New Books Network

Daisuke Miyao, “The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema” (Duke UP, 2013)
In The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema (Duke UP, 2013), Daisuke Miyao explores a history of light and its absence in Japanese cinema. A commentary on the history of modernity, the book considers how an aesthetics of shadow emerged from a Japanese modern that was fundamentally transnational. A fascinating history of... Read More
David Konow, “Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films” (St. Martin’s Press, 2012)
Filmmakers discovered in the early twentieth century that Americans would gladly pay to be scared to death. As the decades marched on, dismissive critics regularly wrote obituaries for the relentlessly popular horror genre, even as other kinds of films (Blaxploitation, anyone?) disappeared from theaters. David Konow, in Reel Terror: The Scary,... Read More
Louis Menashe, “Moscow Believes in Tears: Russians and Their Movies” (New Academia, 2010)
Did you see one of Eisenstein’s masterpieces “The Battleship Potemkin” and “Alexander Nevsky” in a Russian or Soviet history class? Were you captivated by Tarkovsky’s brooding long shots in movies such as “Solaris” and “Stalker“? Did you seek out Pichul’s “Little Vera” in the theater to get a glimpse of... Read More
S. Brent Plate, “Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World” (Wallflower Press, 2008)
As each frame of a film goes by we witness a new world that is situated in space and time. This process of worldmaking happens through the cinematic lens but also through the myths and rituals of religious traditions. Or so argues S. Brent Plate, Visiting Associate Professor of Religious... Read More
David A. Kirby, “Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema” (MIT Press, 2011)
First things first: this was probably the most fun I’ve had working through an STS monograph. (Really: Who doesn’t like reading about Jurassic Park and King Kong?) In addition to being full of wonderful anecdotes about the film and television industries, David Kirby‘s Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and... Read More
Jennifer Frost, “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism” (NYU Press, 2011)
Any pop culture scholar worth her salt will tell you that discussion of Beyonce’s baby bump or Charlie Sheen’s unique sex life is far from apolitical, but, at times, gossip columnists have engaged more transparently in political debate. Hedda Hopper, Hollywood insider and conservative hat enthusiast, was one such columnist.... Read More
Robert J. Corber, “Cold War Femme: Lesbianism, National Identity, and Hollywood Cinema” (Duke University Press, 2011)
The study of non-heteronormative sexualities in the academy continues to be remarkably dynamic. Despite the usual attempts to harden the frame around this scholarship, it remains consistently exciting and surprising. Robert J. Corber is one of the reasons why. His books In the Name of National Security: Hitchcock, Homophobia, and... Read More