New! “Land of Water, City of the Dead” by Sarah E. Baires

Cahokia, the largest city of the Mississippian mound cultures, lies outside present-day East St. Louis. Land of Water, City of the Dead reconceptualizes Cahokia’s emergence and expansion (ca. 1050-1200), focusing on understanding a newly imagined religion and complexity through a non-Western lens. Sarah E. Baires argues that this system of beliefs was a dynamic, lived experience, based on a broader ontology, with roots in other mound societies. This religion was realized through novel mortuary practices and burial mounds as well as through the careful planning and development of this early city’s urban landscape.

Baires analyzes the organization and alignment of the precinct of downtown Cahokia with a specific focus on the newly discovered and excavated Rattlesnake Causeway and the ridge-top mortuary mounds located along the site axes. Land of Water, City of the Dead also presents new data from the 1954 excavations of the ridge-top mortuary Wilson Mound and a complete analysis of the associated human remains. Through this skeletal analysis, Baires discusses the ways that Cahokians processed and buried their ancestors, identifying unique mortuary practices that include the intentional dismemberment of human bodies and burial with marine shell beads and other materials.

Sarah E. Baires
is an assistant professor of anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“Baires’s book is a good addition to the available information on Cahokia. She pulls together data from a variety of sources, but most importantly, she provides details on legacy data that are not readily available elsewhere. In addition, Baires develops an argument for looking at Cahokia and religion in a different way, and whether or not you agree with her particular approach, new perspectives always move discussion and knowledge forward.”
—Lynne Goldstein, professor of anthropology at Michigan State University

“The detailed discussion of Cahokia’s ridge-top mounds, the presentation of largely unpublished descriptions of burial features and cultural materials associated with these mounds, and new observations of skeletal materials from Wilson Mound make this a valuable resource for other researchers.”
—Kristin Hedman, coeditor of Transforming the Dead: Culturally Modified Bone in the Prehistoric Midwest

Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspectives
Christopher B. Rodning, series editor

208 pages / 21 B&W figures / 5 tables
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1952-6 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9124-9 Ebook

New in our Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism series!

Following the golden age of British Gothic in the late eighteenth century, the American Gothic’s pinnacle is often recognized as having taken place during the decades of American Romanticism. However, Haunting Realities explores the period of American Realism—the end of the nineteenth century—to discover evidence of fertile ground for another age of Gothic proliferation.

At first glance, “Naturalist Gothic” seems to be a contradiction in terms. While the Gothic is known for its sensational effects, with its emphasis on horror and the supernatural, the doctrines of late nineteenth-century Naturalism attempted to move away from the aesthetics of sentimentality and stressed sobering, mechanistic views of reality steeped in scientific thought and the determinism of market values and biology. Nonetheless, what binds Gothicism and Naturalism together is a vision of shared pessimism and the perception of a fearful, lingering presence that ominously haunts an impending modernity. Indeed, it seems that in many Naturalist works reality is so horrific that it can only be depicted through Gothic tropes that prefigure the alienation and despair of modernism.

In recent years, research on the Gothic has flourished, yet there has been no extensive study of the links between the Gothic and Naturalism, particularly those which stem from the early American Realist tradition. Haunting Realities is a timely volume that addresses this gap and is an important addition to scholarly work on both the Gothic and Naturalism in the American literary tradition.

Monika Elbert
is a professor of English at Montclair State University and coeditor of Romantic Education in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: National and Transatlantic Contexts and Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Wendy Ryden is an associate professor of English at Long Island University Post and coauthor of Reading, Writing, and the Rhetorics of Whiteness.

Stephen Arch / Dennis Berthold / Kenneth K. Brandt / Donna M. Campbell / Dara Downey / Monika Elbert / David Greven / Lisa A. Long / Patricia Luedecke / Steve Marsden / Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet / Daniel Mrozowski / Charlotte L. Quinney / Alicia Mischa Renfroe / Wendy Ryden / Gary Totten / Christine A. Wooley

Haunting Realities is an interesting and compelling collection that offers a new and fascinating perspective on the influence of the Gothic on naturalist texts.”
—Keith Newlin, author of Hamlin Garland: A Life and editor of The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism

“No book before Haunting Realities has explored the relationship between the Gothic and the modes of Realism and Naturalism, which are apparently antithetical to it. Yet, in the central paradox identified by Elbert and Ryden, Gothic tropes are everywhere in the literature of the post-Civil War period, and reveal much about the age’s crisis of faith in progress—and about our own times as well. This is a wide-ranging and thoughtful collection and will be studied by anyone interested in the Gothic and the literature of the United States.”
—Charles L. Crow, author of History of the Gothic: American Gothic and editor of American Gothic: An Anthology, 1787-1916

Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism
Gary Scharnhorst, series editor

304 pages / 1 B&W figure
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1937-3 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9053-2 Ebook

New! “The Mark of Criminality” by Bryan J. McCann

In The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era, Bryan J. McCann argues that gangsta rap should be viewed as more than a damaging reinforcement of an era’s worst racial stereotypes. Rather, he positions the works of key gangsta rap artists, as well as the controversies their work produced, squarely within the law-and-order politics and popular culture of the 1980s and 1990s to reveal a profoundly complex period in American history when the meanings of crime and criminality were incredibly unstable.

At the center of this era—when politicians sought to prove their “tough-on-crime” credentials—was the mark of criminality, a set of discourses that labeled members of predominantly poor, urban, and minority communities as threats to the social order. Through their use of the mark of criminality, public figures implemented extremely harsh penal polices that have helped make the United States the world’s leading jailer of its adult population.

At the same time when politicians like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and television shows such as COPS and America’s Most Wanted perpetuated images of gang and drug-filled ghettos, gangsta rap burst out of the hip-hop nation, emanating mainly from the predominantly black neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles. Groups like NWA and solo artists (including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur) became millionaires by marketing the very discourses political and cultural leaders used to justify their war on crime. For these artists, the mark of criminality was a source of power, credibility, and revenue. By understanding gangsta rap as a potent, if deeply imperfect enactment of the mark of criminality, we can better understand how crime is always a site of struggle over meaning. Furthermore, by underscoring the nimble rhetorical character of criminality, we can learn lessons that may inform efforts to challenge our nation’s failed policies of mass incarceration.

Bryan J. McCann
is an assistant professor of rhetoric and cultural studies in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University. His articles have appeared in journals such as Rhetoric Society Quarterly and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. In addition to appearing on local newscasts and the national program Democracy Now!, he gave a TEDxLSU talk in 2014 on race and criminal justice.

The Mark of Criminality offers readers, especially ones not familiar with the conjuncture of gangsta rap and the militarization of policing tactics targeting black and brown bodies, a necessary history and some very intriguing cultural moments related to the era under scrutiny.”
—Eric King Watts, author of Hearing the Hurt: Rhetoric, Aesthetics, and Politics of the New Negro Movement

Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique
John Louis Lucaites, series editor

208 pages / 11 B&W figures
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1948-9 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9117-1 Ebook