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Accompaniment with Im/migrant Communities
Engaged Ethnography
Kristin E. Yarris and Whitney L. Duncan
University of Arizona Press, 2024

This collection brings together the experiences and voices of anthropologists whose engaged work with im/migrant communities pushes the boundaries of ethnography toward a feminist, care-based, decolonial mode of ethnographic engagement called “accompaniment.”

Accompaniment as anthropological research and praxis troubles the boundaries of researcher-participant, scholar-activist, and academic-community to explicitly address issues of power, inequality, and the broader social purpose of the work. More than two dozen contributors show how accompaniment is not merely a mode of knowledge production but an ethical commitment that calls researchers to action in solidarity with those whose lives we seek to understand. The volume stands as a collective conversation about possibilities for caring and decolonial forms of ethnographic engagement with im/migrant communities.

This volume is ideal for scholars, students, immigrant activists, instructors, and those interested in social justice work.

Contributors
Carolina Alonso Bejarano
Anna Aziza Grewe
Alaska Burdette
Whitney L. Duncan
Carlos Escalante Villagran
Christina M. Getrich
Tobin Hansen
Lauren Heidbrink
Dan Heiman
Josiah Heyman
Sarah Horton
Nolan Kline
Alana M. W. LeBrón
Lupe López
William D. Lopez
Aida López Huinil
Mirian A. Mijangos García
Nicole L. Novak
Mariela Nuñez-Janes
Ana Ortez-Rivera
Juan Edwin Pacay Mendoza
Salvador Brandon Pacay Mendoza
María Engracia Robles Robles
Delmis Umanzor
Erika Vargas Reyes
Kristin E. Yarris

 

 

 

 

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Asia and Postwar Japan
Deimperialization, Civic Activism, and National Identity
Simon Avenell
Harvard University Press, 2022

War, defeat, and the collapse of empire in 1945 touched every aspect of postwar Japanese society, profoundly shaping how the Japanese would reconstruct national identity and reengage with the peoples of Asia. While “America” offered a vision of re-genesis after cataclysmic ruin, “Asia” exposed the traumata of perpetration and the torment of ethnic responsibility. Obscured in the shadows of a resurgent postwar Japan lurked a postimperial specter whose haunting presence both complicated and confounded the spiritual rehabilitation of the nation.

Asia and Postwar Japan examines Japanese deimperialization from 1945 until the early twenty-first century. It focuses on the thought and activism of progressive activists and intellectuals as they struggled to overcome rigid preconceptions about “Asia,” as they grappled with the implications of postimperial responsibility, and as they forged new regional solidarities and Asian imaginaries. Simon Avenell reveals the critical importance of Asia in postwar Japanese thought, activism, and politics—Asia as a symbolic geography, Asia as a space for grassroots engagement, and ultimately, Asia as an aporia of identity and the source of a new politics of hope.

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Bartolomé de las Casas and the Defense of Amerindian Rights
A Brief History with Documents
Edited by Lawrence A. Clayton and David M. Lantigua
University of Alabama Press, 2020
An accessible reader of both popular and largely unavailable writings of Bartolomé de las Casas
 
With the exception of Christopher Columbus, Bartolomé de las Casas is arguably the most notable figure of the Encounter Age. He is remembered principally as the creator of the Black Legend, as well as the protector of American Indians. He was one of the pioneers of the human rights movement, and a Christian activist who invoked law and Biblical scripture to challenge European colonialism in the great age of the Encounter. He was also one of the first and most thorough chroniclers of the conquest, and a biographer who saved the diary of Columbus’s first voyage for posterity by transcribing it in his History of the Indies before the diary was lost.
 
Bartolomé de las Casas and the Defense of Amerindian Rights: A Brief History with Documents provides the most wide-ranging and concise anthology of Las Casas’s writings, in translation, ever made available. It contains not only excerpts from his most well-known texts, but also his largely unavailable writings on political philosophy and law, and addresses the underappreciated aspects of his thought. Fifteen of the twenty-six documents are entirely new translations of Las Casas’s writings, a number of them appearing in English for the first time.
 
This volume focuses on his historical, political, and legal writings that address the deeply conflicted and violent sixteenth-century encounter between Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Americas. It also presents Las Casas as a more comprehensive and systematic philosophical and legal thinker than he is typically given credit for. The introduction by Lawrence A. Clayton and David M. Lantigua places these writings into a synthetic whole, tracing his advocacy for indigenous peoples throughout his career. By considering Las Casas’s ideas, actions, and even regrets in tandem, readers will understand the historical dynamics of Spanish imperialism more acutely within the social-political context of the times.
 
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Below the Radar
Informal Civic Engagement in Ukraine
Svitlana Krasynska
Harvard University Press

Using Ukraine as a case-in-point, Svitlana Krasynska engages diverse bodies of literature and rich empirical data to reveal the vital role and unique potential of below-the-radar civic engagement in contexts where informal practices abound—a phenomenon largely neglected by scholars of civil society who traditionally focus on formal civic organizations.

Civil society in Eastern Europe has long been labeled weak based on a general lack of citizen participation in formal civil society organizations—a key criterion for assessing civic engagement in comparative studies. However, such assessment of civil society fails to recognize the role and impact of informal civic engagement in contexts where informality permeates economic, political, and social spheres. Ukraine offers a valuable counterargument of the importance of informal civil society in Eastern Europe, especially in the post-Soviet countries.

Krasynska convincingly shows that informality constitutes an essential component of civil society, shaping popular approaches to addressing social, economic, and political issues. The trailblazing findings in Below the Radar will be of interest to scholars of democratization, informality, and area studies, and they will aid development practitioners and policy makers in determining a more effective approach to helping fledgling democracies around the world.

