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ASU English faculty celebrate recent and forthcoming book publications on topics from gender and sexual politics to existential poetry to sixteenth-century court literature.
Television conveys powerful messages about sexual identities, and popular shows such as Will & Grace, Ellen, Glee, Modern Family, and The Fosters are often credited with building support for gay rights, including marriage equality. At the same time, however, many dismiss TV's portrayal of LGBT characters and issues as "gay for pay"—that is, apolitical and exploitative programming created simply for profit. In The New Gay for Pay, Julia Himberg moves beyond both of these positions to investigate the complex and multifaceted ways that television production participates in constructing sexuality, sexual identities and communities, and sexual politics.
Himberg examines the production stories behind explicitly LGBT narratives and characters, studying how industry workers themselves negotiate processes of TV development, production, marketing, and distribution. She interviews workers whose views are rarely heard, including market researchers, public relations experts, media advocacy workers, political campaigners designing strategies for TV messaging, and corporate social responsibility department officers, as well as network executives and producers. Thoroughly analyzing their comments in the light of four key issues—visibility, advocacy, diversity, and equality—Himberg reveals how the practices and belief systems of industry workers generate the conceptions of LGBT sexuality and political change that are portrayed on television. This original approach complicates and broadens our notions about who makes media; how those practitioners operate within media conglomerates; and, perhaps most important, how they contribute to commonsense ideas about sexuality.
Himberg is an Assistant Professor (Film and Media Studies) in the Department of English at ASU. Her work on television, digital media, gender, sexuality, queer theory, industry studies, consumer culture, advertising, and market research has appeared in scholarly journals such as Television & New Media, Flow, and In Media Res.
After the Afterlife explores the zone between language and spirit. It is a book of inner and outer boundaries: of blockades, of tunnels, of wormholes. Where does our consciousness come from, and where is it going, if anywhere? With a nimble blend of wit, whimsy, and erudition, Hummer’s poems assay the border that the shaman is forced to cross to wrestle with the gods, which is the same border the mystic yearns to broach, and the ordinary human stumbles over while doing laundry or making lunch—where questions of identity melt in the white heat of Being:
which is like trying to teach
The cat to waltz, so much awkwardness, so many tender
advances, and I’m shocked when it actually learns,
When it minces toward me in a tiny cocktail gown, offering a martini,
asking for this dance, insisting on hearing me refuse
To reply, debating all along, in the chorus of its interior mewing, who
are you really, peculiar animal, who taught you to call you you.
Hummer is Professor Emeritus (Creative Writing) in the Department of English at ASU. His most recent books of poetry are the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon (LSU Press). He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant in Poetry, the Richard Wright Award for Artistic Excellence, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Award in Poetry.
Deploying literary analysis, theories of emotion from the sciences and humanities, and an archival account of Tudor history, Emotion in the Tudor Court examines how literature both reflects and constructs the emotional dynamics of life in the Renaissance court. In it, Bradley J. Irish argues that emotionality is a foundational framework through which historical subjects embody and engage their world, and thus can serve as a fundamental lens of social and textual analysis.
Spanning the sixteenth century, Emotion in the Tudor Court explores Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Henrician satire; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and elegy; Sir Philip Sidney and Elizabethan pageantry; and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and factional literature. It demonstrates how the dynamics of disgust, envy, rejection, and dread, as they are understood in the modern affective sciences, can be seen to guide literary production in the early modern court.
By combining Renaissance concepts of emotion with modern research in the social and natural sciences, Emotion in the Tudor Court takes a transdisciplinary approach to yield fascinating and robust ways to illuminate both literary studies and cultural history.
Irish is an Assistant Professor (Literature) in the Department of English at ASU. He studies the literature and culture of sixteenth-century England, with a particular focus on the history of emotion.