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Allegories of Desire
Esoteric Literary Commentaries of Medieval Japan
Susan Blakeley Klein
Harvard University Press

One of the more intriguing developments within medieval Japanese literature is the incorporation into the teaching of waka poetry of the practices of initiation ceremonies and secret transmissions found in esoteric Buddhism. The main figure in this development was the obscure thirteenth-century poet Fujiwara Tameaki, grandson of the famous poet Fujiwara Teika and a priest in a tantric Buddhist sect. Tameaki's commentaries and teachings transformed secular texts such as the Tales of Ise and poetry anthologies such as the Kokin waka shu into complex allegories of Buddhist enlightenment. These commentaries were transmitted to his students during elaborate initiation ceremonies. In later periods, Tameaki's specific ideas fell out of vogue, but the habit of interpreting poetry allegorically continued.

This book examines the contents of these commentaries as well as the qualities of the texts they addressed that lent themselves to an allegorical interpretation; the political, economic, and religious developments of the Kamakura period that encouraged the development of this method of interpretation; and the possible motives of the participants in this school of interpretation. Through analyses of six esoteric commentaries, Susan Blakeley Klein presents examples of this interpretive method and discusses its influence on subsequent texts, both elite and popular.

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Body Work
Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative
Peter Brooks
Harvard University Press, 1993

The desire to know the body is a powerful dynamic of storytelling in all its forms. Peter Brooks argues that modern narrative is intent on uncovering the body in order to expose a truth that must be written in the flesh. In a book that ranges widely through literature and painting, Brooks shows how the imagination strives to bring the body into language and to write stories on the body.

From Rousseau, Balzac, Mary Shelley, and Flaubert, to George Eliot, Zola, Henry James, and Marguerite Duras, from Manet and Gauguin to Mapplethorpe, writers and artists have returned in fascination to the body, the inescapable other of the spirit. Brooks's deep understanding of psychoanalysis informs his demonstration of how the "epistemophilic urge"--the desire to know-guides fictional plots and our reading of them.

It is the sexual body that furnishes the building blocks of symbolization, eventually of language itself-which then takes us away from the body. Yet mind and language need to recover the body, as an other realm that is primary to their very definition. Brooks shows how and why the female body has become the field upon which the aspirations, anxieties, and contradictions of a whole society are played out. And he suggests how writers and artists have found in the woman's body the dynamic principle of their storytelling, its motor force.

This major book entertains and teaches: Brooks presumes no special knowledge on the part of his readers. His account proceeds chronologically from Rousseau in the eighteenth century forward to contemporary artists and writers. Body Work gives us a set of analytical tools and ideas-primarily from psychoanalysis, narrative and film studies, and feminist theory-that enable us to read modern narrative afresh.

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The Cactus Hunters
Desire and Extinction in the Illicit Succulent Trade
Jared D. Margulies
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

An exploration of the explosive illegal trade in succulents and the passion that drives it

Cacti and succulents are phenomenally popular worldwide among plant enthusiasts, despite being among the world’s most threatened species. The fervor driving the illegal trade in succulents might also be driving some species to extinction. Delving into the strange world of succulent collecting, The Cactus Hunters takes us to the heart of this conundrum: the mystery of how and why ardent lovers of these plants engage in their illicit trade. This is a world of alluring desires, where collectors and conservationists alike are animated by passions that at times exceed the limits of law. 

 

What inspires the desire for a plant? What kind of satisfaction does it promise? The answer, Jared D. Margulies suspects, might be traced through the roots and workings of the illegal succulent trade—an exploration that traverses the fields of botany and criminology, political ecology and human geography, and psychoanalysis. His globe-spanning inquiry leads Margulies from a spectacular series of succulent heists on a small island off the coast of Mexico to California law enforcement agents infiltrating a smuggling ring in South Korea, from scientists racing to discover new and rare species before poachers find them to a notorious Czech “cacto-explorer” who helped turn a landlocked European country into the epicenter of the illegal succulent trade. 

 

A heady blend of international intrigue, social theory, botanical lore, and ecological study, The Cactus Hunters offers complex insight into species extinction, conservation, and more-than-human care.

 

 

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Carnal Rhetoric
Milton’s Iconoclasm and the Poetics of Desire
Lana Cable
Duke University Press, 1995
In recent years, New Historicists have situated the iconoclasm of Milton’s poetry and prose within the context of political, cultural, and philosophical discourses that foreshadow early modernism. In Carnal Rhetoric, Lana Cable carries these investigations further by exploring the iconoclastic impulse in Milton’s works through detailed analyses of his use of metaphor. Building on a provocative iconoclastic theory of metaphor, she breaks new ground in the area of affective stylistics, not only as it pertains to the writings of Milton but also to all expressive language.
Cable traces the development of Milton’s iconoclastic poetics from its roots in the antiprelatical tracts, through the divorce tracts and Areopagitica, to its fullest dramatic representation in Eikonoklastes and Samson Agonistes. Arguing that, like every creative act, metaphor is by nature a radical and self-transgressing agent of change, she explores the site where metaphoric language and imaginative desire merge. Examining the demands Milton places on metaphor, particularly his emphasis on language as a vehicle for mortal redemption, Cable demonstrates the ways in which metaphor acts for him as that creative and radical agent of change. In the process, she reveals Milton’s engagement, at the deepest levels of linguistic creativity, with the early modern commitment to an imaginative and historic remaking of the world.
An insightful and synthetic book, Carnal Rhetoric will appeal to scholars of English literature, Milton, and the Renaissance, as well as to those with an interest in the theory of affective stylistics as it pertains to reader-response criticism, semantics, epistemology, and the philosophy and psychology of language.
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Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village
Shaping Hierarchy and Desire
Chapin, Bambi L
Rutgers University Press, 2014
Like toddlers all over the world, Sri Lankan children go through a period that in the U.S. is referred to as the “terrible twos.” Yet once they reach elementary school age, they appear uncannily passive, compliant, and undemanding compared to their Western counterparts. Clearly, these children have undergone some process of socialization, but what?

Over ten years ago, anthropologist Bambi Chapin traveled to a rural Sri Lankan village to begin answering this question, getting to know the toddlers in the village, then returning to track their development over the course of the following decade. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers an intimate look at how these children, raised on the tenets of Buddhism, are trained to set aside selfish desires for the good of their families and the community. Chapin reveals how this cultural conditioning is carried out through small everyday practices, including eating and sleeping arrangements, yet she also explores how the village’s attitudes and customs continue to evolve with each new generation.

Combining penetrating psychological insights with a rigorous observation of larger social structures, Chapin enables us to see the world through the eyes of Sri Lankan children searching for a place within their families and communities. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers a fresh, global perspective on child development and the transmission of culture.    
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Circuits of Desire, Volume 2
Yukiko Hanawa
Duke University Press

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A Cosmos of Desire
The Medieval Latin Erotic Lyric in English Manuscripts
Thomas C Moser, Jr.
University of Michigan Press, 2004

Thomas C. Moser, Jr. explores the fascinating body of medieval Latin erotic poetry found in English manuscripts. His study describes the intellectual and social context from which the great erotic songs of the twelfth century emerged, and examines a variety of erotic poems, from school exercises to the magnificent lyrics found in Arundel 384. He also illuminates the influence of neoplatonic philosophy on this poetry, explicating key neoplatonic texts and applying that analysis in close readings of erotic lyrics from the same period and milieu.
A Cosmos of Desire will interest scholars of medieval literature as well as specialists in Latin poetry and philosophy. Students of Middle English literature will find that it fills an important gap in our understanding of English intellectual life between the twelfth and the fourteenth century. All Latin prose and poetry is translated, some works for the first time, and the book is generously illustrated with photographs of the manuscripts discussed.
Thomas C. Moser, Jr. is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.
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The Cultural Dialectics of Knowledge and Desire
Charles W. Nuckolls
University of Wisconsin Press, 1996

Why is culture a problem that can never be solved? Charles W. Nuckolls poses this question to his readers, and offers a genuinely synthetic approach to culture that is both cognitive and psychoanalytic. He develops a theory of cultural dialectics based on the concept of paradox, in which he shows how ambivalence and conflicts, and the desire to resolve them, are at the heart of all cultural knowledge systems.
    Nuckolls combines and synthesizes the ideas of Max Weber and Sigmund Freud—major influences in the cognitive and psychoanalytic paradigms—and develops the concept basic to both: the dialectic. He recovers the legacy of Gregory Bateson, who provided the foundation for a theory of paradox in culture. With his integrated theory, Nuckolls explains the conflicts of knowledge and desire in a South Asian knowledge system, in particular the religious mythology and divinatory system of the Jalaris, a Telugu-speaking fishing caste on the southeastern coast of India.
    This provocative book allows us to rethink the relationship between the currently competing discourses in psychological and cultural anthropology, and at the same time offers a general synthetic theory of cultural dynamics.

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Dark Smiles
Race and Desire in George Eliot
Alicia Carroll
Ohio University Press, 2002

Although George Eliot has long been described as “the novelist of the Midlands,” she often brought the outer reaches of the empire home in her work. Dark Smiles: Race and Desire in George Eliot studies Eliot’s problematic, career-long interest in representing racial and ethnic Otherness.

Placing Eliot’s diverse and wide-ranging treatment of Otherness in its contemporary context, Alicia Carroll argues that Eliot both engages and resists traditional racial and ethnic representations of Otherness. Carroll finds that Eliot, like other women writers of her time, often appropriates narratives of Otherness to explore issues silenced in mainstream Victorian culture, particularly the problem of the desirous woman. But if Otherness in Eliot’s century was usually gendered as woman and constructed as the object of white male desire, Eliot often seeks to subvert that vision. Professor Carroll demonstrates Eliot’s tendency to “exoticize” images of girlhood, vocation, and maternity in order to critique and explore gendered subjectivities. Indeed, the disruptive presence of a racial or ethnic outsider often fractures Eliot’s narratives of community, creating a powerful critique of home culture.

The consistent reliance of Eliot’s work upon racial and ethnic Otherness as a mode of cultural critique is explored here for the first time in its entirety.

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The Demon and the Damozel
Dynamics of Desire in the Works of Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Suzanne M. Waldman
Ohio University Press, 2008
Developing a perspective on Victorian culture as the breeding ground for early theories of the unconscious and the divided psyche, The Demon and the Damozel: Dynamics of Desire in the Works of Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti offers a new reading of these eminent Victorian siblings’ literature and visual arts.

Suzanne M. Waldman views well-known poems and artworks such as Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel and Venus Verticordia in new ways that expose their authors’ savvy anticipation of concepts that would come to be known as narcissism, fetishism, and the symbolic and imaginary orders, among many others. Waldman makes a strong case for the particular psychoanalytic importance of the Rossettis by looking at how the two Rossetti siblings’ own psyches were divided by conflicts between the period’s religious scruples and its taste for gothic sensationalism.

The Demon and the Damozel is a close and contextualized reading of their writings and artwork that displays, for the first time, continuity between the medieval cosmologies these Pre-Raphaelites drew upon and the psychoanalytic theories they looked ahead to—and locates the intricate patterns of proto-psychoanalytic understanding in the rich tapestry of Pre-Raphaelite aestheticism.
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Desire and Disaster in New Orleans
Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory
Lynnell L. Thomas
Duke University Press, 2014
Most of the narratives packaged for New Orleans's many tourists cultivate a desire for black culture—jazz, cuisine, dance—while simultaneously targeting black people and their communities as sources and sites of political, social, and natural disaster. In this timely book, the Americanist and New Orleans native Lynnell L. Thomas delves into the relationship between tourism, cultural production, and racial politics. She carefully interprets the racial narratives embedded in tourism websites, travel guides, business periodicals, and newspapers; the thoughts of tour guides and owners; and the stories told on bus and walking tours as they were conducted both before and after Katrina. She describes how, with varying degrees of success, African American tour guides, tour owners, and tourism industry officials have used their own black heritage tours and tourism-focused businesses to challenge exclusionary tourist representations. Taking readers from the Lower Ninth Ward to the White House, Thomas highlights the ways that popular culture and public policy converge to create a mythology of racial harmony that masks a long history of racial inequality and structural inequity.
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Desire and Fictional Narrative in Late Imperial China
Martin W. Huang
Harvard University Press, 2001

In this study of desire in Late Imperial China, Martin W. Huang argues that the development of traditional Chinese fiction as a narrative genre was closely related to changes in conceptions of the fundamental nature of desire. He further suggests that the rise of vernacular fiction during the late Ming dynasty should be studied in the context of contemporary debates on desire, along with the new and complex views that emerged from those debates.

Desire and Fictional Narrative in Late Imperial China shows that the obsession of authors with individual desire is an essential quality that defines traditional Chinese fiction as a narrative genre. Thus the maturation of the genre can best be appreciated in terms of its increasingly sophisticated exploration of the phenomenon of desire.