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Beyond Disaster
Building Collective Futures in Puerto Rico
Melissa L. Rosario
Northwestern University Press, 2025

An alternative view of Puerto Rico’s past, present, and future

How do we map the pathways to liberation where we have been taught to see only trauma, suffering, and lack? Melissa L. Rosario offers an alternative view of Puerto Rico, America’s oldest colony, removing readers from the framework of crisis to consider the deeper legacies of its current impasse. Beyond Disaster: Building Collective Futures in Puerto Rico is an intimate portrait, weaving insights from the author’s own life, research, and organizing work as a scholar in the diaspora who rematriated. Rosario bridges the genres of social history and memoir to unsettle the meaning of resistance and freedom, underscoring the deep wounds of colonialism while still uplifting the profound possibilities of embodied alternatives.

Beyond Disaster critiques the framework of debt and crisis by examining the psychological, emotional, and spiritual effects of colonialism. Rosario highlights key examples of organizing efforts to defend land and education against total enclosure, protecting life amid loss. This book offers a series of microhistories, vignettes, and prose poetry to foreground the daily practices necessary to anchor the ecological and political landscapes of our collective future.

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Beyond the Black Power Salute
Athlete Activism in an Era of Change
Gregory J. Kaliss
University of Illinois Press, 2023
Unequal opportunity sparked Jim Brown’s endeavors to encourage Black development while Billie Jean King fought so that women tennis players could earn more money and enjoy greater freedom. Gregory J. Kaliss examines these events and others to guide readers through the unprecedented wave of protest that swept sports in the 1960s and 1970s. The little-known story of the University of Wyoming football players suspended for their activism highlights an analysis of protests by college athletes. The 1971 Muhammad Ali–Joe Frazier clash provides a high-profile example of the Black male athlete’s effort to redefine Black masculinity. An in-depth look at the American Basketball Association reveals a league that put Black culture front and center with its style of play and shows how the ABA influenced the development of hip-hop. As Kaliss describes the breakthroughs achieved by these athletes, he also explores the barriers that remained--and in some cases remain today.
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Black Cyclists
The Race for Inclusion
Robert J. Turpin
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Cycling emerged as a sport in the late 1870s, and from the beginning, Black Americans rode alongside and raced against white competitors. Robert J. Turpin sheds light on the contributions of Black cyclists from the sport’s early days through the cementing of Jim Crow laws during the Progressive Era. As Turpin shows, Black cyclists used the bicycle not only as a vehicle but as a means of social mobility--a mobility that attracted white ire. Prominent Black cyclists like Marshall “Major” Taylor and Kitty Knox fought for equality amidst racist and increasingly pervasive restrictions. But Turpin also tells the stories of lesser-known athletes like Melvin Dove, whose actions spoke volumes about his opposition to the color line, and Hardy Jackson, a skilled racer forced to turn to stunt riding in vaudeville after Taylor became the only non-white permitted to race professionally in the United States.

Eye-opening and long overdue, Black Cyclists uses race, technology, and mobility to explore a forgotten chapter in cycling history.

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Black in Selma
The Uncommon Life of J. L. Chestnut Jr.
J. L. Chestnut
University of Alabama Press, 2007
“The autobiography of J. L. Chestnut is the story of Selma’s first black lawyer and prodigal son, but it is also part of the history of the race, sweeping biblically from enslavement by segregation to freedom to the ambitious aftermath of redemption.”  —New York Times Book Review
 
Born in Selma in 1930, J. L. Chestnut left home to study law at Howard University in Washington, DC. Returning to Selma, Chestnut was the town’s first and only African American attorney in the late 1950s. As the turbulent struggle for civil rights spread across the South, Chestnut became an active and ardent promoter of social and legal equality in his hometown. A key player on the local and state fronts, Chestnut accrued deep insights into the racial tensions in his community and deftly opened paths toward a more equitable future.
 
Though intimately involved in many events that took place in Selma, Chestnut was nevertheless often identified in history books simply as “a local attorney.” Black in Selma reveals his powerful yet little-known story.
 
In the 2014 film Selma, director Ava DuVernay takes audiences to the climactic confrontation between civil rights advocates and the state’s security forces of March 1965. Readers looking for a deeper understanding of the events that preceded that epic moment, as well as how racial integration unfolded in Selma in the decades that followed, will find Chestnut’s story and memories both a vital primary source and an inspiration.
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Black Power on Campus
The University of Illinois, 1965-75
Joy Ann Williamson
University of Illinois Press, 2003
Joy Ann Williamson charts the evolution of black consciousness on predominately white American campuses during the critical period between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, with the Black student movement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign serving as an illuminating microcosm of similar movements across the country.

Drawing on student publications of the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as interviews with student activists, former administrators, and faculty, Williamson discusses the emergence of Black Power ideology, what constituted "blackness," and notions of self-advancement versus racial solidarity. Promoting an understanding of the role of black youth in protest movements, Black Power on Campus is an important contribution to the literature on African American liberation movements and the reform of American higher education.

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Capitalism, Democracy, and Ecology
Departing from Marx
Timothy W. Luke
University of Illinois Press, 1999
The world that was revolutionized by industrialization is being remade by the information revolution. But this is mostly a revolution from above, increasingly shaped by a new class of technocrats, experts, and professionals in the service of corporate capitalism.

Using Marx as a touchstone, Timothy W. Luke warns that if communities are not to be overwhelmed by new class economic and political agendas, then the practice of democracy must be reconstituted on a more populist basis. However, the galvanizing force for this new, more community-centered populism will not be the proletariat, as Marx predicted, nor contemporary militant patriotic groups. Rather, Luke argues that many groups unified by a concern for ecological justice present the strongest potential opposition to capitalism.

