punctum books

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punctum books is an independent open-access and print-on-demand publisher that fosters radically creative academic work across the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. We have special interests in premodern studies, speculative and object-oriented philosophy, political theory, architecture and design theory, eco- and geo-studies, visual culture studies, and queer/sexuality studies, among other subject areas. We are also interested in fostering experimental modes and genres of academic writing (such as theory-fiction), especially those that take up outmoded forms (such as the breviary, mixtape, florilegium, commentary, miscellany, and the like). We publish monographs (especially shorter-length monographs), edited collections, artbooks, and journals.

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punctum books has an Advisory Board made up of university faculty and independent researchers in the US, UK and Europe, all of whom have established and significant reputations in the fields of medieval studies, Renaissance studies, continental philosophy, visual culture studies, political science, architecture and design, cultural theory, film studies, eco-studies, comparative literature, and European history, among other subject areas. All manuscripts or manuscript proposals received by punctum are first reviewed by 2 members of the Advisory Board, and if deemed worthy of further consideration, are then also sent to 2 experts in the submitted work's subject area(s), Manuscripts are published after they have been thoroughly reviewed and revised in line with reviewers' advice for revision.

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All punctum titles carry a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license; authors may also choose a less restrictive CC license if they so desire.


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ACTION [poems]

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Book Series: Peanut Books ISBN: 9780692335543 Year: Pages: 72 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-16 17:59:40
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ACTION — as in begin, genesis, motion — is a collection of poems ultimately concerned with form, those lines drawn in the sand that give way to the profanity of the holy, the holiness of the profane. Throughout ACTION, Opal engages the constraints inherent to seemingly fixed forms. From living with rheumatoid arthritis, to feeling for the edges of a sonnet tradition, to wrestling with the tenets of historical theology, this collection demonstrates that the only way to honestly submit to a form is to rage against it. However, to assume that this rage is not a kind of explosive joy—a Barthesian jouissance—would be to miss the point of poems that Dean Young has described as “radiant affirmations of life and art.”

After the "Speculative Turn": Realism, Philosophy, and Feminism

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ISBN: 9780998237534 Year: Pages: 200 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2017-12-14 19:13:53
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Recent forms of realism in continental philosophy that are habitually subsumed under the category of “speculative realism,” a denomination referring to rather heterogeneous strands of philosophy, bringing together object-oriented ontology (OOO), non-standard philosophy (or non-philosophy), the speculative realist ideas of Quentin Meillassoux and Marxism, have provided grounds for the much needed critique of culturalism in gender theory, and the authority with which post-structuralism has dominated feminist theory for decades. This publication aims to bring forth some of the feminist debates prompted by the so-called “speculative turn,” while demonstrating that there has never been a niche of “speculative realist feminism.” Whereas most of the contributions featured in this collection provide a theoretical approach invoking the necessity of foregrounding new forms of realism for a “feminism beyond gender as culture,” some of the essays tackle OOO only to invite a feminist critical challenge to its paradigm, while others refer to some extent to non-philosophy or the new materialisms but are not reducible to either of the two. We have invited essays from intellectual milieus outside the Anglo-Saxon academic center, bringing together authors from Serbia, Slovenia, France, Ireland, the UK, and Canada, aiming to promote feminist internationalism (rather than a “generous act of cultural inclusion”). CONTENTS Katerina Kolozova – Preface: After the “Speculative Turn” Nina Power – Philosophy, Sexism, Emotion, Rationalism Katherine Behar – The Other Woman Anne-Françoise Schmid – Libérer épistémologiquement le féminisme Patricia Ticineto Clough – Notes for “And They Were Dancing” Joan Copjec – No: Foucault Jelisaveta Blagojević – Thinking WithOut Marina Gržinić – Rearticulating the Speculative Turn Frenchy Lunning – The Crush: The Firey Allure of the Jolted Puppet Nandita Biswas Mellamphy – (W)omen out/of Time: Metis, Medea, Mahakali Michael O’Rourke – “Girls Welcome!!!”: Speculative Realism, Object-Oriented Ontology, and Queer Theory ABOUT THE EDITOR Katerina Kolozova, PhD, is the director of the Institute in Social Sciences and Humanities-Skopje, Macedonia and a professor of gender studies at the University American College-Skopje. She is also visiting professor at several universities in Former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In 2009, Kolozova was a visiting scholar in the Department of Rhetoric (Program of Critical Theory) at the University of California-Berkeley. She is the author of Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststucturalist Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Toward a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Marx and Laruelle (punctum books, 2015). Eileen A. Joy is the Director of punctum books and has published widely on medieval literature, cultural studies, intellectual and literary history, ethics, affects and embodiments, the post/human, and speculative realism. She is the co-editor of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies and the Lead Ingenitor of the BABEL Working Group. She is also the co-editor of The Postmodern Beowulf (West Virginia University Press, 2007), Cultural Studies of the Modern Middle Ages (Palgrave, 2007), Dark Chaucer: An Assortment (punctum, 2012), On Style: An Atelier (punctum, 2013), Speculative Medievalisms: Discography (punctum, 2013), Burn After Reading (punctum, 2014), and Fragments for a History of a Vanishing Humanism (Ohio State, 2016).

