and the School of Music at Ohio University.
Motion pictures are made, not mass produced, requiring a remarkable collection of skills, self-discipline, and sociality—all of which are sources of enormous pride among Hollywood’s craft and creative workers. The interviews collected here showcase the pleasures that attract people to careers in film and television. They also reflect critically on changes in the workplace brought about by corporate conglomeration and globalization. Rather than offer publicity-friendly anecdotes by marquee celebrities, Voices of Labor presents off-screen observations about the everyday realities of Global Hollywood. Ranging across job categories—from showrunner to make-up artist to location manager—this collection features voices of labor from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Prague, and Vancouver. Together they show how abstract concepts like conglomeration, financialization, and globalization are crucial tools for understanding contemporary Hollywood and for reflecting more generally on changes and challenges in the screen media workplace and our culture at large.
“Essential reading for anyone interested in how Hollywood actually works.” RAMON LOBATO, author of Shadow Economies of Cinema
“Michael Curtin and Kevin Sanson craft a powerful elegy for organized labor, demonstrating how critical theory is sung to the everyday rhythms of the workplace.” VICKI MAYER, author of Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans: The Lure of the Local Film Economy
“A star-studded cast with diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives tells a varied but consistent tale of the importance of organized labor and the challenges it faces when pitted against the forces of media consolidation and globalization, all set in that magical company town known as Hollywood.” PATRIC M. VERRONE, writer and producer, former president, Writers Guild of America, West
MICHAEL CURTIN is Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Professor of Film and Media Studies and director of the Global Dynamics Initiative at University of California, Santa Barbara. KEVIN SANSON is a senior lecturer in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology and managing editor of Media Industries.
In Hindu Pluralism, Elaine M. Fisher complicates the traditional scholarly narrative of the unification of Hinduism. By calling into question the colonial categories implicit in the term “sectarianism,” Fisher’s work excavates the pluralistic textures of precolonial Hinduism in the centuries prior to British intervention. Drawing on previously unpublished sources in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu, Fisher argues that the performance of plural religious identities in public space in Indian early modernity paved the way for the emergence of a distinctively non-Western form of religious pluralism. This work provides a critical resource for understanding how Hinduism developed in the early modern period, a crucial era that set the tenor for religion’s role in public life in India through the present day.
“A detailed, insightful, and original perspective on a significant and understudied period. It engages intelligently with current discussions of early modern Indian intellectual and religious history, while calling into question key elements of the existing picture of the period among specialists in the field.” LAWRENCE McCREA, Cornell University
“Fisher works at both a micro and macro level to read the intricacies of Smarta Saivism against the broader backdrop of evolving definitions of Hinduism. Her counterintuitive thesis is that sectarianism is not so much a breakup of a preexisting unity but rather an aggregation of discrete religions.” GAURI VISWANATHAN, Columbia University
“Fisher’s work is critical now more than ever in helping us to understand what Hinduism is and how it began to be that way, not in misty antiquity but in early modernity.”ROBERT P. GOLDMAN, University of California at Berkeley
ELAINE M. FISHER is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University.
Early in the twenty-first century, Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the United States, redirected millions in tax dollars from the public coffers in an effort to become the top location site globally for the production of Hollywood films and television series. Why would lawmakers support such a policy? Why would citizens accept the policy’s uncomfortable effects on their economy and culture? Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans addresses these questions through a study of the local and everyday experiences of the film economy in New Orleans, Louisiana—a city that has twice taken the mantle of becoming a movie production capital. From the silent era to today’s Hollywood South, Vicki Mayer explains that the aura of a film economy is inseparable from a prevailing sense of home, even as it changes that place irrevocably.