Wide-ranging and lucid, Capitalism, Democracy, and Ecology is essential reading in the age of information.

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Central American Migrations in the Twenty-First Century
Edited by Mauricio Espinoza, Miroslava Arely Rosales Vásquez, and Ignacio Sarmiento
University of Arizona Press, 2023
The reality of Central American migrations is broad, diverse, multidirectional, and uncertain. It also offers hope, resistance, affection, solidarity, and a sense of community for a region that has one of the highest rates of human displacement in the world.

Central American Migrations in the Twenty-First Century tackles head-on the way Central America has been portrayed as a region profoundly marked by the migration of its people. Through an intersectional approach, this volume demonstrates how the migration experience is complex and affected by gender, age, language, ethnicity, social class, migratory status, and other variables. Contributors carefully examine a broad range of topics, including forced migration, deportation and outsourcing, intraregional displacements, the role of social media, and the representations of human mobility in performance, film, and literature. The volume establishes a productive dialogue between humanities and social sciences scholars, and it paves the way for fruitful future discussions on the region’s complex migratory processes.

Contributors
Guillermo Acuña
Andrew Bentley
Fiore Bran-Aragón
Tiffanie Clark
Mauricio Espinoza
Hilary Goodfriend
Leda Carolina Lozier
Judith Martínez
Alicia V. Nuñez
Miroslava Arely Rosales Vásquez
Manuel Sánchez Cabrera
Ignacio Sarmiento
Gracia Silva
Carolina Simbaña González
María Victoria Véliz
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Chicago Latina Trailblazers
Testimonios of Political Activism
Edited by Rita D. Hernández, Leticia Villarreal Sosa, Elena R. Gutiérrez
University of Illinois Press, 2024

Mexican American and Puerto Rican women have long taken up the challenge to improve the lives of Chicagoans in the city’s Latino/a/x communities. Rita D. Hernández, Leticia Villarreal Sosa, and Elena R. Gutiérrez present testimonies by Latina leaders who blazed new trails and shaped Latina Chicago history from the 1960s through today.

Taking a do-it-all attitude, these women advanced agendas, built institutions, forged alliances, and created essential resources that Latino/a/x communities lacked. Time and again, they found themselves the first Latina to hold their post or part of the first Latino/a/x institution of its kind. Just as often, early grassroots efforts to address issues affecting themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods grew into larger endeavors. Their experiences ranged from public schools to healthcare to politics to broadcast media, and each woman’s story shows how her work changed countless lives and still reverberates across the entire city.

An eyewitness view of an unknown history, Chicago Latina Trailblazers reveals the vision and passion that fueled a group of women in the vanguard of reform.

Contributors: Ana Castillo, Maria B. Cerda, Carmen Chico, Aracelis Flecha Figueroa, Aida Luz Maisonet Giachello, Mary Gonzales, Ada Nivia López, Emma Lozano, Virginia Martinez, Carmen Mendoza, Elena Mulcahy, Guadalupe Reyes, Luz Maria B. Solis, and Carmen Velasquez

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Closely and Consciously
Reading and the U.S. Women's Liberation Movement
Yung-Hsing Wu
University of Massachusetts Press, 2024

The significant archive of writing that came out of the women’s liberation movement in the United States, from 1965 to 1980, speaks to the value activists placed on reading as an act that is at once personal and yet also about the collective good. Yung-Hsing Wu examines the importance of reading—personal, professional, vocational, aesthetic, and always political—and how the act itself brought a host of women, each with their own history with the movement, into relation, and into a belief in that relation. The value given to reading can be seen in the ways feminists pursued media representation; in consciousness-raising (CR) groups including shared reading in their meetings; in women opening bookstores, developing newsletters, establishing journals, and starting presses; and in corporate publishers pursuing feminist fiction.

Closely and Consciously crisscrosses distinct print spheres, including newsletters and periodicals produced by feminist cells and consciousness-raising groups, feminist presses seeking to articulate their visions for women’s writing, the emergence of feminist literary criticism in first-time monographs and newly established journals, personal and editorial correspondence, press records, and the publishing histories of bestsellers that testified to the increasingly broad popularity of women’s writing. Uniting all these disparate activists and media outlets, and providing crucial relationality, was reading. With a mix of close readings and archival research, Wu unpacks and interprets this central act of reading and why it matters during a crucial moment of feminist history.

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Community Is the Way
Engaged Writing and Designing for Transformative Change
by Aimée Knight
University Press of Colorado, 2022
How can we design for equity and justice in our community partnerships? This field guide offers a vision for enacting social justice with community partners. Working from a community’s resources and strengths toward the goal of building its internal capacity, this book considers how actions such as grassroots activism, decolonization efforts, co-resistance movements, and social change initiatives can support reciprocity and mutuality. Community is the Way provides examples of concrete, situated action grounded in disciplinary knowledge and extensive fieldwork. Reflecting on her experiences operating a community writing program, author Aimée Knight argues that the equity-based approach described in this book requires a commitment to interrogating how power, oppression, resistance, privilege, penalties, benefits, and harms are built into the systems we seek to change. Knight offers a community-led approach that builds bridges of understanding and support and charts a path toward transformative change.
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Composting Utopia
Experimental Infrastructures for Organics Recycling in New York City
Guy Schaffer
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023

New Yorkers generate millions of tons of trash annually, which, through the magic of infrastructure and one of the largest waste management systems in the world, disappears from city sidewalks each night. Under pressure from environmentalists, activists, policymakers, and industry, the New York City Department of Sanitation started exploring ways to divert organic material from the waste stream, and in 2013, launched its composting pilot program.

Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork with community composters and microhaulers in New York City, alongside the rollout of the city’s curbside organics collection system, Composting Utopia describes how local, grassroots organizations intervened in the city’s waste system, enacting change and presenting an alternative vision of the composting city. As Guy Shaffer argues, movement-driven infrastructure projects develop new tools for organizing the world, give communities agency over urban design, and promote just sustainability.

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Crip Spacetime
Access, Failure, and Accountability in Academic Life
Margaret Price
Duke University Press, 2024
In Crip Spacetime, Margaret Price intervenes in the competitive, productivity-focused realm of academia by sharing the everyday experiences of disabled academics. Drawing on more than three hundred interviews and survey responses, Price demonstrates that individual accommodations—the primary way universities address accessibility—actually impede access rather than enhance it. She argues that the pains and injustices encountered by academia’s disabled workers result in their living and working in realities different from nondisabled colleagues: a unique experience of space, time, and being that Price theorizes as “crip spacetime.” She explores how disability factors into the exclusionary practices found in universities, with multiply marginalized academics facing the greatest harms. Highlighting the knowledge that disabled academics already possess about how to achieve sustainable forms of access, Price boldly calls for the university to move away from individualized models of accommodation and toward a new system of collective accountability and care.
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Dissent in Wichita
The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72
Gretchen Cassel Eick
University of Illinois Press, 2001

Winner of the Richard L. Wentworth Prize in American History, Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize, and the William Rockhill Nelson Award

On a hot summer evening in 1958, a group of African American students in Wichita, Kansas, quietly entered Dockum's Drug Store and sat down at the whites-only lunch counter. This was the beginning of the first sustained, successful student sit-in of the modern civil rights movement, instigated in violation of the national NAACP's instructions.

Dissent in Wichita traces the contours of race relations and black activism in this unexpected locus of the civil rights movement. Based on interviews with more than eighty participants in and observers of Wichita's civil rights struggles, this powerful study hones in on the work of black and white local activists, setting their efforts in the context of anticommunism, FBI operations against black nationalists, and the civil rights policies of administrations from Eisenhower through Nixon.

Through her close study of events in Wichita, Eick reveals the civil rights movement as a national, not a southern, phenomenon. She focuses particularly on Chester I. Lewis, Jr., a key figure in the local as well as the national NAACP. Lewis initiated one of the earliest investigations of de facto school desegregation by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and successfully challenged employment discrimination in the nation's largest aircraft industries.

Dissent in Wichita offers a moving account of the efforts of Lewis, Vivian Parks, Anna Jane Michener, and other courageous individuals to fight segregation and discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, and schools. This volume also offers the first extended examination of the Young Turks, a radical movement to democratize and broaden the agenda of the NAACP for which Lewis provided critical leadership.

Through a close study of personalities and local politics in Wichita over two decades, Eick demonstrates how the tenor of black activism and white response changed as economic disparities increased and divisions within the black community intensified. Her analysis, enriched by the words and experiences of men and women who were there, offers new insights into the civil rights movement as a whole and into the complex interplay between local and national events.

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An Epidemic among My People
Religion, Politics, and COVID-19 in the United States
Edited by Paul A. Djupe and Amanda Friesen
Temple University Press, 2023

The pandemic presented religion as a paradox: faith is often crucial for helping people weather life’s troubles and make difficult decisions, but how can religion continue to deliver these benefits and provide societal structure without social contact?  The topical volume, An Epidemic among My People explains how the COVID-19 pandemic stress tested American religious communities and created a new politics of religion centered on public health.

The editors and contributorsconsider how the virus and government policy affected religion in America. Chapters examine the link between the prosperity gospel and conspiracy theories, the increased purchase of firearms by evangelicals, the politics of challenging public health orders as religious freedom claims, and the reactions of Christian nationalists, racial groups, and female clergy to the pandemic (and pandemic politics). As sharp lines were drawn between people and their governments during this uncertain time, An Epidemic among My People provides a comprehensive portrait of religion in American public life.  

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Faith and Community
How Engagement Strengthens Members, Places of Worship, and Society
Rebecca A. Glazier
Temple University Press, 2024
Places of worship are important anchor institutions in communities, helping to create social capital through discussion groups, soup kitchens, and neighborhood clean-ups. While congregations face increasing pressures, from declining attendance to political polarization, community engagement is an overall positive for their members and for democracy.

Faith and Community shows the benefits of religious people taking action in their communities. Through more than a decade of multi-method data collection, Rebecca Glazier surveyed over 4,000 congregants and nearly 500 clergy in Little Rock, Arkansas to gather opinions from members and leaders on community issues and engagement. Together with interviews and case studies, her findings indicate that active congregants are happier and more civically involved.

Faith and Community provides valuable insights into the relationship between religion and community engagement. The data illustrates how community engagement benefits individuals, congregations, and democracy and offers one solution to what ails religion in America today.
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First Meal
Julie Green
Oregon State University Press, 2023

Wrongful convictions haunt the American criminal justice system, as revealed in recent years by DNA and other investigative tools. And every wrongfully convicted person who walks free, exonerated after years or decades, carries part of that story. From those facts, artist Julie Green posed a seemingly simple question: When you have been denied all choice, what do you choose to eat on the first day of freedom?

In the small details of life at such pivotal moments, a vast new landscape of the world can emerge, and that is the core concept of First Meal. Partnering with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, Green and her coauthor, award-winning journalist Kirk Johnson, have created a unique melding of art and narration in the portraits and stories of twenty-five people on the day of their release.

Food and punishment have long been intertwined. The tradition of offering a condemned person a final meal before execution, for example, has been explored by psychologists, filmmakers, and others—including Green herself in an earlier series of criminal-justice themed paintings, The Last Supper. First Meal takes on that issue from the other side: food as a symbol of autonomy in a life restored. Set against the backdrop of a flawed American legal system, First Meal describes beauty, pain, hope and redemption, all anchored around the idea—explored by writers from Marcel Proust to Michael Pollan—that food touches us deeply in memory and emotion.