The Afterlife of Genre: Remnants of the Trauerspiel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Book Series: Dead Letter Office ISBN: 9780615955742 Year: Pages: 76 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2014-06-02 15:51:27
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Could there have been television without California? California without television? The one shows the other: the ostentatiously novel singularity of the place and the seemingly self-effacing transparency of the medium. Yet if television and California both promise again and again to offer us something new, young, immaculate in its transience — a pure surface that will never get caught in the ditch of time — they are also both haunted through and through: by the itinerant contents of the past that they cannot banish, by memories of the infantile-perverse utopian fantasies that taunt us in constant replay (“If you’re going to San Francisco…,” “two girls for every guy”), by the contradiction played out in the very gesture of dismissing history and leaving the dead to bury the dead. California and television, as it were, conspire in a vampirologic: the forever-young is what has been there the longest, what really “takes us back.” And so we also will take ourselves back: to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, already almost charmingly quaint, and Walter Benjamin’s magnum opus The Origin of the German Mourning-Play. What can come of this improbable conjunction? It will not seem too strange that Benjamin, posthumous wanderer across the textures of Americana, should again take up lodging at the Hotel California. But more is at stake than just another hapless visitation from the on high of high theory: reading Buffy as the remediated afterlife of the dead-on-arrival genre of the baroque German mourning play, Adler’s book records the first broken, awkward steps toward a project that, with the recent rise of “quality television,” seems more urgent than ever before: a political-theological characteristic of the television series.

And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art

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ISBN: 9780692652664 Year: Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2016-12-18 17:29:56
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In And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art, Katherine Behar and Emmy Mikelson explore how artists engage with nonanthropocentrism, one of the primary tenets shared by recent speculative realist and new materialist philosophies. Extending their investigations in And Another Thing, an exhibition which the authors curated in 2011, this volume documents both that exhibition and expands on two of its curatorial aims: prioritizing art historical contexts for contemporary philosophy (rather than the other way around), and apprehending artworks as historically specific objects of philosophy. The book is organized in three sections. In the first section, Behar and Mikelson provide long-form essays that chart the evolution of nonanthropocentrism and art, spanning eighteenth-century architectural drawing, performance, minimalist sculpture, and contemporary postminimalism. These essays raise the stakes for art and speculative realism, showing how artists have figured and prefigured nonanthropocentric ideas strikingly similar to those expounded in various “new” realist, materialist, and speculativist philosophies. Literally occupying the center of the volume, in section two, the exhibition is represented by full-color plates of eleven works by Carl Andre, Laura Carton, Valie Export, Regina José Galindo, Tom Kotik, Mary Lucking, Bruce Nauman, Grit Ruhland, Anthony Titus, Ruslan Trusewych, and Zimoun. Artworks by these emerging and canonical figures lay bare the networks of alliances underlying the exhibition. The book concludes with three short meditations on the relation between nonanthropocentrism and art, and what that relation might portend for future thought. These essays, by Bill Brown, Patricia Ticineto Clough, and Robert Jackson, are speculative in the sense that they perceive potentials for theory arising from nonanthropocentrism’s manifestations in art.

