Book Reviews, Summer 2023

These reviews are now available to read through Project Muse and in the printed Journal, Volume 58 Number 2:

Media and the Affective Life of Slavery by Allison Page

Reviewed by Nicole A. Cooke

"Allison Page’s Media and the Affective Life of Slavery embarks on a less discussed aspect of the legacy of slavery—that of how its narrative can be used to regulate the emotions, including guilt, of its consumers and thus to implicitly suggest that its legacy is no longer an issue in present day. This text squarely addresses scholars in the domains of communication, digital media, and media and cultural studies and production." 


Rise of the Far Right: Technologies of Recruitment and Mobilization edited by Melody Devries, Judith Bessant, and Rob Watts

Reviewed by Tomás Dodds

"The usefulness of this book will be clear to anyone whose life is affected by the mobilization of far-right communities online. Teachers or parents could use it to understand the far-right internet as an online ecosystem in which their children are often exposed to uncensored messages of violence; journalists can rely on this volume to better understand the online communities they cover; and oppressed communities can see in these pages how to resist and repel the hatred that comes from many corners of the Web. In any case, by showing how technological affordances and platform infrastructures have aided the mobilization and recruitment of extremist supporters, this book arms its readers with potential avenues for resistance." 


Circulation and Control: Artistic Culture and Intellectual Property in the Nineteenth Century edited by Marie-Stéphanie Delamaire and Will Slauter

Reviewed by Priti Joshi

"This book is highly recommended—for its nuanced case studies that consistently examine law, custom, and business practices as affordances in conversation; for the breadth of scholars (of art, law, media, and materiality) and curators who appear here and their depth of knowledge; for the precisely-selected illustrations to illuminate arguments; and for its uniformly excellent writing."


Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics: A Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton around 1900 by Simon Frost

Reviewed by Anna Lanfranchi

"Erudite and experimental at once, Simon Frost’s Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics aims to offer a new interpretative key to the historical understanding of readers’ dreams, drives, and desires as they browsed the shelf of a book shop at the turn of the twentieth century."


Climatic Media: Transpacific Experiments in Atmospheric Control by Yuriko Furuhata 

Reviewed by Weixian Pan

"Ultimately, Climatic Media makes an important contribution to history of science and technology, environmental media, and architecture, and it attunes us to transpacific exchanges and connections that together shape our current media and climate condition."



Digital Black Feminism by Catherine Knight Steele

Reviewed by Rachel Pierce

"Catherine Knight Steele’s Digital Black Feminism has two goals. The first is one of recovery: Digital Black Feminism contributes to a growing area of scholarship that attempts to uncover and, in doing so, center, the role of women and minorities in the development of digital tools and practices. The second goal is the centering of non-academic online critical voices as central to Black feminist thinking. Out of these two goals emerges the argument of the book – that “the use of online technology by Black feminist thinkers has changed the outcome and possibilities of Black feminist thought in the digital age, and Black feminist thought has simultaneously changed the technologies themselves” (4-5)."

When the Medium was the Misson: The Atlantic Telegraph and the Religious Orgins of Network Culture by Jenna Supp-Montgomerie

Reviewed by David Reagles

"When the Medium was the Mission is an impressive, original work that is an important contribution to American religious history and the history of communication. It helps us to think more clearly about the power of religious imaginaries in the shaping of self-identity, institutional directions, and the networks we create— even as failure and disconnection disrupt those relationships. "