In Green’s art, state birds and surreal lobsters soar over places where wrongful convictions unfolded, mistaken witnesses shout their errors, glow-in-the-dark skylines evoke homecoming. Johnson’s essays take us inside those moments—from the courtrooms where things went wrong to the pathways of faith and resilience that kept people sane through their years of injustice. First Meal seeks to inform and spread awareness, but also celebrate the humanity that unites us, and the idea that gratitude and euphoria—even as it mixes with grief and the awareness of loss—can emerge in places we least expect.

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From Outrage to Action
The Politics of Grass-Roots Dissent
Laura R. Woliver
University of Illinois Press, 1993
 In one case a local judge declared a five-year-old sexual assault victim a "particularly promiscuous young lady." In another, an innocent black man died in police custody. In these cases and two others, outraged citizens banded together to protest and seek redress for the injustices.
    
Through in-depth interviews with activists, Laura Woliver examines these community actions, studying the groups involved and linking her conclusions to larger questions of political power and the impact of social movements. Her findings will make fascinating reading for those interested in the rise and fall of grass-roots interest groups, the nature of dissent, and the reasons why people volunteer countless hours, sometimes in the face of community opposition and isolation, to dedicate themselves to a cause. The ad hoc interest groups studied are the Committee to Recall Judge Archie Simonson (Madison), the Coalition for Justice for Ernest Lacy (Milwaukee), Concerned Citizens for Children (Grant County, Wisconsin), and Citizens Taking Action (Madison). Woliver relates the community responses in these cases to those in the Jeffrey Dahmer mass murder case and the beating by Los Angeles police of Rodney King.
 
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Global Storytelling, vol. 3, no. 2
Satirical Activism and Youth Culture in and Beyond COVID-19 China: Journal of Digital and Moving Images
Special Issue Editor: Haiqing Yu
Michigan Publishing Services, 2024
Special Issue Editor: Haiqing Yu

Haiqing Yu. COVID-19, Satirical Activism, and Chinese Youth Culture: An Introduction

Research Articles
Ying Zhu and Junqi Peng.  From Diaosi to Sang to Tangping: The Chinese DST Youth Subculture Online
Shaohua Guo. Moments of "Madness": Cynicism in Times of COVID
Howard Choy. Laughter in the Time of Coronavirus: Epidemic Humor and Satire in Chinese Women's Digital Diaries
Shaoyu Tang. Political In Between: Streaming Stand-Up Comedy and Feminist Reckoning in Contemporary Mainland China
Jingxue Zhang and Charlie Yi Zhang. The Power of Citation: Feminist Counter-Appropriation of State Discourses in Post-Reform China

Book Reviews
Ethan Tussey. Revised Research Methodology for the Age of Media Industries Speculation - Review of Specworld: Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries by John Thornton Caldwell, University of California Press, 2023
Michael Keane. Precarious Creativity and the State in New Era China - Review of Chinese Creator Economies: Labor and Bilateral Creative Workers by Jian Lin, New York University Press, 2023
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Graceful Resistance
How Capoeiristas Use Their Art for Activism and Community Engagement
Lauren Miller Griffith
University of Illinois Press, 2023

Capoeira began as a martial art developed by enslaved Afro-Brazilians. Today, the practice incorporates song, dance, acrobatics, and theatrical improvisation—and leads many participants into activism.

Lauren Miller Griffith’s extensive participant observation with multiple capoeira groups informs her ethnography of capoeiristas--both individuals and groups--in the United States. Griffith follows practitioners beyond their physical training into social justice activities that illuminate capoeira’s strong connection to resistance and subversion. As both individuals and communities of capoeiristas, participants march against racial discrimination, celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth, organize professional clothing drives for job seekers, and pursue economic and environmental justice in their neighborhoods. For these people, capoeira becomes a type of serious leisure that contributes to personal growth, a sense of belonging, and an overall sense of self, while also imposing duties and obligations.

An innovative look at capoeira in America, Graceful Resistance reveals how the practicing of an art can catalyze action and transform communities.

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Grassroots Activisms
Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts
Edited by Lisa L. Phillips, Sarah Warren-Riley, and Julie Collins Bates
The Ohio State University Press, 2024

What is the nature of grassroots activism? How and why do individuals get involved or attempt to make change for themselves, others, or their own communities? What motivates activists to maintain momentum when their efforts to redress injustices or paths toward change seem difficult or personally risky to navigate? These questions and more are addressed in Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts. Featuring a diverse array of both local activist profiles and original scholarly essays, the collection amplifies and analyzes the tactics of grassroots activists working locally to intervene in a variety of social injustices—from copwatching and policy reform to Indigenous resistance against land colonization to #RageAgainstRape. 

Attuned to the demanding—and often underappreciated—work of grassroots activism, this book interrogates how such efforts unfold within and against existing historical, cultural, social, and political realities of local communities; are informed by the potentials and constraints of coalition-building; and ultimately shape different facets of society at the local level. This collection acknowledges and celebrates the complexity of grassroots activist work, showing how these less-recognized efforts often effect change where institutions have failed.

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The Green New Deal from Below
How Ordinary People Are Building a Just and Climate-Safe Economy
Jeremy Brecher
University of Illinois Press, 2024

A visionary program for national renewal, the Green New Deal aims to protect the earth’s climate while creating good jobs, reducing injustice, and eliminating poverty. Its core principle is to use the necessity for climate protection as a basis for realizing full employment and social justice.