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Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects

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ISBN: 9780615625355 Year: Pages: 311 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2014-05-31 15:29:43
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Animal, Mineral, Vegetable examines what happens when we cease to assume that only humans exert agency. Through a careful examination of medieval, early modern and contemporary lifeworlds, these essays collectively argue against ecological anthropocentricity. Sheep, wolves, camels, flowers, chairs, magnets, landscapes, refuse and gems are more than mere objects. They act; they withdraw; they make demands; they connect within lively networks that might foster a new humanism, or that might proceed with indifference towards human affairs. Through what ethics do we respond to these activities and forces? To what futures do these creatures and objects invite us, especially when they appear within the texts and cultures of the “distant” past?

Annotations to Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech!

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Book Series: Glossator Special Editions ISBN: 9781468129847 Year: Pages: 282 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2014-06-01 22:31:23
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Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech! (2000) encapsulates two thousand years’ worth of utterances in a symbolic act of remembrance and expression of despair for the current age, in which we find “our minds and ears fouled by degraded public speech—by media hype, insipid sermons, hollow political rhetoric, and the ritual misuse of words.” Through 120 densely allusive stanzas—“As many as the days that were | of SODOM”—the poem wrestles this condition from within, fighting fire with fire in an alchemical symbolic labour that transmutes the dross of corrupt and clichéd idiom into a dynamic logopoeia which proves true Hill’s persistent claim: “genuinely difficult art is truly democratic.” Such is the weird, ambivalently hostile position of poetry in the present world and thus the space of our real connection to it: “Whatever strange relationship we have with the poem, it is not one of enjoyment. It is more like being brushed past, or aside, by an alien being” (Hill). Befriending this estrangement, embracing it as a more amicable brushing-up-against, Hassan’s Annotations is a thorough and patient explication of Speech! Speech! that both clarifies and deepens the poem’s difficulties, illuminating its polyphonic language and careening discursive movement. The author’s method is at once commentarial, descriptive, and narratorial, staying faithfully with the poem and following its complex verbal and logical turns. The book generously provides, rather than direct interpretative incursion, a more durable and productive document of “the true nature / of this achievement” (stanza 92), a capacious, open understanding of the text that will prove invaluable to its present and future readers.

The Apartment of Tragic Appliances

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ISBN: 9780615792484 Year: Pages: 102 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2014-06-02 02:08:10
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The Apartment of Tragic Appliances, named as a finalist for a 2013 Lambda Literary Award, is a literal place in which a hapless, portable dishwasher “heats residue only to reimagine cleanliness as an art project,” a recalcitrant microwave neglects to heat, and a refrigerator dies an inconvenient, bulky death. It is also that psychic space in which we consider our loneliness, our wandering hearts, our unpacked boxes, our vulgar desires. In Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minnesota, 2007), Michael Snediker worked “in the interests of felicity” to undermine the ways in which queer theory customarily privileges shame and melancholy. Here, in his first full-length collection of poetry, he undertakes a similar upending of expectation, acknowledging “gay sadness” but refusing to fall fully under its sway. The demi-tragedies of daily life are recounted by a voice that is variously wistful, giddy, bawdy, silly, and tart. Along the way, Michael Snediker sets off an impressive pyrotechnic display of literary allusion, drawing on the superstars of the Western canon (think: Virgil, Racine, Proust, James, Wharton, Tennessee Williams) and of popular culture (Lucille Ball, John Travolta, Alex Trebek). Buyer beware: In these pages you will not find advice on how to feng shui your duplex or tame a Cuisinart run amok. Instead, you will find something far rarer: a book of poetic sustenance. As Daniel Tiffany observes, “We have been missing poems like these for a long time.”