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Desire and Imitation in International Politics
Jodok Troy
Michigan State University Press, 2021
Imitating the desire of others is inherent to the struggle for power in international politics. The imitation of desire is a human trait seldom recognized in International Relations studies, let alone conceptualized. The imitation of desire that takes place among entities—as opposed to being intentionally generated by them—challenges the conventional wisdom of International Relations that assumes rational autonomous individuals. This book identifies the root of Realism, pointing out its awareness of the conflicting impact of desire and imitation in a world driven by restless comparison. It subsequently demonstrates the conceptual value of mimetic theory while proposing a template of understanding international polities, starting from assumptions of disorder and violence. This volume not only contributes to the study of conflict based on the imitation of the desire of others among international polities, but also proposes in its conceptualization that it is worth looking at studies of agency and structure, normative change, peace, and reconciliation.
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Desire and Truth
Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century English Novels
Patricia Meyer Spacks
University of Chicago Press, 1990
Desire and Truth offers a major reassessment of the history of eighteenth-century fiction by showing how plot challenges or reinforces conventional categories of passion and rationality. Arguing that fiction creates and conveys its essential truths through plot, Patricia Meyer Spacks demonstrates that eighteenth-century fiction is both profoundly realistic and consistently daring.
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Desire
Flaubert, Proust, Fitzgerald, Miller, Lana Del Rey
Per Bjørnar Grande
Michigan State University Press, 2020
Desire can take many forms. Hegel related desire to acceptance, Nietzsche to power, and Freud to the erotic. In novels and plays by Gustave Flaubert, Marcel Proust, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Arthur Miller and music by Lana Del Rey, desire operates in a complex, slippery way that eludes philosophical and psychoanalytic attempts to pin it down. These and other great works of literature corroborate René Girard’s understanding of desire as taking shape “according to the other’s desire.” The mimetic approach frees desire from the preconceptions of both subject- and object-oriented psychologies and puts literary criticism in touch with the concrete substance of fictional narratives. Drawing on both modern masterpieces and iconic works of contemporary pop culture, Per Bjørnar Grande sketches a Girardian phenomenology of desire, one that sheds new light on the frustrating and repetitive nature of human relations in a world of vanishing taboos.
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Desire in the Canterbury Tales
Elizabeth Scala
The Ohio State University Press, 2015
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a discourse of desire. Beyond the many pilgrims’ stories taking desire as their topic, Elizabeth Scala argues that desire operates in structurally significant ways found in the signifying chains that link the tales to each other.

Desire in the Canterbury Tales coordinates the compulsions of desire with the act of misreading to define the driving force of Chaucer’s story collection. With Chaucer’s competitive pilgrimage as an important point of departure, this study examines the collection’s manner of generating stories out of division, difference, and contestation. It argues that Chaucer’s tales are produced as misreadings and misrecognitions of each other. Looking to the main predicate of the General Prologue’s famous opening sentence (“longen”) as well as the thematic concerns of a number of tale-tellers, and working with a theoretical model that exposes language as the product of such longing, Scala posits desire as the very subject of the Canterbury Tales and misrecognition as its productive effect. In chapters focusing on both the well-discussed tales of fragment 1 and the marriage group as well as the more recalcitrant religious stories, Desire in the Canterbury Tales offers a comprehensive means of accounting for Chaucer’s poem.
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The Desire of Psychoanalysis
Exercises in Lacanian Thinking
Gabriel Tupinambá; With a foreword by Slavoj Žižek
Northwestern University Press, 2021

The Desire of Psychoanalysis proposes that recognizing how certain theoretical and institutional problems in Lacanian psychoanalysis are grounded in the historical conditions of Lacan’s own thinking might allow us to overcome these impasses. In order to accomplish this, Gabriel Tupinambá analyzes the socioeconomic practices that underlie the current institutional existence of the Lacanian community—its political position as well as its institutional history—in relation to theoretical production.

By focusing on the underlying dynamic that binds clinical practice, theoretical work, and institutional security in Lacanian psychoanalysis today, Tupinambá is able to locate sites for conceptual innovation that have been ignored by the discipline, such as the understanding of the role of money in clinical practice, the place of analysands in the transformation of psychoanalytic theory, and ideological dead-ends that have become common sense in the Lacanian field. The Desire of Psychoanalysis thus suggests ways of opening up psychoanalysis to new concepts and clinical practices and calls for a transformation of how psychoanalysis is understood as an institution.

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Desire of the Moth
a novel
Champa Bilwakesh
UpSet Press, 2017
A fifteen-year-old widow runs across a bridge to catch a train bound for Trichi. Sowmya is running away to make sense of the events that had seized her body and her mind, and had ripped apart her world. She is determined to flee her destiny of numbing isolation within her community, the Brahmins of the Thanjavur district in South India. Her plans pivot when she meets a devadasi--an aging dancer--in her compartment. When the woman Mallika opens her drawstring bag and buys Sowmya her dinner, Sowmya recognizes what she needs to overcome her own condition, that of a young woman in possession of a thin cotton sari, a head shorn clean, and little else. She asks Mallika how she too can achieve that kind of power--the power to open a bag and pull out money. Thus begins Sowmya's transformation in the city by the sea, Madras, which is in the grip of its own political and social changes while India is struggling to seize its independence from the imperial British raj. Here she learns the beauty of dance from Mallika, and the sweetness and agony of falling in love with a married man. The cinema brings unimagined opportunities and all the power and riches that she could desire, but it also consumes her relentlessly. When a letter arrives, Sowmya begins her quest to regain everything that had been lost when she once lived in that small village tucked into a little bend of the Kaveri River.

Hear Champa Bilwakesh reading from Desire of the Moth here: http://voicethread.com/myvoice/#thread/5863247/30058528/31699244
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Dilemmas of Desire
Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality
Deborah L. Tolman
Harvard University Press, 2005

Be sexy but not sexual. Don't be a prude but don't be a slut. These are the cultural messages that barrage teenage girls. In movies and magazines, in music and advice columns, girls are portrayed as the object or the victim of someone else's desire--but virtually never as someone with acceptable sexual feelings of her own. What teenage girls make of these contradictory messages, and what they make of their awakening sexuality--so distant from and yet so susceptible to cultural stereotypes--emerges for the first time in frank and complex fashion in Deborah Tolman's Dilemmas of Desire.

A unique look into the world of adolescent sexuality, this book offers an intimate and often disturbing, sometimes inspiring, picture of how teenage girls experience, understand, and respond to their sexual feelings, and of how society mediates, shapes, and distorts this experience. In extensive interviews, we listen as actual adolescent girls--both urban and suburban--speak candidly of their curiosity and confusion, their pleasure and disappointment, their fears, defiance, or capitulation in the face of a seemingly imperishable double standard that smiles upon burgeoning sexuality in boys yet frowns, even panics, at its equivalent in girls.

As a vivid evocation of girls negotiating some of the most vexing issues of adolescence, and as a thoughtful, richly informed examination of the dilemmas these girls face, this readable and revealing book begins the critical work of understanding the sexuality of young women in all its personal, social, and emotional significance.

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Dirt and Desire
Reconstructing Southern Women's Writing, 1930-1990
Patricia Yaeger
University of Chicago Press, 2000
The story of southern writing—the Dixie Limited, if you will—runs along an iron path: an official narrative of a literature about community, about place and the past, about miscegenation, white patriarchy, and the epic of race. Patricia Yaeger dynamites the rails, providing an entirely new set of categories through which to understand southern literature and culture.

For Yaeger, works by black and white southern women writers reveal a shared obsession with monstrosity and the grotesque and with the strange zones of contact between black and white, such as the daily trauma of underpaid labor and the workings of racial and gender politics in the unnoticed yet all too familiar everyday. Yaeger also excavates a southern fascination with dirt—who owns it, who cleans it, and whose bodies are buried in it.

Yaeger's brilliant, theoretically informed readings of Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Walker, and Eudora Welty (among many others) explode the mystifications of southern literary tradition and forge a new path for southern studies.

The book won the Barbara Perkins and George Perkins Award given by the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.
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Discipline and Desire
Surveillance Technologies in Performance
Elise Morrison
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Discipline and Desire examines how surveillance technologies, when placed within the frames of theater and performance, can be used to critique and reimagine the politics of surveillance in everyday life. The book explores how rapidly proliferating surveillance technologies, including drones, CCTV cameras, GPS tracking systems, medical surveillance equipment, and facial recognition software, can be repurposed through performance to become technologies of ethical witnessing, critique, and action.

While the subject of surveillance continues to provoke fascination and debate in mainstream media and academia, opportunities to critically reflect upon and, more importantly, to imagine alternative, creative responses to living in a rapidly expanding surveillance society have been harder to find. Author Elise Morrison argues that such opportunities are being created through the growing genre of “surveillance art and performance,” defined as works that centrally employ technologies and techniques of surveillance to create theater, installation, and performance art. Introducing readers to a broad range of surveillance art works, including the work of artists and activists such as Surveillance Camera Players, Jill Magid, Steve Mann, Hasan Elahi, Wafaa Bilal, Blast Theory, Electronic Disturbance Theater, George Brant, Janet Cardiff, Mona Hatoum, and Zach Blas, Discipline and Desire provides a practical and analytical framework that can aid the diverse pursuits of new media-arts practitioners, performance scholars, activists, and hobbyists interested in critical and creative uses of surveillance technologies.
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Disorders Of Desire
Janice Irvine
Temple University Press, 1991
Disorders of Desire is the only book to tell the story of the development and impact of sexology—the scientific study of sex—in the United States. In this era of sex scandals, culture wars, "Sex in the City," and new sexual enhancement technologies (like erectile dysfunction drugs), its critique of sexology is even more relevant than it was when the book was first published in 1990.

This revised and expanded edition features new chapters addressing:

  • The diagnosis of "sex addiction"in the 1970s and its social and political implications.
  • New developments within the field of sexology, including the "Viagra Revolution" that began in the 1990s.
  • The pharmaceutical industry's role in the development of sexual enhancements and the search for the female equivalent of Viagra.
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Dream Lovers
The Gamification of Relationships
Alfie Bown
Pluto Press, 2022

'An exciting, astute analysis of how our capacity for desire has been slotted into the grooves of digital capitalism, and made to work for profit - from porn to Pokémon' - Richard Seymour

We are in the middle of a 'desirevolution' - a fundamental and political transformation of the way we desire as human beings. Perhaps as always, new technologies - with their associated and inherited political biases - are organizing and mapping the future. What we don't seem to notice is that the primary way in which our lives are being transformed is through the manipulation and control of desire itself.

Our very impulses, drives and urges are 'gamified' to suit particular economic and political agendas, changing the way we relate to everything from lovers and friends to food and politicians. Digital technologies are transforming the subject at the deepest level of desire - re-mapping its libidinal economy - in ways never before imagined possible.

From sexbots to smart condoms, fitbits to VR simulators and AI to dating algorithms, the 'love industries' are at the heart of the future smart city and the social fabric of everyday life. This book considers these emergent technologies and what they mean for the future of love, desire, work and capitalism.

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Economic Women
Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture
Lana L. Dalley and Jill Rappoport
The Ohio State University Press, 2013
Economic Women: Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, edited by Lana L. Dalley and Jill Rappoport, showcases the wide-ranging economic activities and relationships of real and fictional women in nineteenth-century British culture. This volume’s essays chronicle the triumphs and setbacks of women who developed, described, contested, and exploited new approaches to economic thought and action. In their various roles as domestic employees, activists fighting for free trade, theorists developing statistical models, and individuals considering the cost of marriage and its dissolution, the women discussed here were givers and takers, producers and consumers.
Bringing together leading and emerging voices in the field, this collection builds on the wealth of interdisciplinary economic criticism published in the last twenty years, but it also challenges traditional understandings of economic subjectivity by emphasizing both private and public records and refusing to identify a single female corollary to Economic Man. The scholars presented here recover game-changing stories of women’s economic engagement from diaries, letters, ledgers, fiction, periodicals, and travel writing to reveal a nuanced portrait of Economic Women. Offering new readings of works by George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Willkie Collins, Charlotte Riddell, and Ellen Wood, and addressing political economy, consumerism, and business developments alongside the ethics of exchange and family finances, Economic Women tells a story of ambivalence as well as achievement, failure as well as forward motion.
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Economies of Desire
Sex and Tourism in Cuba and the Dominican Republic
Amalia L. Cabezas
Temple University Press, 2009

Is a native-born tour guide who has sex with tourists—in exchange for dinner or gifts or cash—merely a prostitute or gigolo? What if the tourist continues to send gifts or money to the tour guide after returning home? As this original and provocative book demonstrates, when it comes to sex—and the effects of capitalism and globalization —nothing is as simple as it might seem.