Jeremy Brecher goes beyond the national headlines and introduces readers to the community, municipal, county, state, tribal, and industry efforts advancing the Green New Deal across the United States. Brecher illustrates how such programs from below do the valuable work of building constituencies and providing proofs of concept for new ideas and initiatives. Block by block, these activities have come together to form a Green New Deal built on a strong foundation of small-scale movements and grassroots energy.

A call for hope and a better tomorrow, The Green New Deal from Below offers a blueprint for reconstructing society on new principles to avoid catastrophic climate change.

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Hard Work
The Making of Labor History
Melvyn Dubofsky
University of Illinois Press, 2000

A career-spanning collection of writings by the legendary labor historian

One of American labor history's most prominent scholars, Melvyn Dubofsky curated an accessible style and historical reach that have long marked his work as required reading for students and scholars. 

This collection juxtaposes Dubofsky's early writings with scholarship from the 1990s. Selections include work on western working-class radicalism, U.S. labor history in transnational and comparative settings, and the impact of technological change on American worker’s movements. Throughout, the writings provide an invaluable eyewitness perspective on the academic and political climate of the 1960s and 1970s while tracing the development of labor history as a discipline. 

An exploration of important themes in labor history, Hard Work combines essential scholarship with the story of how past and present interact in the work of historians.

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Have You Got Good Religion?
Black Women's Faith, Courage, and Moral Leadership in the Civil Rights Movement
AnneMarie Mingo
University of Illinois Press, 2024
What compels a person to risk her life to change deeply rooted systems of injustice in ways that may not benefit her? The thousands of Black Churchwomen who took part in civil rights protests drew on faith, courage, and moral imagination to acquire the lived experiences at the heart of the answers to that question. AnneMarie Mingo brings these forgotten witnesses into the historical narrative to explore the moral and ethical world of a generation of Black Churchwomen and the extraordinary liberation theology they created. These women acted out of belief that what they did was bigger than themselves. Taking as their goal nothing less than the moral transformation of American society, they joined the movement because it was something they had to do. Their personal accounts of a lived religion enacted in the world provide powerful insights into how faith steels human beings to face threats, jail, violence, and seemingly implacable hatred. Throughout, Mingo draws on their experiences to construct an ethical model meant to guide contemporary activists in the ongoing pursuit of justice.

A depiction of moral imagination that resonates today, Have You Got Good Religion? reveals how Black Churchwomen’s understanding of God became action and transformed a nation.

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The Healing Stage
Black Women, Incarceration, and the Art of Transformation
Lisa Biggs
The Ohio State University Press, 2022
Winner, 2023 NCA Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies

Over the last five decades, Black women have been one of the fastest-growing segments of the global prison population, thanks to changes in policies that mandate incarceration for nonviolent offenses and criminalize what women do to survive interpersonal and state violence. In The Healing Stage, Lisa Biggs reveals how four ensembles of currently and formerly incarcerated women and their collaborating artists use theater and performance to challenge harmful policies and popular discourses that justify locking up “bad” women. Focusing on prison-based arts programs in the US and South Africa, Biggs illustrates how Black feminist cultural traditions—theater, dance, storytelling, poetry, humor, and protest—enable women to investigate the root causes of crime and refute dominant narratives about incarcerated women. In doing so, the arts initiatives that she writes about encourage individual and collective healing, a process of repair that exceeds state definitions of rehabilitation. These case studies offer powerful examples of how the labor of incarcerated Black women artists—some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our society—radically extends our knowledge of prison arts programs and our understanding of what is required to resolve human conflicts and protect women’s lives.
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Human Rights on the Move
Edited by Wendy S. Hesford, Momar K. Ndiaye, and Amy Shuman
The Ohio State University Press, 2024

Engaging critical human rights studies from an interdisciplinary arts and humanities perspective, Human Rights on the Move addresses a range of human rights violations in contemporary society, including the carceral systems that prevent movement, the gendered and racial restrictions placed on movement, the lack of access that assures movement only for those who have the ability to move, and the histories of movements such as settler colonialism. The approaches to human rights in this wide-ranging collection are also “on the move,” emphasizing a nimble, cross-disciplinary approach that considers the intersection of politics, culture, and the arts. 

Contributing artists, activists, and scholars expose the fundamental paradox of human rights (namely that nation-states are violators and guarantors of rights) while also showing how people facing violence and persecution move with the hope of more livable and equitable futures. The assembled scholarly essays, interviews, and creative pieces demonstrate the importance of a more relational and contextual understanding of human rights—one that can destabilize current definitions and open space for new formulations. 

Contributors: 
nora chipaumire, Víctor M. Espinosa, Bridget M. Haas, Wendy S. Hesford, Sona Kazemi, Wendy Kozol, Guisela LaTorre, Rachel Lewis, Faustin Linyekula, Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Tiyi M. Morris, Momar K. Ndiaye, Eleanor Paynter, Cristian Pineda, Elaine Richardson, Amy Shuman, Jennifer Suchland, Mary E. Thomas, Shui-yin Sharon Yam 

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Illegalized
Undocumented Youth Movements in the United States
Rafael A. Martínez
University of Arizona Press, 2024
Illegalized: Undocumented Youth Movements in the United States takes readers on a journey through the history of the rise of undocumented youth social movements in the United States in the twenty-first century. The book follows the documentation trail of undocumented youth activists spanning over two decades of organizing. Each chapter carefully analyzes key organizing strategies used by undocumented youth to produce direct forms of activism that expose and critique repressive forms of state control and violence. This inquiry is particularly generative in relation to how immigrant bodies are erased, contained, and imagined as “aliens” or “illegal.”