Keywords

Poetry

Ardea: A Philosophical Novella

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ISBN: 9780615845562 Year: Pages: 104 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2017-12-26 21:43:54
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What is soul? Can it be forfeited? Can it be traded away? If it can, what would ensue? What consequences would follow from loss of soul — for the individual, for society, for the earth? In the early nineteenth century, Goethe’s hero, Faust, became a defining archetype of modernity, a harbinger of the existential possibilities and moral complexities of the modern condition. But today the dire consequences of the Faustian pact with the devil are becoming alarmingly visible. In light of this, how would Goethe’s arguably flawed drama play out in a 21st-century century setting? Would a contemporary Faust sign up to a demonic deal? Indeed what, in the wake of two hundred years of social and economic development, would be left for the devil to offer him? A contemporary Faust would already possess everything the original Faust in his ascetic cloister lacked — affluence and mobility; celebrity and worldly influence; access to information; religious choice; sexual freedom and the availability of women — though women, it must be noted, currently also partake of that same freedom. The only thing a present-day Faust would lack would be his soul. Would he miss it? Does soul even exist? If it does, it would of course be the one thing the devil could not bestow. So from what or whom could Faust retrieve it? What, in a word, would a contemporary Faust most deeply desire? In pursuit of these questions, Ardea engages a familiar but possibly faulty archetype, that of Faust, with an unfamiliar one, that of the white heron, borrowed from a short story of the same name by nineteenth-century American author, Sarah Orne Jewett. In Jewett’s tale, a soul-pact of an entirely different kind from that entered into by Faust is proposed. It is a pact with the wild, a pledge of fealty, of non-forfeiture, that promises to redraw the violent psycho-sexual and psycho-spiritual patterns that have underpinned modernity. How would a present-day heir to the Faustian tradition, ingrained with the habit of entitlement but also burdened with the consequences of the old pact, respond to the new proposition? ABOUT THE AUTHOR Freya Mathews is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Philosophy at Latrobe University, and Adjunct Professor at the Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University. Her books include The Ecological Self (1991), Ecology and Democracy (editor) (1996), For Love of Matter: a Contemporary Panpsychism (2003), Journey to the Source of the Merri (2003), Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture (2005). She is the author of over seventy articles in the area of ecological philosophy. Her current special interests are in ecological civilization; indigenous (Australian and Chinese) perspectives on “sustainability” and how these perspectives may be adapted to the context of contemporary global society; panpsychism and the critique of the metaphysics of modernity; and wildlife ethics in the context of the Anthropocene. In addition to her research activities she manages a private biodiversity reserve in Central Victoria. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

As If: Essays in As You Like It

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Book Series: Dead Letter Office ISBN: 9780615988177 Year: Pages: 136 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2017-12-27 01:55:02
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Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a play without a theme. Instead, it repeatedly poses one question in a variety of forms: What if the world were other than it is? As You Like It is a set of experiments in which its characters conditionally change an aspect of their world and see what comes of it: what if I were not a girl but a man? What if I were not a duke, but someone like Robin Hood? What if I were a deer? “What would you say to me now an [that is, “if”] I were your very, very Rosalind?” (4.1.64-65). “Much virtue in ‘if’,” as one of its characters declares near the play’s end; ‘if’ is virtual. It releases force even if the force is not that of what is the case. Change one thing in the world, the play asks, and how else does everything change? In As You Like It, unlike Shakespeare’s other plays, the characters themselves are both experiment and experimenters. They assert something about the world that they know is not the case, and their fictions let them explore what would happen if it were—and not only if it were, but something, not otherwise apparent, about how it is now. What is as you like it? What is it that you, or anyone, really likes or wants? The characters of As You Like It stand in ‘if’ as at a hinge of thought and action, conscious that they desire something, not wholly capable of getting it, not even able to say what it is. Their awareness that the world could be different than it is, is a step towards making it something that they wish it to be, and towards learning what that would be. Their audiences are not exempt. As You Like It doesn’t tell us that it knows what we like and will give it to us. It pushes us to find out. Over the course of the play, characters and audiences experiment with other ways the world could be and come closer to learning what they do like, and how their world can be more as they like it. By exploring ways the world can be different than it is, the characters of As You Like It strive to make the world a place in which they can be at home, not as a utopia—Arden may promise that, but certainly doesn’t fulfill it—but as an ongoing work of living. We get a sense at the play’s end not that things have been settled once and for all, but that the characters have taken time to breathe—to live in their new situations until they discover better ones, or until they discover newer desires. As You Like It, in other words, is a kind of essay: a set of tests or attempts to be differently in the world, and to see what happens. These essays in As If: As You Like It, originally commissioned as an introductory guide for students, actors, and admirers of the play, trace the force and virtue of some of the claims of the play that run counter to what is the case—its ‘ifs.’ ABOUT THE AUTHOR William N. West is Associate Professor of English, Classics, and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University, where he is also chair of the Department of Classics and co-editor of the journal Renaissance Drama. He is co-editor (with Helen Higbee) of Robert Weimann’s Author’s Pen and Actor’s Voice: Writing and Playing in Shakespeare’s Theatre (Cambridge, 2000) and (with Bryan Reynolds) of Rematerializing Shakespeare: Authority and Representation on the Early Modern Stage (Palgrave, 2005). In addition to his book Theatres and Encyclopedias in Early Modern Europe (2002), he has recently published articles on Romeo and Juliet’s understudies, irony and encyclopedic writing before and after the Enlightenment, Ophelia’s intertheatricality (with Gina Bloom and Anston Bosman), humanism and the resistance to theology, Shakespeare’s matter, and conversation as a theory of knowledge in Browne’s Pseudodoxia. His work has been supported by grants from the NEH and the Beinecke, Folger, Huntington, and Newberry libraries. Current research projects and interests include understanding and confusion in the Elizabethan playhouses, humanism and inhumanism in the philology of Angelo Poliziano, and a Renaissance prehistory of aesthetics.

