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By Kristen LaRue-Sandler — July 3, 2023

Images of book covers by Jeffrey Cohen, Frankie Concepcion, Mitchell Jackson and Elly van Gelderen

Three faculty members and a student in the ASU Department of English announce new books recently launched or forthcoming this summer. Works include a literary nonfiction work, a fiction chapbook, a coffee table book, and a monograph, with topics covering the climate crisis, Filipino folklore, NBA fashion, and historical linguistics.

‘Noah's Arkive’ (University of Minnesota Press, 2023)

Just out in June, Jeffrey Cohen and Julian Yates present their reconsidering of the Biblical story. From the publisher:

  • “Most people know the story of Noah from a children’s bible or a play set with a colorful ship, bearded Noah, pairs of animals, and an uncomplicated vision of survival. Noah’s ark, however, will forever be haunted by what it leaves to the rising waters so that the world can begin again.

    In ‘Noah’s Arkive,’ Jeffrey J. Cohen and Julian Yates examine the long history of imagining endurance against climate catastrophe—as well as alternative ways of creating refuge. They trace how the elements of the flood narrative were elaborated in medieval and early modern art, text, and music, and now shape writing and thinking during the current age of anthropogenic climate change. Arguing that the biblical ark may well be the worst possible exemplar of human behavior, the chapters draw on a range of sources, from the Epic of Gilgamesh and Ovid’s tale of Deucalion and Pyrrah, to speculative fiction, climate fiction, and stories and art dealing with environmental catastrophe. ‘Noah’s Arkive’ uncovers the startling afterlife of the Genesis narrative written from the perspective of Noah’s wife and family, the animals on the ark, and those excluded and left behind to die. This book of recovered stories speaks eloquently to the ethical and political burdens of living through the Anthropocene.

    Following a climate change narrative across the millennia, ‘Noah’s Arkive’ surveys the long history of dwelling with the consequences of choosing only a few to survive in order to start the world over. It is an intriguing meditation on how the story of the ark can frame how we think about environmental catastrophe and refuge, conservation and exclusion, offering hope for a better future by heeding what we know from the past.”

Cohen is dean of humanities in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU, where he also a professor of English.

‘Aftermath: A Short Story’ (Bottlecap Press, 2023)

Frankie Concepcion’s first fiction chapbook was released in May 2023. From the publisher:

  • “As children, Lena and Lily shared a bond unlike any other. They shared clothes, shared secrets; they whispered dreams of their future to each other in the dark. Together in their ancestral home in the Philippines, they created worlds full of wonder and magic; in the forest, they communed with fairies and escaped the clutches of the tikbalang and the duwende. But when Lena returns to her ancestral home after years abroad, she finds her beloved cousin changed in unexpected ways. Suddenly, what was supposed to be a beautiful reunion has become a matter of life and death—one which will challenge Lena to reckon with the mistakes of her childhood.

    Rooted in Filipino myth and folklore, ‘Aftermath’ is a short story which asks us to reckon with the deep power and bonds of girlhood. It is a story that illuminates the ways in which we betray ourselves and others, hold our guilt, and answer for our actions. Most of all, ‘Aftermath’ will challenge cultural expectations of women’s beauty, bodies and agency, and how harmful beliefs can be passed down from one generation to another.”

Concepcion is a student in English’s MFA in creative writing program.

‘Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion’ (Hachette / Artisan, 2023)

Mitchell Jackson’s nonfiction nod to NBA style is due out this September. From the publisher:

  • “Equal parts stunning, photo-rich lookbook, and cultural commentary, ‘Fly’ is the story of the extraordinary intersection of high fashion and basketball. Each chapter explores the style of an era and the cultural influences that shaped it: The league’s inception in 1949, pre-Civil Rights Movement, when the NBA was mostly comprised of white players who wore suits and skinny ties. The years following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the birth of funk and R&B when basketball fashion got flashier (think Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier and Wilt Chamberlain wearing fur coats and big hats). The Michael Jordan era of the 1980s and 1990s, with its oversize suits. The epic Iverson/Hip-Hop years of the late 1990s and early 2000s. And now to today, a time defined not only by social media and high fashion’s birthing of the tunnel walk (think LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Russell Westbrook), but one in which athletes are idealized as style icons and activists, figures who inspire conversations beyond how they play and what they wear.”

Jackson is the John O. Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of English at ASU.

‘The Linguistic Cycle: Economy and Renewal in Historical Linguistics’ (Routledge, 2023)

Elly van Gelderen’s newest contribution to historical linguistics research launches in July. From the publisher:

  • “Cyclical language change is a linguistic process by which a word, phrase, or part of the grammar loses its meaning or function and is then replaced by another. This can even happen on the level of an entire language, which can experience a change in the language family it is a part of. This new text is a comprehensive introduction to this phenomenon, the mechanisms underlying it, and the relations between the different types of cycles. Elly van Gelderen reviews the subject widely and holistically, defining key terms and comprehensively presenting diverse theoretical perspectives and empirical findings.

    With coverage of a variety of micro cycles and the more controversial macro cycles, incorporating cutting-edge work on grammaticalization, and drawing on examples from many languages and language families, this book accessibly guides readers through the state of the art in the field. With practical methodological guidance on how to identify and investigate linguistic cycles, and an array of useful pedagogical features, the book provides a coherent framework for approaching, understanding, and furthering research in linguistic cycles.

    This text will be an indispensable resource for advanced students and researchers in historical and diachronic linguistics, language typology, and linguistic and grammatical theory.”

Van Gelderen is Regents Professor Emeritus of English at ASU.