Rafael A. Martínez, an undocu-scholar, intricately weaves his lived experience into this deeply insightful exploration. Martínez’s interdisciplinary approach will engage scholars and readers alike, resonating with disciplines such as history, American studies, Chicana and Chicano studies, and borderlands studies.
Illegalized shows that undocumented youth and their activism represent a disruption to the social imaginary of the U.S. nation-state and its figurative and physical borders. It invites readers to explore how undocumented youth activists changed the way immigrant rights are discussed in the United States today.
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Inclusive Dance
The Story of Touchdown Dance
Katy Dymoke
Intellect Books, 2023
Personal accounts of the work of Touchdown Dance and inclusivity in dance performance projects.

Inclusive Dance offers a concise ethnography of disability arts and a historiographic overview of the field in the 1980s when many new disability arts groups emerged in the UK. It focuses in particular on the inclusive teaching modalities of Touchdown Dance, which was the work of dancer Steve Paxton and theater-maker and psychotherapist Anne Kilcoyne. It involved visually impaired and sighted adults in a dyadic movement form called Contact Improvisation. Katy Dymoke took over Touchdown Dance in 1994, and this book draws on archives, participant accounts, and personal experience to detail the work of Touchdown Dance and its effects on its participants since its founding. Three guests from Touchdown Dance contribute eyewitness accounts of the methods and performance projects.
 
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Just Kids
Youth Activism and Rhetorical Agency
Risa Applegarth
The Ohio State University Press, 2024
Although children have prompted and participated in numerous acts of protest and advocacy, their words and labors are more likely to be dismissed than discussed as serious activism. Whether treated disparagingly by antagonistic audiences or lauded as symbols of hope by sympathetic ones, children and teens are rarely considered capable organizers and advocates for change. In Just Kids, Risa Applegarth investigates youth-organized activism from the 1990s to the present, asking how young people have leveraged age as a rhetorical resource, despite material and rhetorical barriers that limit their access to traditional forms of electoral power. Through case studies of antinuclear activism, im/migration activism, and activism for gun reform, this book reveals how childhood both limits and enables rhetorical possibility for young people. Drawing on interviews and focus group discussions with activists, Applegarth probes how participants understand the success and failure of their efforts beyond the immediate moment of impact. Methodologically innovative, Just Kids develops a framework of reflexive agency to make sense of how participants’ activism has mattered over time within their lives and communities.
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Just Wonder
Shifting Perspectives in Tradition
Pauline Greenhill
Utah State University Press, 2024
Inspired by folklore, television, fairy tales, social media, novels, and films, Just Wonder addresses crucial themes in social and ecological justice efforts. Moving into the mid-twenty-first century, wonder—as a potentially critical sociocultural, ecological, and individual stance—will play a significant role in reconceptualizing the present to imagine a different and better world.
 
These essays examine fairy tales and other traditional forms of the fantastic and the real to offer alternative expressions of justice relevant to gender, sex, sexuality, environment, Indigeneity, class, ability, race, decolonizing, and human and nonhuman relations. By analyzing fairy tales and wonder texts from various media through an intersectional feminist lens, Pauline Greenhill and Jennifer Orme consider how wonder genres and forms blend with diverse conceptions of seeking and enacting justice. International collaborators—both established and emerging scholars who self-identify with different subjectivities, locations, and generations and come from an impressive range of inter/disciplines—engage with contemporary and historical texts from various languages and cultural contexts, including interventions, counterparts, and comparisons to the fairy tale. Just Wonder offers a critical look at how creative wondering can expand the ability to resist modes of oppression while fostering equity, as well as encourage curiosity and imagination.
 
In a world that can be overwhelming and precarious, this book presents scholarly, artistic, personal, and collective-action interventions to identify and respond to injustice while centering wonder and, thus, imagination, questioning, and hope. Just Wonder will appeal to fairy-tale scholars; folklorists; students and scholars of film, media studies, and cultural studies; as well as a general audience.
 
 
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Left in the Midwest
St. Louis Progressive Activism in the 1960s and 1970s
Amanda L. Izzo
University of Missouri Press, 2023

Despite St. Louis’s mid-twentieth-century reputation as a conservative and sleepy midwestern metropolis, the city and its surrounding region have long played host to dynamic forms of social-movement organizing. This was especially the case during the 1960s and 1970s, when a new generation of local activists lent their energies to the ongoing struggles for Black freedom, lesbian and gay liberation, feminist social transformations, environmental protection, an end to the Vietnam War, and more. This volume, the first of its kind, offers fifteen scholarly contributions that together bring into focus the exceptional range of progressive activist projects that took shape in a single midwestern city during these tumultuous decades.

In contrast to scholarship that seeks to interpret the era’s social-movement initiatives in a primarily national context, the works presented in this expansive collection emphasize the importance of locality, neighborhood, community institutions, and rooted social networks. Documenting wrenching forces of metropolitan change as well as grassroots resilience, Left in the Midwest shows us how place powerfully shaped agendas, worldviews, and opportunities for the disparate groups that dedicated themselves to progressive visions for their city. By revising our sense of the region’s past, this volume also expands our sense of the possibilities that the future may hold for activist movements seeking change in St. Louis and beyond.
 

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Let Something Good Be Said
Speeches and Writings of Frances E. Willard
Frances E. Willard. Edited by Carolyn De Swarte Gifford and Amy R. Slagell
University of Illinois Press, 2007
The definitive collection of speeches and writings of one of America's most important social reformers

Celebrated as the most famous woman in America at the time of her death in 1898, Frances E. Willard was a leading nineteenth-century American temperance and women's rights reformer and a powerful orator. President of Evanston College for Ladies (before it merged with Northwestern University) and then professor of rhetoric and aesthetics and the first dean of women at Northwestern, Willard is best known for leading the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), America's largest women's organization. The WCTU shaped both domestic and international opinion on major political, economic, and social reform issues, including temperance, women's rights, and the rising labor movement. In what Willard regarded as her most important and far-reaching reform, she championed a new ideal of a powerful, independent womanhood and encouraged women to become active agents of social change. Willard's reputation as a powerful reformer reached its height with her election as president of the National Council of Women in 1888. 