Based on ten years of research, Economies of Desire is the first ethnographic study to examine the erotic underpinnings of transnational tourism. It offers startling insights into the commingling of sex, intimacy, and market forces in Cuba and the Dominican republic, two nations where tourism has had widespread effects. In her multi-layered analyses, amalia cabezas reconceptualizes our understandings of informal economies (particularly "affective economies"), "sex workers," and “sexual tourism,” and she helps us appreciate how money, sex and love are intertwined within the structure of globalizing capitalism.

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Electronic Eros
Bodies and Desire in the Postindustrial Age
By Claudia Springer
University of Texas Press, 1996

The love affair between humans and the machines that have made us faster and more powerful has expanded into cyberspace, where computer technology seems to offer both the promise of heightened erotic fulfillment and the threat of human obsolescence. In this pathfinding study, Claudia Springer explores the techno-erotic imagery in recent films, cyberpunk fiction, comic books, television, software, and writing on virtual reality and artificial intelligence to reveal how these futuristic images actually encode current debates concerning gender roles and sexuality.

Drawing on psychoanalytical and film theory, as well as the history of technology, Springer offers the first sustained analysis of eroticism and gender in such films as RoboCop, The Terminator, Eve of Destruction, and Lawnmower Man; cyberpunk books such as Neuromancer, Count Zero, Virtual Light, A Fire in the Sun, and Lady El; the comic books Cyberpunk and Interface, among others; and the television series Mann and Machine. Her analysis demonstrates that while new electronic technologies have inspired changes in some pop culture texts, others stubbornly recycle conventions from the past, refusing to come to terms with the new postmodern social order.

Written to be accessible and entertaining for students and general readers as well as scholars, Electronic Eros will be of interest to a wide interdisciplinary audience.

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Empire of Liberty
Power, Desire, and Freedom
Anthony Bogues
Dartmouth College Press, 2010
In this thoughtful and timely consideration of the nature of American power and empire, Anthony Bogues argues that America’s self-presentation as the bastion of liberty is an attempt to force upon the world a single universal truth, which has the objective of eradicating the radical imagination. Central to this project of American supremacy is the elaboration and construction of a language of power in which a form of self-government appears as the form of sovereignty. Grappling with issues of power, race, slavery, violence, and the nature of postcolonial criticism and critical theory, Bogues offers reconsiderations of the writings of W. E. B. DuBois and Frantz Fanon in order to break holes in this accepted structure of empire. At its heart this is a work of radical humanistic theory that seeks to glean from the postcolonial world and empire an alternative to its imperial form of freedom.
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Evolution of Desire
A Life of René Girard
Cynthia L Haven
Michigan State University Press, 2018
René Girard (1923–2015) was one of the leading thinkers of our era—a provocative sage who bypassed prevailing orthodoxies to offer a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history, and human destiny. His oeuvre, offering a “mimetic theory” of cultural origins and human behavior, inspired such writers as Milan Kundera and J. M. Coetzee, and earned him a place among the forty “immortals” of the Académie Française. Too often, however, his work is considered only within various academic specializations. This first-ever biographical study takes a wider view. Cynthia L. Haven traces the evolution of Girard’s thought in parallel with his life and times. She recounts his formative years in France and his arrival in a country torn by racial division, and reveals his insights into the collective delusions of our technological world and the changing nature of warfare. Drawing on interviews with Girard and his colleagues, Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard provides an essential introduction to one of the twentieth century’s most controversial and original minds.
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Exposed
Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age
Bernard E. Harcourt
Harvard University Press, 2015

Social media compile data on users, retailers mine information on consumers, Internet giants create dossiers of who we know and what we do, and intelligence agencies collect all this plus billions of communications daily. Exploiting our boundless desire to access everything all the time, digital technology is breaking down whatever boundaries still exist between the state, the market, and the private realm. Exposed offers a powerful critique of our new virtual transparence, revealing just how unfree we are becoming and how little we seem to care.

Bernard Harcourt guides us through our new digital landscape, one that makes it so easy for others to monitor, profile, and shape our every desire. We are building what he calls the expository society—a platform for unprecedented levels of exhibition, watching, and influence that is reconfiguring our political relations and reshaping our notions of what it means to be an individual.

We are not scandalized by this. To the contrary: we crave exposure and knowingly surrender our privacy and anonymity in order to tap into social networks and consumer convenience—or we give in ambivalently, despite our reservations. But we have arrived at a moment of reckoning. If we do not wish to be trapped in a steel mesh of wireless digits, we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to resist. Disobedience to a regime that relies on massive data mining can take many forms, from aggressively encrypting personal information to leaking government secrets, but all will require conviction and courage.

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Fashion, Desire and Anxiety
Image and Morality in the Twentieth Century
Arnold, Rebecca
Rutgers University Press, 2001
Fashion, and the glossy magazines it inhabits, allow Western culture to dream. It permits a person to fantasize and to experiment with new identities. It flaunts glamour and success. Appearance becomes something to be perfected and admired.

These dreams and freedoms, Rebecca Arnold proposes, are contradictory. Fashion and its surrounding imagery elicit fear and anxiety in their consumers as well as pleasure. Fashion has come to incorporate the underside of modern life, with violence and decay becoming a dominant theme in clothing design and photography.

Arnold draws on diverse written sources to explore the complex nature of modern fashion. She discusses a range of key themes: how fashion uses and abuses the power of wealth; the alienating promotion of "good" taste; the power plays of sex and display; and how identities can be blurred to disguise and confuse. In order to unravel the contradictory emotions of desire and anxiety they provoke, she never loses sight of the historical and cultural contexts in which fashion designers and photographers perform.

Generously illustrated, Fashion, Desire and Anxiety focuses on the last thirty years, from photographic works of the 1970s to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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Fashion, Desire and Anxiety
Image and Morality in the Twentieth Century
Arnold, Rebecca
Rutgers University Press, 2001
Fashion, and the glossy magazines it inhabits, allow Western culture to dream. It permits a person to fantasize and to experiment with new identities. It flaunts glamour and success. Appearance becomes something to be perfected and admired.

These dreams and freedoms, Rebecca Arnold proposes, are contradictory. Fashion and its surrounding imagery elicit fear and anxiety in their consumers as well as pleasure. Fashion has come to incorporate the underside of modern life, with violence and decay becoming a dominant theme in clothing design and photography.

Arnold draws on diverse written sources to explore the complex nature of modern fashion. She discusses a range of key themes: how fashion uses and abuses the power of wealth; the alienating promotion of "good" taste; the power plays of sex and display; and how identities can be blurred to disguise and confuse. In order to unravel the contradictory emotions of desire and anxiety they provoke, she never loses sight of the historical and cultural contexts in which fashion designers and photographers perform.

Generously illustrated, Fashion, Desire and Anxiety focuses on the last thirty years, from photographic works of the 1970s to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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The Fate of Rural Hell
Asceticism and Desire in Buddhist Thailand
Benedict Anderson
Seagull Books, 2012
In 1975, when political scientist Benedict Anderson reached Wat Phai Rong Wua, a massive temple complex in rural Thailand conceived by Buddhist monk Luang Phor Khom, he felt he had wandered into a demented Disneyland. One of the world’s most bizarre tourist attractions, Wat Phai Rong Wua was designed as a cautionary museum of sorts; its gruesome statues depict violent and torturous scenes that showcase what hell may be like. Over the next few decades, Anderson, who is best known for his work, Imagined Communities, found himself transfixed by this unusual amalgamation of objects, returning several times to see attractions like the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world and the Palace of a Hundred Spires. The concrete statuaries and perverse art in Luang Phor’s personal museum of hell included, “side by side, an upright human skeleton in a glass cabinet and a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s gigantic nude David, wearing fashionable red underpants from the top of which poked part of a swollen, un-Florentine penis,” alongside dozens of statues of evildoers being ferociously punished in their afterlife.
 
In The Fate of Rural Hell, Anderson unravels the intrigue of this strange setting, endeavoring to discover what compels so many Thai visitors to travel to this popular spectacle and what order, if any, inspired its creation. At the same time, he notes in Wat Phai Rong Wua the unexpected effects of the gradual advance of capitalism into the far reaches of rural Asia.
 
Both a one-of-a-kind travelogue and a penetrating look at the community that sustains it, The Fate of Rural Hell is sure to intrigue and inspire conversation as much as Wat Phai Rong Wua itself.
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Feeling Like a State
Desire, Denial, and the Recasting of Authority
Davina Cooper
Duke University Press, 2019
A transformative progressive politics requires the state's reimagining. But how should the state be reimagined, and what can invigorate this process? In Feeling Like a State, Davina Cooper explores the unexpected contribution a legal drama of withdrawal might make to conceptualizing a more socially just, participative state. In recent years, as gay rights have expanded, some conservative Christians—from charities to guesthouse owners and county clerks—have denied people inclusion, goods, and services because of their sexuality. In turn, liberal public bodies have withdrawn contracts, subsidies, and career progression from withholding conservative Christians. Cooper takes up the discourses and practices expressed in this legal conflict to animate and support an account of the state as heterogeneous, plural, and erotic. Arguing for the urgent need to put new imaginative forms into practice, Cooper examines how dissident and experimental institutional thinking materialize as people assert a democratic readiness to recraft the state.
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Fields of Desire
Poverty and Policy in Laos
Holly High
National University of Singapore Press, 2014
In this important new book, High argues that poverty reduction policies are formulated and implemented in fields of desire. Drawing on psychoanalytic understandings of desire, she shows that such programs circulate around the question of what is lacking. Far from rational responses to measures of need, then, the politics of poverty are unconscious, culturally expressed, mutually contradictory, and sometimes contrary to self-interest.


Based on long-term fieldwork in a Lao village that has been the subject of multiple poverty reduction and development programs, High’s account looks at implementation on the ground. While these efforts were laudable in their aims of reducing poverty, they often failed to achieve their objectives. Local people received them with suspicion and disillusionment. Nevertheless, poverty reduction policies continued to be renewed by planners and even desired locally. High relates this to the force of aspirations among rural Lao, ambivalent understandings of power and the “post-rebellious” moment in contemporary Laos.
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Fire and Desire
Mixed-Race Movies in the Silent Era
Jane M. Gaines
University of Chicago Press, 2001
In the silent era, American cinema was defined by two separate and parallel industries, with white and black companies producing films for their respective, segregated audiences. Jane Gaines's highly anticipated new book reconsiders the race films of this era with an ambitious historical and theoretical agenda.

Fire and Desire offers a penetrating look at the black independent film movement during the silent period. Gaines traces the profound influence that D. W. Griffith's racist epic The Birth of a Nation exerted on black filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux, the director of the newly recovered Within Our Gates. Beginning with What Happened in the Tunnel, a movie that played with race and sex taboos by featuring the first interracial kiss in film, Gaines also explores the cinematic constitution of self and other through surprise encounters: James Baldwin sees himself in the face of Bette Davis, family resemblance is read in Richard S. Robert's portrait of an interracial family, and black film pioneer George P. Johnson looks back on Micheaux.

Given the impossibility of purity and the co-implication of white and black, Fire and Desire ultimately questions the category of "race movies" itself.
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Flickers of Desire
Movie Stars of the 1910s
Bean, Jennifer M
Rutgers University Press, 2011
Today, we are so accustomed to consuming the amplified lives of film stars that the origins of the phenomenon may seem inevitable in retrospect. But the conjunction of the terms "movie" and "star" was inconceivable prior to the 1910s. Flickers of Desire explores the emergence of this mass cultural phenomenon, asking how and why a cinema that did not even run screen credits developed so quickly into a venue in which performers became the American film industry's most lucrative mode of product individuation. Contributors chart the rise of American cinema's first galaxy of stars through a variety of archival sources--newspaper columns, popular journals, fan magazines, cartoons, dolls, postcards, scrapbooks, personal letters, limericks, and dances. The iconic status of Charlie Chaplin's little tramp, Mary Pickford's golden curls, Pearl White's daring stunts, or Sessue Hayakawa's expressionless mask reflect the wild diversity of a public's desired ideals, while Theda Bara's seductive turn as the embodiment of feminine evil, George Beban's performance as a sympathetic Italian immigrant, or G. M. Anderson's creation of the heroic cowboy/outlaw character transformed the fantasies that shaped American filmmaking and its vital role in society.
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The Genesis of Desire
Jean-Michel Oughourlian
Michigan State University Press, 2010

We seem to be abandoning the codes that told previous generations who they should love. But now that many of us are free to choose whoever we want, nothing is less certain. The proliferation of divorces and separations reveal a dynamic we would rather not see: others sometimes reject us as passionately as we are attracted to them.
     Our desire makes us sick. The throes of rivalry are at the heart of our attraction to one another. This is the central thesis of Jean-Michel Oughourlian's The Genesis of Desire, where the war of the sexes is finally given a scientific explanation. The discovery of mirror neurons corroborates his ideas, clarifying the phenomena of empathy and the mechanisms of violent reciprocity.
     How can a couple be saved when they have declared war on one another? By helping them realize that desire originates not in the self but in the other. There are strategies that can help, which Dr. Oughourlian has prescribed successfully to his patients. This work, alternating between case studies and more theoretical statements, convincingly defends the possibility that breakups need not be permanent.