“A scathing critique of the economic realities and broken promises of Hollywood South, told in rich ethnographic detail and passionately argued through Vicki Mayer’s deep connection to New Orleans. This is a vital book.” NITIN GOVIL, author of Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture between Los Angeles and Bombay
“Mayer guides readers through the numbers and arguments behind Louisiana’s costly love affair with the film industry and raises important questions over whether the state’s citizens are getting their money’s worth.” STEPHANIE GRACE, columnist, The New Orleans Advocate
“A visionary in the study of cultural labor, economy, and geography, Mayer is that rare writer who combines exquisite storytelling with rigorous scholarship. This is an essential contribution to film and media studies, and an urgent history lesson for policy makers.” MELISSA GREGG, author of Work’s Intimacy
VICKI MAYER is Professor of Communication at Tulane University. She is coeditor of the journal Television & New Media and author or editor of several books and journal articles about media production, creative industries, and cultural work.
This book provides the first overview of the history and development of Islam in Afghanistan. Written by leading international experts, chapters cover every era from the conversion of Afghanistan through the medieval period to the present day. Based on primary sources in Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Uzbek, and Urdu, its depth of coverage is unrivalled in providing a developmental picture of Afghanistan’s Islam, including such issues as the rise of Sufism, women’s religiosity, state religious policies, and transnational Islamism. Looking beyond the unifying rhetoric of theology, the book reveals the disparate and contested forms of Afghanistan’s Islam.
“Islam in Afghanistan has long been viewed as static and uniform, but this fine collection demonstrates that it has been far more contested and dynamic over the centuries than either Afghans or outside observers have realized. This book opens a door to that history to reveal a religious tradition that has constantly adapted itself to changing intellectual currents, local cultural beliefs, and political upheavals.” THOMAS BARFIELD, Boston University
“A pathbreaking book that challenges us to think in new and more sophisticated ways about Islam in Afghanistan, in the past as well as in the present. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to go beyond stereotyped images of a monolithic and timeless Islam in Afghanistan and in other Muslim societies.” ROBERT D. CREWS, Stanford University
NILE GREEN is Professor of South Asian and Islamic History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Sufism: A Global History and Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam.
A Vietnamese Moses is the story of Philiphê Bình, a Vietnamese Catholic priest who in 1796 traveled from Tonkin to the Portuguese court in Lisbon to persuade its ruler to appoint a bishop for his community of ex-Jesuits. Based on Bình’s surviving writings from his thirty-seven-year exile in Portugal, this book examines how the intersections of global and local Roman Catholic geographies shaped the lives of Vietnamese Christians in the early modern era. The book also argues that Bình’s mission to Portugal and his intense lobbying on behalf of his community reflected the agency of Vietnamese Catholics, who vigorously engaged with church politics in defense of their distinctive Portuguese-Catholic heritage. George E. Dutton demonstrates the ways in which Catholic beliefs, histories, and genealogies transformed how Vietnamese thought about themselves and their place in the world. This sophisticated exploration of Vietnamese engagement with both the Catholic Church and Napoleonic Europe provides a unique perspective on the complex history of early Vietnamese Christianity.
“Makes a significant contribution to a growing body of international research that brings Asian Christianity into the global domain.” BARBARA WATSON ANDAYA, coauthor of A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia, 1400–1830
“Like the life this book traces, A Vietnamese Moses crosses borders and genres. A remarkable achievement.” CHARLES KEITH, author of Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation
GEORGE E. DUTTON is Professor of Vietnamese History in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
How do keyboards make music playable? Drawing on theories of media, systems, and cultural techniques, Keys to Play spans Greek myth and contemporary Japanese digital games to chart a genealogy of musical play and its animation via improvisation, performance, and recreation. As a paradigmatic digital interface, the keyboard forms a field of play on which the book’s diverse objects of inquiry—from clavichords to PCs and eighteenth-century musical dice games to the latest rhythm-action titles—enter into analogical relations. Remapping the keyboard’s topography by way of Mozart and Super Mario, who head an expansive cast of historical and virtual actors, Keys to Play invites readers to unlock ludic dimensions of music that are at once old and new.
