In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.
#Powertothepeople! The humble hashtag has given power to the powerless, thus helping to engage citizenship and cultural belonging. Enjoy this excerpt of #HashtagActivism, courtesy of MIT Press, written by influential members of hashtag activism networks.
What do evolutionary biology and its founding father, Charles Darwin, have to do with love songs? As it turns out, quite a lot. Enjoy this excerpt of Ted Gioia's Love Songs: The Hidden History, courtesy of Oxford University Press.
Donald Trump's rise in American politics is not a resurgence of fascism, argues professor Enzo Traverso in his essay, "Trump's Savage Capitalism" -- it is something else. Traverso's essay is published in this excerpt from The U.S. Anti-Fascism Reader, courtesy of Verso Books.
In this gorgeously illustrated collection of airline route maps, Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design, Mark Ovenden and Maxwell Roberts look to the skies and transport readers to another time. Enjoy this excerpt, courtesy of Penguin Books.
Focusing on European societies, with comparisons from East Asia, India, Africa, and South America, Yellow tells the intriguing story of the color's evolving place in art, religion, fashion, literature, and science. Enjoy this excerpt of historian Michel Pastoureau's Yellow: The History of a Color, courtesy of Princeton University Press.
Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press.
By turns alarming and awe-inspiring, Jessica Helfand's Face: A Visual Odyssey offers an elaborately illustrated A to Z—from the didactic anthropometry of the late 19th century to the selfie-obsessed zeitgeist of the 21st. Enjoy this excerpt of Face, courtesy of MIT Press.
From the French, Mexican, and Sandinista revolutions to the American civil rights movement, nuclear disarmament, and the Women's March of 2017, PROTEST!, by Liz McQuiston, documents the integral role of the visual arts in passionate efforts for change. Enjoy this excerpt, courtesy of Princeton University Press.
Grammy-winner Billy Vera spent years working in the Speciality Records vaults and remains close to label founder Art Rupe. "Specialty is right up there with Atlantic, Chess, and Sun in terms of being important." Enjoy an interview with the author and an exclusive book excerpt.
Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.
Alice Gorman looks to the skies for her latest exploration into one of the most incredibly significant, yet vastly overlooked archeological sites in human history: space. Enjoy this excerpt of her findings from Dr Space Junk vs the Universe.
"Sound," writes musician, author, and historian Ted Gioia in Music: A Subversive History, "is the ultimate source of genesis... A song can contain a cataclysm." In this beguiling excerpt, Gioia leads us to the sound of the universe itself.
Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".
With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.
Paul Theroux is among PopMatters' favorite travel writers. In this excerpt of On the Plain of Snakes, wherein he traverses the Mexico/US border, Theroux takes us to the ancient city of Oaxaca, bringing forth the dignity of its Zapotec and Mixtec people.
By the Book: 'Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music'
Vincent L. Stephens confronts notions of the closet—both coming out and staying in—by analyzing the careers of Liberace, Johnny Mathis, Johnnie Ray, and Little Richard. This excerpt of Rocking the Closet explores the work of "Mr. Emotion", Johnnie Ray.
Underground palaces in communist spaces provide not only transport but also refuge in the former USSR. Enjoy this excerpt of photographer Christopher Herwig and author Owen Hatherley's Soviet Metro Stations, from FUEL Publishing.
I'd Fight the World explores the connection between country music and electoral politics, giving us a glimpse into how politicians used celebrity long before the rise of the "movie-actor president" and the "Twitter president".
Focusing on vinyl records and the labels that released them, An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels traces the parallel rise of social movements in the second half of the twentieth century and the vinyl record as the dominant form of music distribution.
In Solid State, acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road. (excerpt)
In this excerpt of '70s music, Pick up the Pieces, John Corbett puts his critique of Kraftwerk's Autobahn to poetry and pogos with his conflict for the Clash and their album, The Clash.
In this excerpt of a history of the UK music press, A Hidden Landscape Once a Week, Tony Stewart recalls his time as writer and deputy editor at NME (1971-85) — the strengths and pleasures of teamwork and the vital role of the visual in the energies of a rock paper.
In this beautiful excerpt from Lorna Simpson Collages, Chronicle books shares with PopMatters readers' selections from the renowned artist's collection and a poignant introduction by award-winning poet, Elizabeth Alexander.
This is a portrait of an artist attuned to notions of justice, lust, longing, loneliness, and redemption, and possessing the sort of voice and vision commonly reserved for the prophets.
In this excerpt from his memoir, Thomas Dolby recalls the breathtaking experience of playing with David Bowie at Live Aid, 2004.
"I'm reading these days -- ironically, on the web -- that we don't read anymore," writes Kenneth Goldsmith in this excerpt of Wasting Time on the Internet, courtesy of HarperCollins.