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The Government of Desire
A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject
Miguel de Beistegui
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Liberalism, Miguel de Beistegui argues in The Government of Desire, is best described as a technique of government directed towards the self, with desire as its central mechanism.  Whether as economic interest, sexual drive, or the basic longing for recognition, desire is accepted as a core component of our modern self-identities, and something we ought to cultivate. But this has not been true in all times and all places. For centuries, as far back as late antiquity and early Christianity, philosophers believed that desire was an impulse that needed to be suppressed in order for the good life, whether personal or collective, ethical or political, to flourish.  Though we now take it for granted, desire as a constitutive dimension of human nature and a positive force required a radical transformation, which coincided with the emergence of liberalism.
 
By critically exploring Foucault’s claim that Western civilization is a civilization of desire, de Beistegui crafts a provocative and original genealogy of this shift in thinking. He shows how the relationship between identity, desire, and government has been harnessed and transformed in the modern world, shaping our relations with others and ourselves, and establishing desire as an essential driving force for the constitution of a new and better social order. But is it? The Government of Desire argues that this is precisely what a contemporary politics of resistance must seek to overcome. By questioning the supposed universality of a politics based on recognition and the economic satisfaction of desire, de Beistegui raises the crucial question of how we can manage to be less governed today, and explores contemporary forms of counter-conduct.

​Drawing on a host of thinkers from philosophy, political theory, and psychoanalysis, and concluding with a call for a sovereign and anarchic form of desire, The Government of Desire is a groundbreaking account of our freedom and unfreedom, of what makes us both governed and ungovernable.
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Gumbo Ya Ya
Poems
Aurielle Marie
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021
Winner, 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry
Winner, 2022 Georgia Author of the Year (Poetry)
Finalist, 2023 Kate Tufts Discovery Award

Gumbo Ya Ya, Aurielle Marie’s stunning debut, is a cauldron of hearty poems exploring race, gender, desire, and violence in the lives of Black gxrls, soaring against the backdrop of a contemporary South. These poems are loud, risky, and unapologetically rooted in the glory of Black gxrlhood. The collection opens with a heartrending indictment of injustice. What follows is a striking reimagination of the world, one where no Black gxrl dies “by the barrel of the law” or “for loving another Black gxrl.” Part familial archival, part map of Black resistance, Gumbo Ya Ya catalogs the wide gamut of Black life at its intersections, with punching cultural commentary and a poetic voice that holds tenderness and sharpness in tandem. It asks us to chew upon both the rich meat and the tough gristle, and in doing so we walk away more whole than we began and thoroughly satisfied.
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Handel as Orpheus
Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas
Ellen T. Harris
Harvard University Press, 2004

Handel wrote over 100 cantatas, compositions for voice and instruments that describe the joy and pain of love. In Handel as Orpheus, the first comprehensive study of the cantatas, Ellen Harris investigates their place in Handel's life as well as their extraordinary beauty.

The cantatas were written between 1706 and 1723--from the time Handel left his home in Germany, through the years he spent in Florence and Rome, and into the early part of his London career. In this period he lived as a guest in aristocratic homes, and composed these chamber works for his patrons and hosts, primarily for private entertainments. In both Italy and England his patrons moved in circles in which same-sex desire was commonplace--a fact that is not without significance, Harris reveals, for the cantatas exhibit a clear homosexual subtext.

Addressing questions about style and form, dating, the relation of music to text, rhythmic and tonal devices, and voicing, Handel as Orpheus is an invaluable resource for the study and enjoyment of the cantatas, which have too long been neglected. This innovative study brings greater understanding of Handel, especially his development as a composer, and new insight into the role of sexuality in artistic expression.

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Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire
A Play
Heather Raffo
Northwestern University Press, 2006
Winner, 2007 Chicago Book Clinic Crystal Book Award for Excellence in Design

As topical as today's newspaper headlines, these rich monologues bring to life nine distinct Iraqi women whose very different stories convey the complex and harrowing reality of being female in modern-day Iraq. Their monologues quickly become a series of overlapping conversations leading to a breakdown in communication as the chaos of Iraq intensifies. Layal is a sexy and impulsive painter favored by Saddam's regime, breezily bohemian one minute and defensive the next; another woman mourns the death of her family in a 1991 bunker, and another--a blond American of Iraqi descent--painfully recalls a telephone conversation with Baghdad relatives on the eve of the U. S. invasion. Other characters decry the savagery of Saddam Hussein in terrifying detail and express an ambivalent relief at the American presence; still others--like a Bedouin woman searching for love--transcend politics.

The title comes from the teachings of the seventh-century imam Ali ibn Abu Talib: "God created sexual desire in ten parts; then he gave nine parts to women and one part to men." Heather Raffo's monologues weave these nine parts into a finely textured, brilliantly colorful tapestry of feminine longing in dire times. This compassionate and heart-breaking work will forever change your view of Iraqi women and the people of the Middle East.
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Homecoming Queers
Desire and Difference in Chicana Latina Cultural Production
Danielson, Marivel T
Rutgers University Press, 2009
Homecoming Queers provides a critical discussion of the multiple strategies used by queer Latina authors and artists in the United States to challenge silence and invisibility within mainstream media, literary canons, and theater spaces. Marivel T. Danielson's analysis reveals the extensive legacy of these cultural artists, including novelists, filmmakers, students and activists, comedians, performers, and playwrights. By clearly discussing the complexities and universalities of ethnic, racial, sexual, gender, and class intersections between queer Chicana and U.S. Latinas, Danielson explores the multiple ways identity shapes and shades creative expression. Weaknesses and gaps are revealed in the treatment of difference as a whole, within dominant and marginalized communities.

Spanning multiple genres and forms, and including scholarly theory alongside performances, films, narratives, and testimonials, Homecoming Queers leads readers along a crucial path toward understanding and overcoming the silences that previously existed across these fields.

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House of Incest
Anaïs Nin
Ohio University Press, 1958

With an introduction by Allison Pease, this new edition of House of Incest is a lyrical journey into the subconscious mind of one of the most celebrated feminist writers of the twentieth-century.

Originally published in 1936,  House of Incest  is Anaïs Nin’s first work of fiction. Based on Nin’s dreams, the novel is a surrealistic look within the narrator’s subconscious as she attempts to distance herself from a series of all-consuming and often taboo desires she cannot bear to let go. The incest Nin depicts is a metaphor—a selfish love wherein a woman can appreciate only qualities in a lover that are similar to her own. Through a descriptive exploration of romances and attractions between women, between a sister and her beloved brother, and with a Christ-like man, Nin’s narrator discovers what she thinks is truth: that a woman’s most perfect love is of herself. At first, this self-love seems ideal because it is attainable without fear and risk of heartbreak. But in time, the narrator’s chosen isolation and self-possessed anguish give way to a visceral nightmare from which she is unable to wake.

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In the Desert of Desire
Las Vegas and the Culture of Spectacle
William L. Fox
University of Nevada Press, 2007

Las Vegas, says William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds in satisfying our fantasies of wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, Fox examines how Las Vegas’s culture of spectacle has obscured the boundaries between high art and entertainment extravaganza, nature and fantasy, for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. His purview ranges from casino art galleries—including Steve Wynn’s private collection and a branch of the famed Guggenheim Museum—to the underfunded Las Vegas Art Museum; from spectacular casino animal collections like those of magicians Siegfried and Roy and Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef exhibit to the city’s lack of support for a viable public zoo; from the environmental and psychological impact of lavish water displays in the arid desert to the artistic ambiguities intrinsic to Las Vegas’s floating world of showgirls, lapdancers, and ballet divas. That Las Vegas represents one of the world’s most opulent displays of private material wealth in all its forms, while providing miserly funding for local public amenities like museums and zoos, is no accident, Fox maintains. Nor is it unintentional that the city’s most important collections of art and exotic fauna are presented in the context of casino entertainment, part of the feast of sensation and excitement that seduces millions of visitors each year. Instead, this phenomenon shows how our insatiable modern appetite for extravagance and spectacle has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us, and demonstrates the way our society privileges private benefit over public good. Given that Las Vegas has been a harbinger of national cultural trends, Fox’s commentary offers prescient insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America.

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Inaugural Wounds
The Shaping of Desire in Five Nineteenth-Century English Narratives
Robert E. Lougy
Ohio University Press, 2004

Desire, Jacques Lacan suggests, is a condition or expression of our wounded nature. But because such desire is also unconscious, it can be expressed only indirectly, for what we consciously desire is hardly ever what we really want. Desire makes itself known, but disguises its presence—appearing, for example, in unconscious but repetitive, and sometimes even self-destructive, patterns of behavior.

Informed by the voices of Freud and Lacan regarding the nature of language and desire, Inaugural Wounds examines the ways in which five major nineteenth-century English writers explored the trajectories and shapes of desire. Arguing that we need to give to novels the same kind of close scrutiny we give to poetry, author Robert Lougy suggests that when we do so, we discover that they often astound us by the resonance and range of their language, as well as by their ability to take us to strange and haunting places.

The five narratives examined—Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit, William Thackeray’s Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure—testify to the mysterious origins of desire. Although each of the novels tells its own story in its own way, they share a fascination with the nature of desire itself.

Drawing upon recent work that has challenged historicist approaches toward nineteenth-century British literature, Professor Lougy uses the insights of psychoanalysis to enable us to more fully appreciate the depth and power of these novels. Of great value to Victorian and psychoanalytic scholars, Inaugural Wounds will be useful for teaching undergraduates as well.

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Instruments of Desire
The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience
Steve Waksman
Harvard University Press, 2001

Around 1930, a group of guitar designers in Southern California fitted instruments with an electromagnetic device called a pickup--and forever changed the face of popular music. Taken up by musicians as diverse as Les Paul, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, and the MC5, the electric guitar would become not just a conduit of electrifying new sounds but also a symbol of energy, innovation, and desire in the music of the day. Instruments of Desire is the first full account of the historical and cultural significance of the electric guitar, a wide-ranging exploration of how and why the instrument has had such broad musical and cultural impact.

Instruments of Desire ranges across the history of the electric guitar by focusing on key performers who have shaped the use and meaning of the instrument: Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, the MC5, and Led Zeppelin. The book traces two competing ideals for the sound of the instrument: one, focusing on tonal purity, has been favored by musicians seeking to integrate the electric guitar into the existing conventions of pop music; the other, centering on timbral distortion, has been used to challenge popular notions of "acceptable" and "unacceptable" noise. Instruments of Desire reveals how these different approaches to sound also entail different ideas about the place of the body in musical performance, the ways in which music articulates racialized and gendered identities, and the position of popular music in American social and political life.

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An Interpretation of Desire
Essays in the Study of Sexuality
John Gagnon
University of Chicago Press, 2003
An Interpretation of Desire offers a bracing collection of major essays by John Gagnon, one of the leading and most inspiring figures in sexual research. Spanning his work from the 1970s, when he explored the idea that sexuality is mediated through social processes and categories—thus paving the way for Foucault—and then extending through his turn to issues of desire during the 1990s, these essays constitute an essential entrée to the study of sexuality in the twentieth century.

Gagnon may be best known as the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a book that introduced the seminal concept of sexual scripting—and as one of the coauthors of The Social Organization of Sexuality, a foundational work that is widely considered to be the most important study of human sexual behavior since the Kinsey report. The essays collected here first trace the influence of scripting theory on Gagnon, outlining the radical departure he took from the dominant biological and psychiatric models of sex research. The volume then turns to more recent essays that consider such vexed issues as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, hazardous sex, and the social aspects of sexually transmitted diseases.
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Intimate Domain
Desire, Trauma, and Mimetic Theory
Martha J. Reineke
Michigan State University Press, 2014
For René Girard, human life revolves around mimetic desire, which regularly manifests itself in acquisitive rivalry when we find ourselves wanting an object because another wants it also. Noting that mimetic desire is driven by our sense of inadequacy or insufficiency, Girard arrives at a profound insight: our desire is not fundamentally directed toward the other’s object but toward the other’s being. We perceive the other to possess a fullness of being we lack. Mimetic desire devolves into violence when our quest after the being of the other remains unfulfilled. So pervasive is mimetic desire that Girard describes it as an ontological illness. In Intimate Domain, Reineke argues that it is necessary to augment Girard’s mimetic theory if we are to give a full account of the sickness he describes. Attending to familial dynamics Girard has overlooked and reclaiming aspects of his early theorizing on sensory experience, Reineke utilizes psychoanalytic theory to place Girard’s mimetic theory on firmer ground. Drawing on three exemplary narratives—Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Sophocles’s Antigone, and Julia Kristeva’s The Old Man and the Wolves—the author explores familial relationships. Together, these narratives demonstrate that a corporeal hermeneutics founded in psychoanalytic theory can usefully augment Girard’s insights, thereby ensuring that mimetic theory remains a definitive resource for all who seek to understand humanity’s ontological illness and identify a potential cure.
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Islamicate Sexualities
Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire
Kathryn Babayan
Harvard University Press, 2008

Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire explores different genealogies of sexuality and questions some of the theoretical emphases and epistemic assumptions affecting current histories of sexuality. Concerned with the dynamic interplay between cultural constructions of gender and sexuality, the anthology moves across disciplinary fields, integrating literary criticism with social and cultural history, and establishes a dialogue between historians (Kathryn Babayan, Frédéric Lagrange, Afsaneh Najmabadi, and Everett Rowson), comparative literary scholars (Sahar Amer and Leyla Rouhi), and critical theorists of sexualities (Valerie Traub, Brad Epps, and Dina al-Kassim).