“Keys to Play is full of novel ideas, provocative observations, and brilliant aperçus. Whether our interests lie in audiovisual media, aesthetics, performance, improvisation, compositional technique, notation, theory, or historiography, Moseley shows us how much the field at large has to gain from taking play seriously. In a word: stunning.” ALEXANDER REHDING, Harvard University
“Moseley’s game-changing book puts a new and versatile set of tools at our disposal. Wonderfully allusive and erudite, Keys to Play will open new horizons for music scholars of all kinds.” ELISABETH LE GUIN, University of California, Los Angeles“
A dazzling and daring book: an intellectual symphony, a virtuosic boss run, a vigorous expedition in media-musical archaeology, and an exquisite love letter to the vitality of interdisciplinary play.” WILLIAM CHENG, author of Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination
“Keys to Play offers a new approach to central episodes in the narrative of European art music refracted through histories of the keyboard, digital games, and improvisation. It is at once provocative, bracing and, yes, profoundly playful.” BENJAMIN WALTON, University of Cambridge
ROGER MOSELEY is Assistant Professor of Music at Cornell University.
Los Angeles rose to significance in the first half of the twentieth century by way of its complex relationship to three rivers: the Los Angeles, the Owens, and the Colorado. The remarkable urban and suburban trajectory of southern California since then cannot be fully understood without reference to the ways in which each of these three river systems came to be connected to the future of the metropolitan region. This history of growth must be understood in full consideration of all three rivers and the challenges and opportunities they presented to those who would come to make Los Angeles a global power. Full of primary sources and original documents, Water and Los Angeles will be of interest to both students of Los Angeles and general readers interested in the origins of the city.
“This is an invaluable new source book by two preeminent authorities on Los Angeles history.” STEVEN P. ERIE, University of California, San Diego
“Energized by a conviction of geography as destiny, this innovative docudrama of primary sources reveals the process whereby the Colorado River system propelled the urbanization of the American West. Water and Los Angeles constitutes a breakthrough fusion of environmental, engineering, urban, and political perspectives.” KEVIN STARR, University of Southern California
“This book offers an accessible, readable account of the importance of rivers to the development of modern Los Angeles.” SARAH SCHRANK, Professor of History, California State University, Long Beach
“Through a history of Los Angeles and the three rivers that helped to create it, this volume crosses several areas of scholarship to create an original and valuable contribution to research and teaching.” NICOLAS G. ROSENTHAL, author of Reimagining Indian Country: Native American Migration and Identity in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles
WILLIAM DEVERELL is Professor of History at the University of California and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. TOM SITTON is a curator emeritus of history from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Together, they are authors of California Progressive Revisited and Metropolis in the Making.
In the United States, the exercise of police authority—and the public’s trust that police authority is used properly—is a recurring concern. Contemporary prescriptions for police reform hold that the public would trust the police more and feel a greater obligation to comply and cooperate if police-citizen interactions were marked by higher levels of procedural justice by police. In this book, Robert E. Worden and Sarah J. McLean argue that the procedural justice model of reform is a mirage. From a distance, procedural justice seems to offer relief from strained police-community relations. But a closer look at police organizations and police-citizen interactions shows that the relief offered by such reform is, in fact, illusory. A procedural justice model of policing is likely to be only loosely coupled with police practice, despite the best intentions, and improvements in procedural justice on the part of police are unlikely to result in corresponding improvements in citizens’ perceptions of procedural justice.
In 2005, Bolivians elected their first indigenous president, Evo Morales. Ushering in a new “democratic cultural revolution,” Morales promised to overturn neoliberalism and inaugurate a new decolonized society. In this perceptive new book, Nancy Postero examines the successes and failures that have followed in the ten years since Morales’s election. While the Morales government has made many changes that have benefited Bolivia’s majority indigenous population, it has also consolidated power and reinforced extractivist development models. In the process, indigeneity has been transformed from a site of emancipatory politics to a site of liberal nation-state building. By carefully tracing the political origins and practices of decolonization among activists, government administrators, and ordinary citizens, Postero makes an important contribution to our understanding of the meaning and impact of Bolivia’s indigenous state.