Monthly Publications Update: November

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Wellings, Ben and Andrew Mycock (eds.).  The Anglosphere: continuity dissonance and location.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - English-speaking world - Civic transnationalisms -  Qualitative and interpretive analysis.) 

The Anglosphere - a transnational imagined community consisting of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK - came to international prominence in the wake of Brexit. The Anglosphere's origins lie in the emergence of colonial and anti-colonial nationalisms within British Empire and the conflicts of the 20th century. It encompasses an extensive but ill-defined community bonded by language, culture, media, and 'civilisational' heritage founded on the shared beliefs and practices of free-market economics and liberal democracy. Supporters of the Anglosphere argue that it provides a better 'fit' for English-speaking countries at a time when global politics is in a state of flux and under strain from economic crises, conflict and terrorism, and humanitarian disasters.

This edited volume provides detailed, trans-national analyses of the Anglosphere, bringing together leading international academic experts to examine its historical origins and contemporary political, social, economic, military, and cultural manifestations. They reveal that the Anglosphere is underpinned by a range of continuities and discontinuities which are shaped by the location of its five core states. The volume reveals that although the Anglosphere is founded on a common view of the past and the present, it continually seeks to realise a shared future which is never fully attained. The volume thus makes an important contribution to debates about the future of the UK outside of the EU, and the potential for the English-speaking peoples to shape the 21st century.


Smith, Nathaniel M.  Vigilante Video: Digital Populism and Anxious Anonymity among Japan’s New Netizens.  Critical Asian Studies 17 Nov 2019

(Asia (excl. Middle East and Turkey) - Japan - Nationalism, online, activism - Anthropology.) 

Over ten years before the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Japan was reckoning with its own wave of Internet-fueled xenophobic activism in public spaces. Amid a second decade of recession in the early 2000s, nationalist activity coalesced in anonymous chat rooms and message boards in Japan. In contrast to the surprisingly inclusive space that prior rightist generations had inherited from imperial pan-Asian ideology and post-World War II experiences of shared social marginality, a new activist movement that came to be known as the Action Conservative Movement (ACM) pursued an aggressively xenophobic, racially framed form of nationalism, based not on the social margins but rhetorically grounded in the center of Japan’s middle-class society. This article identifies the centrality of self-made digital media and three genres of video work facilitating ACM mobilization of supporters from the virtual to the physical public sphere and explores issues around anonymity and truth telling such video work entails.


Meneses, Juan.  Resisting Dialogue: Modern Fiction and the Future of Dissent.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019.

(Global, Transnational, Comparative - British Empire, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Globalization, Planetarity, Anthropocene - Critical Political Theory - Cultural Critique - Textual Analysis - Close Reading, Literature and Politics.) 

Is dialogue always the productive political and communicative tool it is widely conceived to be? Resisting Dialogue reassesses our assumptions about dialogue and, in so doing, about what a politically healthy society should look like. Juan Meneses argues that, far from an unalloyed good, dialogue often serves as a subtle tool of domination, perpetuating the underlying inequalities it is intended to address.

Meneses investigates how “illusory dialogue” (a particular dialogic encounter designed to secure consensus) is employed as an instrument that forestalls—instead of fostering—articulations of dissent that lead to political change. He does so through close readings of novels from the English-speaking world written in the past hundred years—from E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India and Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion to Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People and more. Resisting Dialogue demonstrates how these novels are rhetorical exercises with real political clout capable of restoring the radical potential of dialogue in today’s globalized world. Expanding the boundaries of postpolitical theory, Meneses reveals how these works offer ways to practice disagreement against this regulatory use of dialogue and expose the pitfalls of certain other dialogic interventions in relation to some of the most prominent questions of modern history: cosmopolitanism at the end of empire, the dangers of rewriting the historical record, the affective dimension of neoliberalism, the racial and nationalist underpinnings of the “war on terror,” and the visibility of environmental violence in the Anthropocene.

Ultimately, Resisting Dialogue is a complex, provocative critique that, melding political and literary theory, reveals how fiction can help confront the deployment of dialogue to preempt the emergence of dissent and, thus, revitalize the practice of emancipatory politics.