As a whole, the anthology challenges Middle Eastern Studies with questions that have arisen in recent studies of sexualities, bringing into conversation Euro-American scholarship of sexuality with that of scholars engaged in studies of sexualities across a vast cultural (Iberian, Arabic, and Iranian) and temporal field (from the tenth century to the medieval and the modern).

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Just Care
Messy Entanglements of Disability, Dependency, and Desire
Akemi Nishida
Temple University Press, 2022

Just Care is Akemi Nishida’s thoughtful examination of care injustice and social justice enabled through care. The current neoliberal political economy has turned care into a business opportunity for the healthcare industrial complex and a mechanism of social oppression and control. Nishida analyzes the challenges people negotiate whether they are situated as caregivers, receivers, or both. Also illuminated is how people with disabilities come together to assemble community care collectives and bed activism (resistance and visions emerging from the space of bed) to reimagine care as a key element for social change.

The structure of care, Nishida writes, is deeply embedded in and embodies the cruel social order—based on disability, race, gender, migration status, and wealth—that determines who survives or deteriorates. Simultaneously, many marginalized communities treat care as the foundation of activism. Using interviews, focus groups, and participant observation with care workers and people with disabilities, Just Care looks into lives unfolding in the assemblage of Medicaid long-term care programs, community-based care collectives, and bed activism. Just Care identifies what care does, and asks: How can we activate care justice or just care where people feel cared affirmatively and care being used for the wellbeing of community and for just world making?

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Keith Haring's Line
Race and the Performance of Desire
Ricardo Montez
Duke University Press, 2020
In the thirty years since his death, Keith Haring—a central presence on the New York downtown scene of the 1980s—has remained one of the most popular figures in contemporary American art. In one of the first book-length treatments of Haring’s artistry, Ricardo Montez traces the drawn and painted line that was at the center of Haring’s artistic practice and with which the artist marked canvases, subway walls, and even human flesh. Keith Haring’s Line unites performance studies, critical race studies, and queer theory in an exploration of cross-racial desire in Haring’s life and art. Examining Haring’s engagements with artists such as dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, graffiti artist LA II, and iconic superstar Grace Jones, Montez confronts Haring’s messy relationships to race-making and racial imaginaries, highlighting scenes of complicity in order to trouble both the positive connotations of inter-racial artistic collaboration and the limited framework of appropriation. 
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Knots, or the Violence of Desire in Renaissance Florence
Emanuele Lugli
University of Chicago Press, 2023
An interdisciplinary study of hair through the art, philosophy, and science of fifteenth-century Florence.

In this innovative cultural history, hair is the portal through which Emanuele Lugli accesses the cultural production of Lorenzo il Magnifico’s Florence. Lugli reflects on the ways writers, doctors, and artists expressed religious prejudices, health beliefs, and gender and class subjugation through alluring works of art, in medical and political writings, and in poetry. He considers what may have compelled Sandro Botticelli, the young Leonardo da Vinci, and dozens of their contemporaries to obsess over braids, knots, and hairdos by examining their engagement with scientific, philosophical, and theological practices.
 
By studying hundreds of fifteenth-century documents that engage with hair, Lugli foregrounds hair’s association to death and gathers insights about human life at a time when Renaissance thinkers redefined what it meant to be human and to be alive. Lugli uncovers overlooked perceptions of hair when it came to be identified as a potential vector for liberating culture, and he corrects a centuries-old prejudice that sees hair as a trivial subject, relegated to passing fashion or the decorative. He shows hair, instead, to be at the heart of Florentine culture, whose inherent violence Lugli reveals by prompting questions about the entanglement of politics and desire.
 
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Land and Desire in Early Zionism
Boaz Neumann
Brandeis University Press, 2011
This innovative study examines the responses of early-twentieth-century pioneers to “the Land” of Palestine. Early Zionist historiography portrayed these young settlers as heroic; later, more critical studies by the “new” historians and sociologists focused on their failures and shortcomings. Neumann argues for something else that historians have yet to identify—desire. Desire for the Land and a visceral identification with it begin to explain the pioneer experience and its impact on Israeli history and collective memory, as well as on Israelis’ abiding connection to the Land of Israel. His close readings of archival documents, memoirs, diaries, poetry, and prose of the period develop new understandings—many of them utterly surprising—of the Zionist enterprise. For Neumann, the Zionist revolution was an existential revolution: for the pioneers, to be in the Land of Israel was to be!
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Landscape Of Desire
Greg Gordon
Utah State University Press, 2003

Landscape of Desire powerfully documents and celebrates a place and the evolutions that occur when human beings are intimately connected to their surroundings. Greg Gordon accomplishes this with a tapestry of writing that interweaves land use history, natural history, experiential education, and personal reflection. He tracks the geomorphology of southern Utah as well as the creatures and plants his student group encounters, the history lessons (planned and unplanned), the trials and joys of gathering so many individuals into a cohesive will, and his own personal epiphanies, restraints, insights, and disillusionments.

Landscape of Desire examines the plight of the western landscape. It discusses a wide range of issues, including mining, grazing, dams, recreation, wilderness, and land management. Since recreation has replaced extraction industries as the primary use of wilderness, especially in southern Utah, Gordon addresses its impactful qualities. He overviews the history of the conflict between preservation and development and places these issues in a cultural context. The text is presented in a narrative format, following the individuals of one field course Gordon lead that explored Muddy Creek and the Dirty Devil River from Interstate 70 to Lake Powell. Though each chapter focuses on the geologic formation the group is traveling through, the plants, animals, ecology, and human impacts are all tightly woven into the narrative. Not only does the land affect the members of the field course, but their attitudes and insights affect the land.

In Landscape of Desire Gordon achieves a vision of wholeness of this popular and contested region of Utah that centers around the implications of being human and also stewards of the wild.

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Lesbian Death
Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer
Mairead Sullivan
University of Minnesota Press, 2022

Engaging with fears of lesbian death to explore the value of lesbian beyond identity
 

The loss of lesbian spaces, as well as ideas of the lesbian as anachronistic has called into question the place of lesbian identity within our current culture. In Lesbian Death, Mairead Sullivan probes the perception that lesbian status is in retreat, exploring the political promises—and especially the failures—of lesbian feminism and its usefulness today. 

Lesbian Death reads how lesbian is conceptualized in relation to death from the 1970s onward to argue that lesbian offers disruptive potential. Lesbian Death examines the rise of lesbian breast cancer activism in San Francisco in conversation with ACT UP, the lesbian separatist manifestos “The C.L.I.T. Papers,” the enduring specter of lesbian bed death, and the weaponization of lesbian identity against trans lives. 

By situating the lesbian as a border figure between feminist and queer, Lesbian Death offers a fresh perspective on the value of lesbian for both feminist and queer projects, even if her value is her death. 

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Lesbian Rule
Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire
Amy Villarejo
Duke University Press, 2003
With hair slicked back and shirt collar framing her young patrician face, Katherine Hepburn's image in the 1935 film Sylvia Scarlett was seen by many as a lesbian representation. Yet, Amy Villarejo argues, there is no final ground upon which to explain why that image of Hepburn signifies lesbian or why such a cross-dressing Hollywood fantasy edges into collective consciousness as a lesbian narrative. Investigating what allows viewers to perceive an image or narrative as "lesbian," Villarejo presents a theoretical exploration of lesbian visibility. Focusing on images of lesbians in film, she analyzes what these representations contain and their limits. She combines Marxist theories of value with poststructuralist insights to argue that lesbian visibility operates simultaneously as an achievement and a ruse, a possibility for building a new visual politics and away of rendering static and contained what lesbian might mean.
Integrating cinema studies, queer and feminist theory, and cultural studies, Villarejo illuminates the contexts within which the lesbian is rendered visible. Toward that end, she analyzes key portrayals of lesbians in public culture, particularly in documentary film. She considers a range of films—from documentaries about Cuba and lesbian pulp fiction to Exile Shanghai and The Brandon Teena Story—and, in doing so, brings to light a nuanced economy of value and desire.
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The Light of Desire
La Luz del Deseo
Marjorie Agosín
Swan Isle Press, 2009

Marjorie Agosín’s intensely personal long poem The Light of Desire is both a secular and sacred meditation on love and its meanings in the land of Israel. Following the tradition of the Song of Songs and the secular poetry of Sepharad, the beloved in The Light of Desire is both physical and metaphorical. The lovers’ bodies are the paths, the geography, leading not only from desire to sensual pleasure, but to memory and illumination. The light on the pink stones of Jerusalem, the sunlight of Galilee, from hills to the sea, the fragrant air and “mantle of stars,” all become one in this tender, rhapsodic expression of longing and desire. This is not unrequited love, but rather a reciprocal passion that brings exquisite pleasure, pain, a sense of fragility, and the hope and belief in that which is eternal.

The poem was written over a four-year span in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood, overlooking the wall of the Second Temple, and these hallowed surroundings imbued Agosín’s poetic voice. Lori Marie Carlson’s sensitive translation maintains the spirit of the original Spanish in this bilingual edition.

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The Logic of Desire
Aquinas on Emotion
Nicholas E. Lombardo, O.P.
Catholic University of America Press, 2011
Focusing on the Summa theologiae, Nicholas Lombardo contributes to the recovery, reconstruction, and critique of Aquinas's account of emotion in dialogue with both the Thomist tradition and contemporary analytic philosophy
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Lost in the City
Tree of Desire and Serafin: Two novels by Ignacio Solares
By Ignacio Solares
University of Texas Press, 1998

Cristina, the young protagonist of Tree of Desire, and her little brother Joaquín run away from a home that is outwardly normal, but inwardly disfunctional. Lost on the streets of Mexico City, they confront some of the most terrifying aspects of city life. Or is it all a dream? The story suggests, without confirming, that sexual abuse has driven Cristina to her desperate escape. But is it an escape? Are they awakening from a dream, or reentering a nightmare?

Serafín, too, is lost in the city. Searching for his father who has deserted the family, he is virtually helpless amid the city dangers. Serafín finds compassion in surprising places, but will he survive to return to his mother and their rural village?

These two novels by one of Mexico's premier writers illuminate many aspects of contemporary Mexican life. Solares describes Mexico's different social classes with Dickensian realism. His focus on young protagonists, unusual in Mexican literature, opens a window onto problems of children's vulnerability that know no national borders. At the same time, his use of elements of the fantastic and the paranormal, and his evocative writing style, make reading his novels a most pleasurable experience.

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Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Egypt
Navigating the Margins of Respectability
By L. L. Wynn
University of Texas Press, 2018

Cairo is a city obsessed with honor and respectability—and love affairs. Sara, a working-class woman, has an affair with a married man and becomes pregnant, only to be abandoned by him; Ayah and Zeid, a respectably engaged couple, argue over whether Ayah’s friend is a prostitute or a virgin; Malak, a European belly dancer who sometimes gets paid for sex, wants to be loved by a man who won’t treat her like a whore just because she’s a dancer; and Alia, a Christian banker who left her abusive husband, is the mistress of a wealthy Muslim man, Haroun, who encourages business by hosting risqué parties for other men and their mistresses.

Set in transnational Cairo over two decades, Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Egypt is an ethnography that explores female respectability, male honor, and Western theories and fantasies about Arab society. L. L. Wynn uses stories of love affairs to interrogate three areas of classic anthropological theory: mimesis, kinship, and gift. She develops a broad picture of how individuals love and desire within a cultural and political system that structures the possibilities of, and penalties for, going against sexual and gender norms. Wynn demonstrates that love is at once a moral horizon, an attribute that “naturally” inheres in particular social relations, a social phenomenon strengthened through cultural concepts of gift and kinship, and an emotion deeply felt and desired by individuals.