Atopological Trilogy: Deleuze and Guattari

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Book Series: Dead Letter Office ISBN: 9780692403723 Year: Pages: 90 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-16 17:57:49
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Atopological Trilogy creates new concepts for Deleuze-Guattarian thought without any heed for sectarian, sermonising, or dutiful readings of the philosophers. In Part I of the trilogy, “Becoming-Sexual of the Sexual,” Aracagök demonstrates the ways in which quantum theory and the concept of “complementarity” inform Deleuze and Guattari’s thought, especially in relation to “becoming” in general and “becoming-woman” and “becoming-queer” more particularly. Aracagök argues that the ways in which the philosophers put forward a ban on “becoming-man” with a certain degree of undecidability encapsulates (albeit in a cryptic form) other becomings, the most important of which is becoming-queer, or rather, the becoming-sexual of the sexual. In Part II: “Deleuze on Sound, Music, and Schizo-Incest,” Aracagök puts into resonance the sound, noise, and music (and the question) of schizo-incest with the intention of deterritorialising a notion of the meta-audible. If Kafka’s story, “The Investigations of a Dog” leads us to a realm of the “formless” which cannot be heard without destroying what we know as “hearing,” it also offers us a limit-experience of the meta-audible, which, when radicalised via the notions of “schizo-incest” and “self-shattering,” creates a line of flight that escapes even from the line of flight itself. All these maneuvers pose a serious challenge to Deleuze and Guattari, who claim that despite all his investigations, Kafka’s investigator dog is re-Oedipalised in the end. Proposing in the end a limit experience which Aracagök calls the “meta-audible,” he shows that Kafka’s more radical approach to sound creates a line of flight that escapes even from the line of flight itself. The final essay of the trilogy, “Clinical and Critical Perversion,” begins with the 19th-century crisis of an abyss presumed to be yawning between mimesis and diegesis ever since Plato. According to Aracagök, this takes the form of a crisis of the “political,” the repression of which becomes the mission of psychoanalytical discourse towards the end of the 19th century. This crisis finds another form of expression in George Büchner’s unfinished 1836 novella Lenz, relative to the audibility of a “terrible voice which is usually called silence.” If the disappearance of the “political” is related to the rise of psychoanalysis on the protocols of, first, hypnosis, and then, the “talking cure,” both of which privilege the presumed form of the voice of the analyst over the analysand’s silence (a psycho-politics?), Aracagök proposes re-distributing this process, calling renewed attention to the clinicalisation of perversion, along Deleuzian-Guattarian distinctions such as: surface and depth, critical and clinical, oedipal-incest and schizo-incest, leading to a re-evaluation of what Deleuze and Guattari might have meant by “homosexual-effusion” in their book Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, all in order to deterritorialise the “political” under a new concept — namely, critical perversion. Ultimately, Atopological Trilogy offers the reader no safe grounds for preserving not only a philosophical identity but also not any identity, if only to be able to let you float in the air without any guidance à la Kafka’s “Red Indian.”

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