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The Making of an Artist
Desire, Courage, and Commitment
Kristin G. Congdon
Intellect Books, 2018
What drives an artist to create? And are there common traits that successful artists possess? In The Making of an Artist, Kristin G. Congdon draws on her years of studying and teaching art at all levels—from universities to correctional settings—to identify three traits that are regularly found in successful artists: desire, courage, and commitment. In this collection Congdon explores each of those traits, as well as giving ethnographic case studies of six visual artists from diverse backgrounds and locations whose practices embody them. Marrying the work of biography, journalism, sociology, and psychology, the book opens up the often mysterious process of making art, showing us how those characteristics play into it, as well as how other factors, such as trauma, madness, class, and gender, affect the ways that people approach the creative process.

​Powerfully insightful and fully accessible, The Making of an Artist will be an invaluable resource for practicing artists, those just setting out on artistic careers, and art teachers alike.
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Man to Man
Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood
Mark Masterson
The Ohio State University Press, 2014
In an analysis that promises to be controversial, Man to Man: Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood surveys the presence of same-sex desire between men in the later Roman empire. Most accounts of recent years have either noted that sexual desire between men was forbidden or they have ignored it. This book argues that desire between men was known and that it was a way to express friendship, patronage, solidarity, and other important relationships among elite males in late antiquity. The evocation of this desire and its possible attendant corporeal satisfactions made it a compelling metaphor for friendship. A man’s grandeur could also be portrayed metaphorically as sexual attractiveness, and the substantial status differences often seen in late antiquity could be ameliorated by a superior using amatory language to address an inferior.
 
At the same time, however, there was a marked ambivalence about same-sex desire and sexual behavior between men, and indeed same-sex sexual behavior was criminalized as it had never been before. While rejection and condemnation may seem to indicate a decisive distancing between authority and this desire and behavior, authority gained power from maintaining a relation to them. Demonstrating knowledge of the actual mechanics of sex between men suggested to a witness that there was nothing unknown to the authority making the demonstration: authority that knew of scandalous masculine sexual pleasure could project its power pretty much anywhere.
 
This startling dissonance between positive uses of same-sex desire between men and its criminalization in one and the same moment—a dissonance which recent discussions have been unable to address—requires further investigation, and this book supplies it.
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Mi-Lou
Poetry and the Labyrinth of Desire
Stephen Owen
Harvard University Press, 1989

Mi-Lou is literally “The Palace of Going Astray,” a pleasure labyrinth built by a Chinese emperor in the early seventh century; whoever entered the Mi-Lou became so entranced that he never wanted to leave. On that architectural model, Stephen Owen's new book explores poetry from various cultures and historical periods, addressing issues of eros in both Chinese and Western poetry, putting poems together that have no right to be together but are somehow more vivid for their conjunction.

In passing from poem to poem, Mi-Lou: Poetry and the Labyrinth of Desire traces the hopes of lyric poetry, along with its compromises and failures. It begins with poems that try to seduce us, to catch us up in their world with visions that provoke desire, an intent embodied in the courtship poem. Owen's work strays through fantasies of replacement and comes finally to Eden and visions of nakedness, both of body and heart. If there is to be a comparative literature that goes beyond the familiar works of the European tradition, illicit conjunctions of works from strange and familiar, ancient and recent writings must be made—otherwise, works that are foreign to the traditional categories will be forced into categories not their own, or left aside as exotic minorities. Mi-Lou's success will not be in any conceptual structure it proposes, but in the pleasure of the poems and the pleasure of slowing down to reflect upon them.

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Mimesis, Desire, and the Novel
Rene Girard and Literary Criticism
Pierpaolo Antonello
Michigan State University Press, 2015
Fifty years after its publication in English, René Girard’s Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965) has never ceased to fascinate, challenge, inspire, and sometimes irritate, literary scholars. It has become one of the great classics of literary criticism, and the notion of triangular desire is now part of the theoretical parlance among critics and students. It also represents the genetic starting point for what has become one of the most encompassing, challenging, and far-reaching theories conceived in the humanities in the last century: mimetic theory. This book provides a forum for new generations of scholars and critics to reassess, challenge, and expand the theoretical and hermeneutical reach of key issues brought forward by Girard’s book, including literary knowledge, realism and representation, imitation and the anxiety of influence, metaphysical desire, deviated transcendence, literature and religious experience, individualism and modernity, and death and resurrection. It also provides a more extensive and detailed historical understanding of the representation of desire, imitation, and rivalry within European and world literature, from Dante to Proust and from Dickens to Jonathan Littell.
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On the Desire to Levitate
Poems
Alison Powell
Ohio University Press, 2014

On the Desire to Levitate is the first collection of poems by Alison Powell. This striking collection includes vivid, unflinching meditations on aging, mythology, poetry, and family. In tight, elegant lines that alternate between homage and elegy, these poems explore known subjects with a rebellious eye: a defeated Hercules and a bitter Eurydice, a sympathetic Lucifer, and generations of adolescent girls as mythical adventurers moving within a beloved but confining Midwest. Yet in Powell’s skillful hands, hardship never overtakes: as judge Charles Hood writes, “There’s often a delicious humor in this work, and always a deep and lasting integrity.”

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Our Deep Gossip
Conversations with Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire
Christopher Hennessy; Foreword by Christopher Bram
University of Wisconsin Press, 2013
From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.
            While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.
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Out of Time
Desire in Atemporal Cinema
Todd McGowan
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
In Out of Time, Todd McGowan takes as his starting point the emergence of a temporal aesthetic in cinema that arose in response to the digital era. Linking developments in cinema to current debates within philosophy, McGowan claims that films that change the viewer’s relation to time constitute a new cinematic mode: atemporal cinema.
 
In atemporal cinema, formal distortions of time introduce spectators to an alternative way of experiencing existence in time—or, more exactly, a way of experiencing existence out of time. McGowan draws on contemporary psychoanalysis, particularly Jacques Lacan, to argue that atemporal cinema unfolds according to the logic of the psychoanalytic notion of the drive rather than that of desire, which has conventionally been the guiding concept of psychoanalytic film studies.
 
Despite their thematic diversity, these films distort chronological time with a shared motivation: to reveal the logic of repetition. Like psychoanalysis, McGowan contends, the atemporal mode locates enjoyment in the embrace of repetition rather than in the search for the new and different.
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The Path of Desire
Living Tantra in Northeast India
Hugh B. Urban
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A provocative study of contemporary Tantra as a dynamic living tradition.
 
Tantra, one of the most important religious currents in South Asia, is often misrepresented as little more than ritualized sex. Through a mixture of ethnography and history, Hugh B. Urban reveals a dynamic living tradition behind the sensationalist stories. Urban shows that Tantric desire goes beyond the erotic, encompassing such quotidian experiences as childbearing and healing. He traces these holistic desires through a series of unique practices: institutional Tantra centered on gurus and esoteric rituals; public Tantra marked by performance and festival; folk Tantra focused on magic and personal well-being; and popular Tantra imagined in fiction, film, and digital media. The result is a provocative new description of Hindu Tantra that challenges us to approach religion as something always entwined with politics and culture, thoroughly entangled with ordinary needs and desires.
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Pathways of Desire
The Sexual Migration of Mexican Gay Men
Héctor Carrillo
University of Chicago Press, 2017
With Pathways of Desire, Héctor Carrillo brings us into the lives of Mexican gay men who have left their home country to pursue greater sexual autonomy and sexual freedom in the United States. The groundbreaking ethnographic study brings our attention to the full arc of these men’s migration experiences, from their upbringing in Mexican cities and towns, to their cross-border journeys, to their incorporation into urban gay communities in American cities, and their sexual and romantic relationships with American men. These men’s diverse and fascinating stories demonstrate the intertwining of sexual, economic, and familial motivations for migration.

Further, Carrillo shows that sexual globalization must be regarded as a bidirectional, albeit uneven, process of exchange between countries in the global north and the global south. With this approach, Carrillo challenges the view that gay men from countries like Mexico would logically want to migrate to a “more sexually enlightened” country like the United States—a partial and limited understanding, given the dynamic character of sexuality in countries such as Mexico, which are becoming more accepting of sexual diversity. Pathways of Desire also provides a helpful analytical framework for the simultaneous consideration of structural and cultural factors in social scientific studies of sexuality.  Carrillo explains the patterns of cross-cultural interaction that sexual migration generates and—at the most practical level—shows how the intricacies of cross-cultural sexual and romantic relations may affect the sexual health and HIV risk of transnational immigrant populations.
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Philosopher Fish
Sturgeon, Caviar, and the Geography of Desire
Richard Adams Carey
Brandeis University Press, 2024
An updated new edition of Richard Adams Carey’s illuminating journey across the globe to uncover the secrets of the sturgeon.
 
From the acclaimed eco-journalist Rick Carey comes a fascinating chronicle of a fast-disappearing fish—and of the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on it. Since the days of the Persian Empire, caviar has trumpeted status, wealth, prestige, and sex appeal. In this remarkable journey to caviar’s source, Carey immerses himself in the world of the sturgeon, the fish that lays these golden eggs. The sturgeon has a fascinating biological past—and a very uncertain future. Sturgeon populations worldwide have declined seventy percent in the last twenty years. Meanwhile, the beluga sturgeon, producer of the most coveted caviar, has climbed to number four on the World Wildlife Fund’s most-endangered species list. A high-stakes cocktail of business, crime, diplomacy, technology, and the dilemmas of conservation, The Philosopher Fish is the epic story of a 250-million-year-old fish struggling to survive.
 
This new edition includes new chapters bringing up to date the story of this elusive and mysterious fish, and the people involved with both preserving and exploiting it.
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Politics, Desire, and the Hollywood Novel
Chip Rhodes
University of Iowa Press, 2008
The story of what happens when a serious writer goes to Hollywood has become a cliché: the writer is paid well but underappreciated, treated like a factory worker, and forced to write bad, formulaic movies. Most fail, become cynical, drink to excess, and at some point write a bitter novel that attacks the film industry in the name of high art. Like many too familiar stories, this one neither holds up to the facts nor helps us understand Hollywood novels. Instead, Chip Rhodes argues, these novels tell us a great deal about the ways that Hollywood has shaped both the American political landscape and American definitions of romance and desire.

Rhodes considers how novels about the film industry changed between the studio era of the 1930s and 1940s and the era of deregulated film making that has existed since the 1960s. He asserts that Americans are now driven by cultural, rather than class, differences and that our mainstream notion of love has gone from repressed desire to “abnormal desire” to, finally, strictly business.

Politics, Desire, and the Hollywood Novel pays close attention to six authors—Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, Budd Schulberg, Joan Didion, Bruce Wagner, and Elmore Leonard—who have toiled in the film industry and written to tell about it. More specifically, Rhodes considers both screenplays and novels with an eye toward the different formulations of sexuality, art, and ultimately political action that exist in these two kinds of storytelling.
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Praying Naked
Katie Condon
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
Through language both reverent and reckless, Katie Condon’s debut collection renders the body a hymn. Praying Naked is Eden in the midst of the fall, the meat of the apple sweet as sex. In this collection, God is a hopeless and dangerous flirt, mothers die and are resurrected, and disappointing lovers run like hell for the margins. With effortless swagger and confessional candor, Condon lays bare the thrill of lust and its subsequent shame. In poems brimming with “the desire / to be desired” by men, by God, by lovers’ other women, by oneself, she renders a world in which wildflowers are coated in ash and dark bedrooms flicker with the blue light of longing. The speaker implores like an undressed wound: “is it wrong to feel a hurt kind of beautiful?” Ecstatic and incisive, Praying Naked is a daring sexual and spiritual reckoning by a breathtaking new poet.
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Presence and Desire
Essays on Gender, Sexuality, Performance
Jill Dolan
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Explores current controversies and significant concerns in feminist theater and performance
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Prison Cultures
Performance, Resistance and Desire
Aylwyn Walsh
Intellect Books, 2023
The first systematic examination of women in prison and performances in and of the institution.

Using a feminist approach to reach beyond tropes of “bad girls” and simplistic inside vs. outside dynamics, Prison Cultures examines how cultural products can perpetuate or disrupt hegemonic understandings of the world of prisons. Focusing primarily on the UK and using examples from pop cultures, the book identifies how and why prison functions as a fixed field and postulates new ways of viewing performances in and of prison that trouble the institution. A new contribution to the fields of feminist cultural criticism and prison studies, Aylwyn Walsh explores how the development of a theory of resistance and desire is central to the understanding of women’s incarceration. It problematizes the prevalence of purely literary analysis or case studies that proffer particular models of arts practice as transformative of offending behavior.
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Promised Lands
Edited by Derek Rubin
Brandeis University Press, 2010
This vibrant anthology showcases new, unpublished short stories by a rapidly growing crop of highly talented young Jewish American fiction writers. Cohering around the core Jewish theme of the Promised Land, all the stories were written especially for this volume. With the kind of depth and imagination that only fiction allows, they offer striking variations on the multivalent theme of the Promised Land and how it continues to shape the collective consciousness of contemporary American Jews. This anthology provides a rich reading experience and a unique window onto Jewish American life and culture at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A scholarly introduction by Derek Rubin provides literary context, discusses the organization of the volume, and illuminates expected and unexpected connections among the stories. Promised Lands features 23 stories by Elisa Albert, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Janice Eidus, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Lauren Grodstein, Aaron Hamburger, Dara Horn, Rachel Kadish, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Joan Leegant, Yael Goldstein Love, Rivka Lovett, Tova Mirvis, Lev Raphael, Nessa Rapoport, Jonathan Rosen, Thane Rosenbaum, Joey Rubin, Edward Schwarzschild, Steve Stern, Lara Vapnyar, Adam Wilson, and Jonathan Wilson.
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Race and the Education of Desire
Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things
Ann Laura Stoler
Duke University Press, 1995
Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality has been one of the most influential books of the last two decades. It has had an enormous impact on cultural studies and work across many disciplines on gender, sexuality, and the body. Bringing a new set of questions to this key work, Ann Laura Stoler examines volume one of History of Sexuality in an unexplored light. She asks why there has been such a muted engagement with this work among students of colonialism for whom issues of sexuality and power are so essential. Why is the colonial context absent from Foucault’s history of a European sexual discourse that for him defined the bourgeois self? In Race and the Education of Desire, Stoler challenges Foucault’s tunnel vision of the West and his marginalization of empire. She also argues that this first volume of History of Sexuality contains a suggestive if not studied treatment of race.
Drawing on Foucault’s little-known 1976 College de France lectures, Stoler addresses his treatment of the relationship between biopower, bourgeois sexuality, and what he identified as “racisms of the state.” In this critical and historically grounded analysis based on cultural theory and her own extensive research in Dutch and French colonial archives, Stoler suggests how Foucault’s insights have in the past constrained—and in the future may help shape—the ways we trace the genealogies of race.
Race and the Education of Desire will revise current notions of the connections between European and colonial historiography and between the European bourgeois order and the colonial treatment of sexuality. Arguing that a history of European nineteenth-century sexuality must also be a history of race, it will change the way we think about Foucault.
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Race Gender & Desire
Elliott Butler-Evans
Temple University Press, 1991
"Butler-Evans's work is everywhere sensitive to the nuances of textual disruptions, to subtle shifts of point of view and to rhetorical dissonance. His dense and adroit readings of even the most familiar writings force the reader to reconsider his or her relation to and understanding of the text in question.... An influential contribution to one of the most exciting new areas of literary study and critical/theoretical debate." --Valerie Smith, Princeton University Employing interpretive strategies from semiotics, narratology, feminist theory, and ideological analysis, Elliott Butler-Evans explores the manner in which the politics of race and gender overdetermine the narrative structures of the fiction of Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. He argues that their writing is "often the site of dissonance, ruptures, and...a kind of narrative violence generated by...these two distinctly different, and often contending, expressions of desire." For novelists such as those considered, the identification "black women writers" suggests the ideological duality that both limits and expands the meanings within their literature. After locating the nationalist, black aesthetic, and black feminist discourses in the writings of Morrison, Bambara, and Walker, Butler-Evans argues for a problematic tension between the racial and gender ideologies in the authors' fictions of the 1970s. In a concluding chapter, he demonstrates how the writers' use of post-modern narrative strategies enables them to figure a black feminist ideological position in their fictions of the 1980s. "A work of engaging, challenging scholarship. The critical matrix that informs many of the important issues in contemporary critical/literary theory and a fine understanding of the often-dismissed Black Arts Movement whose suppositions, as he demonstrates, find refiguration in--and are challenged by--the work of Bambara, Morrison, and Walker.... He offers a much-needed study that boldly asserts the appropriateness of poststructuralist Afrocentric/feminist literary analysis. Many scholars are starving for sophisticated theoretical analysis of the brilliant work of Afro American writers such as Morrison, Walker, and Bambara. Butler-Evans's provocative study will provide such readers with much food for though, and may permanently alter the ways in which we read these writers." --Michael Awkward, Center of Afro-American and African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Reading Chican@ Like a Queer
The De-Mastery of Desire
By Sandra K. Soto
University of Texas Press, 2010

A race-based oppositional paradigm has informed Chicano studies since its emergence. In this work, Sandra K. Soto replaces that paradigm with a less didactic, more flexible framework geared for a queer analysis of the discursive relationship between racialization and sexuality. Through rereadings of a diverse range of widely discussed writers—from Américo Paredes to Cherríe Moraga—Soto demonstrates that representations of racialization actually depend on the sexual and that a racialized sexuality is a heretofore unrecognized organizing principle of Chican@ literature, even in the most unlikely texts. Soto gives us a broader and deeper engagement with Chican@ representations of racialization, desire, and both inter- and intracultural social relations.

While several scholars have begun to take sexuality seriously by invoking the rich terrain of contemporary Chicana feminist literature for its portrayal of culturally specific and historically laden gender and sexual frameworks, as well as for its imaginative transgressions against them, this is the first study to theorize racialized sexuality as pervasive to and enabling of the canon of Chican@ literature. Exemplifying the broad usefulness of queer theory by extending its critical tools and anti-heteronormative insights to racialization, Soto stages a crucial intervention amid a certain loss of optimism that circulates both as a fear that queer theory was a fad whose time has passed, and that queer theory is incapable of offering an incisive, politically grounded analysis in and of the current historical moment.

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Regimes of Desire
Young Gay Men, Media, and Masculinity in Tokyo
Thomas Baudinette
University of Michigan Press, 2021

Shinjuku Ni-chōme is a nightlife district in central Tokyo filled with bars and clubs targeting the city’s gay male community. Typically understood as a “safe space” where same-sex attracted men and women from across Japan’s largest city can gather to find support from a relentlessly heteronormative society, Regimes of Desire reveals that the neighborhood may not be as welcoming as previously depicted in prior literature. Through fieldwork observation and interviews with young men who regularly frequent the neighborhood’s many bars, the book reveals that the district is instead a space where only certain performances of gay identity are considered desirable. In fact, the district is highly stratified, with Shinjuku Ni-chōme’s bar culture privileging “hard” masculine identities as the only legitimate expression of gay desire and thus excluding all those men who supposedly “fail” to live up to these hegemonic gendered ideals.

Through careful analysis of media such as pornographic videos, manga comics, lifestyle magazines and online dating services, this book argues that the commercial imperatives of the Japanese gay media landscape and the bar culture of Shinjuku Ni-chōme act together to limit the agency of young gay men so as to better exploit them economically. Exploring the direct impacts of media consumption on the lives of four key informants who frequent the district’s gay bars in search of community, fun and romance, Regimes of Desire reveals the complexity of Tokyo’s most popular “gay town” and intervenes in debates over the changing nature of masculinity in contemporary Japan.

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The Reification of Desire
Toward a Queer Marxism
Kevin Floyd
University of Minnesota Press, 2009
The Reification of Desire takes two critical perspectives rarely analyzed together—formative arguments for Marxism and those that have been the basis for queer theory—and productively scrutinizes these ideas both with and against each other to put forth a new theoretical connection between Marxism and queer studies.

Kevin Floyd brings queer critique to bear on the Marxian categories of reification and totality and considers the dialectic that frames the work of Georg Lukács, Herbert Marcuse, and Fredric Jameson. Reading the work of these theorists together with influential queer work by such figures as Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, and alongside reconsiderations of such texts as The Sun Also Rises and Midnight Cowboy, Floyd reformulates these two central categories that have been inseparable from a key strand of Marxist thought and have marked both its explanatory power and its limitations. Floyd theorizes a dissociation of sexuality from gender at the beginning of the twentieth century in terms of reification to claim that this dissociation is one aspect of a larger dynamic of social reification enforced by capitalism.

Developing a queer examination of reification and totality, Kevin Floyd ultimately argues that the insights of queer theory require a fundamental rethinking of both.
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Return to Warden's Grove
Science, Desire, and the Lives of Sparrows
Christopher Norment
University of Iowa Press, 2008

Based on three seasons of field research in the Canadian Arctic, Christopher Norment's exquisitely crafted meditation on science and nature, wildness and civilization, is marked by bottomless prose, reflection on timeless questions, and keen observations of the world and our place in it. In an era increasingly marked by cutting-edge research at the cellular and molecular level, what is the role for scientists of sympathetic observation? What can patient waiting tell us about ourselves and our place in the world?

His family at home in the American Midwest, Norment spends months on end living in isolation in the Northwest Territories, studying the ecology of the Harris's Sparrow. Although the fourteenth-century German mystic Meister Eckhardt wrote, "God is at home, we are in the far country," Norment argues that an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual "far country" can be found in the lives of animals and arctic wilderness. For Norment, "doing science" can lead to an enriched aesthetic and emotional connection to something beyond the self and a way to develop a sacred sense of place in a world that feels increasingly less welcoming, certain, and familiar. 

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Rough Rider in the White House
Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desire
Sarah Watts
University of Chicago Press, 2003
Who was Theodore Roosevelt? Most of us think of him as one of America's greatest presidents, a champion of progressive politics, and a master statesman. But many feared the political power that Roosevelt wielded. Woodrow Wilson once called him "the most dangerous man of the age." Mark Twain thought him "clearly insane." William James scorned the "flood of bellicose emotion" he let loose during his presidency. Even his biographer, Edmund Morris, is astonished at Roosevelt's "irrational love of battle."

In this book, Sarah Watts probes this dark side of the Rough Rider, presenting a fascinating psychological portrait of a man whose personal obsession with masculinity profoundly influenced the fate of a nation. Drawing on his own writings and on media representations of him, Watts attributes the wide appeal of Roosevelt's style of manhood to the way it addressed the hopes and anxieties of men of his time. Like many of his contemporaries, Roosevelt struggled with what it meant to be a man in the modern era. He saw two foes within himself: a fragile weakling and a primitive beast. The weakling he punished and toughened with rigorous, manly pursuits such as hunting, horseback riding, and war. The beast he unleashed through brutal criticism of homosexuals, immigrants, pacifists, and sissies—anyone who might tarnish the nation's veneer of strength and vigor. With his unabashed paeans to violence and aggressive politics, Roosevelt ultimately offered American men a chance to project their longings and fears onto the nation and its policies. In this way he harnessed the primitive energy of men's desires to propel the march of American civilization—over the bodies of anyone who might stand in its way.

Written with passion and precision, this powerful revisioning of an American icon will forever alter the way we see Theodore Roosevelt and his political legacy.

"A superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world."—Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal

"A thought-provoking and innovative study of the dark side of Roosevelt's personality. . . . [Watt's] arguments are clear, passionate, and thoroughly supported."—Elizabeth A. Bennion, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Sacred Desire
Growing in Compassionate Living
Nancy K. Morrison
Templeton Press, 2009

Is the call to spirituality embedded in human biology? Authors Nancy K. Morrison and Sally K. Severino draw on cutting-edge research, including the recent discovery of brain "mirror neurons" and the elucidation of the physiology of social affiliation and attachment, to make a bold case that we are, in fact, biologically wired to seek oneness with the divine. They have termed this innate urge "sacred Desire."

In their new book on the subject, ,em>Sacred Desire: Growing in Compassionate Living, Morrison and Severino, both highly esteemed academic psychiatrists, draw on neurophysiology, relationship studies, research on spiritual development, and psychotherapy to show how spirituality is intimately connected with our physical being. The authors offer several clinical examples of how recognizing sacred Desire can advance a person's healing and they provide an action plan for using Desire to move from fear to love of self, others, and all creation.

In addition to psychiatrists and neurophysiologists, who will undoubtedly welcome this significant contribution to their fields of study, Sacred Desire is sure to appeal as well to the much wider audience of spiritual seekers looking for intellectually and scientifically credible ways to understand spirituality in today's world.

 

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Sex Ed
Film, Video, and the Framework of Desire
Eberwein, Robert
Rutgers University Press, 1999
In a 1914 movie, Damaged Goods, a doctor shows a character the horrific effects of venereal disease. In contrast, many of today's sex ed videos encourage viewers to realize their sexuality more fully as a source of pleasure. In Sex Ed, Robert Eberwein demonstrates how films and videos used for sex education have provided a complex ideological framework in which questions of sexuality, gender, and race are compellingly foregrounded.

Eberwein starts his investigation in the silent and early sound eras with educational films used both to warn audiences about venereal disease and to provide basic contraception information. World War II movies, he states, waged their own war against venereal disease-in the armed services and at home. Newer works deal with birth control and focus in particular on AIDS.

Sex Ed also highlights the classroom. Eberwein draws connections between the earliest and most recent examples of educational films as he analyzes their ideological complexity. He concludes by examining marriage-manual films of the early 1970s and very recent videos for couples and individuals seeking instruction in sexual techniques to increase pleasure.
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Sexing Empire
Bodies, Gender, and Desire in Colonial and Postcolonial Power Relations
Ben Cowan, Nicole M. Guidotto-Hernández, and Jason Ruiz, special issue editors
Duke University Press

From steamships to steam rooms and sweat lodges to sweatshops, processes of pleasures and desire have shaped the regulation and classification of bodies in a wide variety of colonial settings. On beaches and online, and in boardrooms, temples, and taverns, sexual practices have always influenced imperial power relations. In the many places and relationships where colonialism still affects economics, sex and sexuality remain a driving—if sometimes hidden—force. The contributors to this provocative issue contemplate empire as a global process involving sexualized subjects and objects, with essays that consider the history of sex and (or in) empire across several disciplines. Their topics include a "bewitched" nun in colonial Peru, contemporary call-center workers in the Philippines, and General Douglas MacArthur’s mixed-race Filipina mistress, among many others.

Ben Cowan is assistant professor of world history at George Mason University. Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández is associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries, also published by Duke University Press. Jason Ruiz is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame and the author of Americans in the Treasure House: Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Empire.

Contributors: Laura Briggs, Keith Camacho, Ben Cowan, Emmanuel David, Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández, Elizabeth Mesok, Rachel Sarah O’Toole, Katrina Phillips, Jason Ruiz


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Sexual Fluidity
Understanding Women’s Love and Desire
Lisa M. Diamond
Harvard University Press, 2008
Is love “blind” when it comes to gender? For women, it just might be. This unsettling and original book offers a radical new understanding of the context-dependent nature of female sexuality. Lisa M. Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups, and, most important, different love relationships.This perspective clashes with traditional views of sexual orientation as a stable and fixed trait. But that view is based on research conducted almost entirely on men. Diamond is the first to study a large group of women over time. She has tracked one hundred women for more than ten years as they have emerged from adolescence into adulthood. She summarizes their experiences and reviews research ranging from the psychology of love to the biology of sex differences. Sexual Fluidity offers moving first-person accounts of women falling in and out of love with men or women at different times in their lives. For some, gender becomes irrelevant: “I fall in love with the person, not the gender,” say some respondents.Sexual Fluidity offers a new understanding of women’s sexuality—and of the central importance of love.
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The Sexual Life of English
Languages of Caste and Desire in Colonial India
Shefali Chandra
Duke University Press, 2012
In The Sexual Life of English, Shefali Chandra examines how English became an Indian language. She rejects the idea that English was fully formed before its life in India or that it was imposed from without. Rather, by drawing attention to sexuality and power, Chandra argues that the English language was produced through conflicts over caste, religion, and class. Sentiments and experiences of desire, respectability, conjugality, status, consumption, and fashion came together to create the Indian history of English. The language was shaped by the sexual experiences of Indians and by native attempts to discipline the normative sexual subject. Focusing on the years between 1850 and 1930, Chandra scrutinizes the English-education project as Indians gained the power to direct it themselves. She delves into the history of schools, the composition of the student bodies, and disagreements about curricula; the way that English-educated subjects wrote about English; and debates in English and Marathi popular culture. Chandra shows how concerns over linguistic change were popularly voiced in a sexual idiom, how English and the vernacular were separated through the vocabulary of sexual difference, and how the demand for matrimony naturalized the social location of the English language.
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Shadows in the Sun
Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire
Wade Davis
Island Press, 1998

Wade Davis has been called "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." In Shadows in the Sun, he brings all of those gifts to bear on a fascinating examination of indigenous cultures and the interactions between human societies and the natural world.

Ranging from the British Columbian wilderness to the jungles of the Amazon and the polar ice of the Arctic Circle, Shadows in the Sun is a testament to a world where spirits still stalk the land and seize the human heart. Its essays and stories, though distilled from travels in widely separated parts of the world, are fundamentally about landscape and character, the wisdom of lives drawn directly from the land, the hunger of those who seek to rediscover such understanding, and the consequences of failure.

As Davis explains, "To know that other, vastly different cultures exist is to remember that our world does not exist in some absolute sense but rather is just one model of reality. The Penan in the forests of Borneo, the Vodoun acolytes in Haiti, the jaguar Shaman of Venezuela, teach us that there are other options, other possibilities, other ways of thinking and interacting with the earth." Shadows in the Sun considers those possibilities, and explores their implications for our world.

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Showdown in Desire
The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans
Orissa Arend
University of Arkansas Press, 2009
Showdown in Desire portrays the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the Panthers and the police in the Desire housing development. Through interviews with Malik Rahim, the Panther; Robert H. King, Panther and member of the Angola 3; Larry Preston Williams, the black policeman; Moon Landrieu, the mayor; Henry Faggen, the Desire resident; Robert Glass, the white lawyer; Jerome LeDoux, the black priest; William Barnwell, the white priest; and many others, Orissa Arend tells a nuanced story that unfolds amid guns, tear gas, desperate poverty, oppression, and inflammatory rhetoric to capture the palpable spirit of rebellion, resistance, and revolution of an incendiary summer in New Orleans.
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South Korean Migrants in China
An Ethnography of Education, Desire, and Temporariness
Xiao Ma
Amsterdam University Press, 2024
This book is an ethnographic account of education and migration from the perspective of three groups of South Koreans in contemporary China: migrant parents, children/students, and educational agents. The book reveals how these temporary migrants make choices, plan their trajectories and engage with the authorities, both in China and South Korea. Migrant subjectivities among these groups are driven by and respond to the education-migration regimes of both the sending and receiving countries. As ‘people in between’, they occupy flexible and multiple positionalities that are transnationally distributed. However, paradoxically, they experience a juxtaposition of privilege, integration and separation, which is indicative of the Chinese style of internationalisation. The book adds weight to the argument that China is a temporary destination for foreigners and not one for long-term settlement.
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The Struggle for Hegemony in Pakistan
Fear, Desire and Revolutionary Horizons
Aasim Sajjad-Akhtar
Pluto Press, 2022
'A major analysis of our world's political crisis' - Joel Wainwright

The collapse of neoliberal hegemony in the western world following the financial crash of 2007-8 and subsequent rise of right-wing authoritarian personalities has been described as a crisis of 'the political' in western societies. But the crisis must be seen as global, rather than focusing on the west alone.

Pakistan is experiencing rapid financialization and rapacious capture of natural resources, overseen by the country's military establishment and state bureaucracy. Under their watch, trading and manufacturing interests, property developers and a plethora of mafias have monopolized the provision of basic needs like housing, water and food, whilst also feeding conspicuous consumption by a captive middle-class.

Aasim Sajjad-Akhtar explores neoliberal Pakistan, looking at digital technology in enhancing mass surveillance, commodification and atomization, as well as resistance to the state and capital. Presenting a new interpretation of our global political-economic moment, he argues for an emancipatory political horizon embodied by the 'classless' subject.
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Technology and Desire
The Transgressive Art of Moving Images
Edited by Rania Gaafar and Martin Schulz
Intellect Books, 2014

The spectral realm at the boundaries of images incessantly reveals a desire to see beyond the visible and its medium: screens, frames, public displays, and projection sites in an art context. The impact of new media on art and film has influenced the material histories and performances (be they in theory or practice) of images across the disciplines. Digital technologies have not only shaped post-cinematic media cultures and visual epistemologies, but they are behind a growing shift towards a new realism in theory, art, film, and in the art of the moving image in particular. Technology and Desire examines the performative ontologies of moving images across the genealogies of media and their aesthetic agency in contemporary media and video art, CGI, painting, video games, and installations. Drawing on cultural studies, media and film theory as well as art history to provide exemplary evidence of this shift, this book has as its central theme the question of whether images are predicated upon transgressing the boundaries of their framing—and whether in the course of their existence they develop a life of their own.

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Territory of Desire
Representing the Valley of Kashmir
Ananya Jahanara Kabir
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

Moves beyond traditional analysis to understand the conflict over Kashmir

A result of territorial disputes between India and Pakistan since 1947, exacerbated by armed freedom movements since 1989, the ongoing conflict over Kashmir is consistently in the news. Taking a unique multidisciplinary approach, Territory of Desire asks how, and why, Kashmir came to be so intensely desired within Indian, Pakistani, and Kashmiri nationalistic imaginations. Literary historian Ananya Jahanara Kabir finds an answer to this question in the Valley of Kashmir’s repeated portrayal as a “special” place and the missing piece of Pakistan and India.

Analyzing the conversion of natural beauty into collective desire—through photography, literature, cinema, art, and souvenir production—Kabir exposes the links between colonialism, modernity, and conflict within the postcolonial nation. Representations of Kashmir as a space of desire emerge in contemporary film, colonial “taming” of the valley through nineteenth-century colonialist travelogues, the fetishization of traditional Kashmiri handicrafts like papier maché, and Pandit and Muslim religious revivalisms in the region. Linking a violent modernity to the fantasies of nationhood, Kabir proposes nonmilitaristic ways in which such desire may be overcome. In doing so she offers an innovative approach to complex and protracted conflict and, ultimately, its resolution.
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Thomas Hardy
Distance and Desire
J. Hillis Miller
Harvard University Press, 1970
In this provocative and original study of Hardy's poems and novels, Mr. Miller probes a number of the interrelated motifs that dominate Hardy's work, examining his detachment from the world around him and his subsequent commitment to a fictional reality related obliquely to that world. This double impulse of detachment and involvement constitutes for Mr. Miller the key to Hardy's art—the simultaneous "distance" and "desire" of the book's subtitle. Mr. Miller also relates Hardy's work to nineteenth- and twentieth-century thought and to the form of Victorian fiction. In unfolding his views about Hardy's craft through a distilling of common characteristics in the poems and novels, he sharpens the reader's sense of Hardy the man, presenting him as a convincing psychological entity.
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Wallace Stevens
Words Chosen Out of Desire
Helen Vendler
Harvard University Press, 1986
In this graceful book, Helen Vendler brings her remarkable skills to bear on a number of Stevens’s short poems. She shows us that this most intellectual of poets is in fact the most personal of poets; that his words are not devoted to epistemological questions alone but are also “words chosen out of desire.”
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What The Body Cost
Desire, History, And Performance
Jane Blocker
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

Reexamines rebelliousness and desire in the history of performance art

Because performance is by its very nature ephemeral, it elicits a desire for what is lost more than any other form of art making. But what is the nature of that desire, and on what models has it been structured? How has it affected the ways in which the history of performance art gets told?

In What the Body Cost, Jane Blocker revisits key works in performance art by Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci, Hannah Wilke, Yves Klein, Ana Mendieta, and others to challenge earlier critiques that characterize performance, or body art, as a purely revolutionary art form and fail to recognize its reactionary—and sometimes damaging—effects. The scholarship to date on performance art has not, she finds, gone far enough in locating the body at the center of the performance, nor has it acknowledged the psychic, emotional, or social costs exacted on that body. Drawing on the work of critical theorists such as Roland Barthes and Catherine Belsey, as well as queer theory and feminism, What the Body Cost reads against patriarchal and heteronormative tendencies in art history while providing a corrective to the established view that performance art is necessarily transgressive. Instead, Blocker suggests that the historiography of performance art is a postmodern lovers’s discourse in which practitioners, historians, and critics alike fervently seek the body while doubting it can ever be found.
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When the Lamp is Shattered
Desire and Narrative in Catullus
Michaela Janan
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993

The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West.

Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader’s desire for narrative closure.

Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan.

The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking down—a time not unlike our own. Catullus’ poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan’s book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.

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Wild Things
The Disorder of Desire
Jack Halberstam
Duke University Press, 2020
In Wild Things Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the twentieth century. Halberstam theorizes the wild as an unbounded and unpredictable space that offers sources of opposition to modernity's orderly impulses. Wildness illuminates the normative taxonomies of sexuality against which radical queer practice and politics operate. Throughout, Halberstam engages with a wide variety of texts, practices, and cultural imaginaries—from zombies, falconry, and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and the career of Irish anticolonial revolutionary Roger Casement—to demonstrate how wildness provides the means to know and to be in ways that transgress Euro-American notions of the modern liberal subject. With Wild Things, Halberstam opens new possibilities for queer theory and for wild thinking more broadly.
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Writing and Desire
Queer Ways of Composing
Jonathan Aexander
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023
Winner, 2023 CCCC Exemplar Award

Writing and Desire is a sustained, multimovement exploration of how writers, particularly queer writers, think and feel through desire as central to their writing practice. In a time of political, social, global, and ecological unrest, how might we understand desire—the desire for things to be different, the desire for a better world—as a crucial dimension of contemporary human experience? What might such a recentering of desire offer us, personally and politically? And how is writing itself, as one of the primary ways through which we express and explore ourselves, central to the expression and exploration of desire? Drawing on recent theoretical work in queer theory and the new materialism, Jonathan Alexander studies a range of queer and trans writers and artists who center desire in their practice and argues that conceptualizing writing as desire allows us to reexperience both writing and our world as saturated with our dreams and wishes for change. In a book both elegant and unsettling, and by turns personal, analytic, and experimental, Alexander challenges us—and himself—to think about desire and writing as the deepest manifestation of our hopes for the future. 
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