This definitive collection follows Willard's public reform career, providing primary documents as well as the historical context necessary to clearly demonstrate her skill as a speaker and writer who addressed audiences as diverse as political conventions, national women's organizations, teen girls, state legislators, church groups, and temperance advocates. Including Willard's representative speeches and published writings on everything from temperance and women's rights to the new labor movement and Christian socialism, Let Something Good Be Said is the first volume to collect the messages of one of America's most important social reformers who inspired a generation of women to activism.

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"Mr. Taxpayer versus Mr. Tax Spender"
Taxpayers' Associations, Pocketbook Politics, and the Law during the Great Depression
Linda Upham-Bornstein
Temple University Press, 2023
During the Great Depression, the proliferation of local taxpayers’ associations was dramatic and unprecedented. The justly concerned members of these organizations examined the operations of state, city, and county governments, then pressed local officials for operational and fiscal reforms. These associations aimed to reduce the cost of state and local governments to make operations more efficient and less expensive. 
 
“Mr. Taxpayer versus Mr. Tax Spender” presents a comprehensive overview of these grassroots taxpayers’ leagues beginning in the 1860s and shows how they evolved during their heyday in the 1930s. Linda Upham-Bornstein chronicles the ways these taxpayers associations organized as well as the tools they used—constructive economy, political efforts, tax strikes, and tax revolt through litigation—to achieve their objectives.
 
Taxpayer activity was a direct consequence of—and a response to—the economic crisis of the Great Depression and the expansion of the size and scope of government. “Mr. Taxpayer versus Mr. Tax Spender” connects collective tax resistance in the 1930s to the populist tradition in American politics and to other broad impulses in American political and legal history.
 
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Mujeres de Maiz en Movimiento
Spiritual Artivism, Healing Justice, and Feminist Praxis
Edited by Amber Rose González, Felicia ‘Fe’ Montes, and Nadia Zepeda
University of Arizona Press, 2024
Founded in 1997, Mujeres de Maiz (MdM) is an Indigenous Xicana–led spiritual artivist organization and movement by and for women and feminists of color. Chronicling its quarter-century-long herstory, this collection weaves together diverse stories with attention to their larger sociopolitical contexts. The book crosses conventional genre boundaries through the inclusion of poetry, visual art, testimonios, and essays.

MdM’s political-ethical-spiritual commitments, cultural production, and everyday practices are informed by Indigenous and transnational feminist of color artistic, ceremonial, activist, and intellectual legacies. Contributors fuse stories of celebration, love, and spirit-work with an incisive critique of interlocking oppressions, both intimate and structural, encouraging movement toward “a world where many worlds fit.”

The multidisciplinary, intergenerational, and critical-creative nature of the project coupled with the unique subject matter makes the book a must-have for high school and college students, activist-scholars, artists, community organizers, and others invested in social justice and liberation.
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The New Civil Rights Movement Reader
Resistance, Resilience, and Justice
Edited by Traci Parker and Marcia Walker-McWilliams
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023

In the United States, the fight to secure full civil rights for African American people has endured for centuries. The movement has included many voices, among them, working people, charismatic activists, musicians and artists, the LGBTQIA community, veterans, suburbanites, and elected officials. Moving from the labor struggles of the 1930s to the sit-ins and boycotts of midcentury, and the Black Lives Matter protests of today, this expansive volume brings together first-person accounts, political documents and speeches, and historical photographs from each region of the country.

Designed for use in courses and engaging for general readers, this new compilation is the most diverse, most inclusive, and most comprehensive resource available for teaching and learning about the civil rights movement. With chronological and geographical depth, The New Civil Rights Movement Reader addresses a range of key topics, including youth activism, regional and local freedom struggles, voting rights, economic inequality, gender, sexuality, and culture, and the movement’s global reach.

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Next to Godliness
Confronting Dirt and Despair in Progressive Era New York City
Daniel Burnstein
University of Illinois Press, 2010
To many Progressive Era reformers, the extent of street cleanliness was an important gauge for determining whether a city was providing the conditions necessary for impoverished immigrants to attain a state of "decency"--a level of individual well-being and morality that would help ensure a healthy and orderly city. Daniel Eli Burnstein's study examines prominent street sanitation issues in Progressive Era New York City--ranging from garbage strikes to "juvenile cleaning leagues"--to explore how middle-class reformers amassed a cross-class and cross-ethnic base of support for social reform measures to a degree greater than in practically any other period of prosperity in U.S. history. The struggle for enhanced civic sanitation serves as a window for viewing Progressive Era social reformers' attitudes, particularly their emphasis on mutual obligations between the haves and have-nots, and their recognition of the role of negative social and physical conditions in influencing individual behaviors.
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Nonviolence
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Ramin Jahanbegloo
Haus Publishing, 2023
A powerful book on the importance of committing to nonviolence.

In this compact book, Ramin Jahanbegloo argues that the time has come for humanity to renew its political, economic, and cultural commitment to the idea of nonviolence. At the core of the work of such towering fighters against oppression as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Václav Havel, the idea of nonviolence still has much to teach us and much work to do in the ongoing fight for justice worldwide.
 
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The Organization of Journalism
Market Models and Practice in a Fraying Profession
Patrick Ferrucci
University of Illinois Press, 2024
New business models have splintered journalists’ once-monolithic professional culture. Where the organization once had little sway in the newsroom, in today’s journalism ecosystem, owners and management influence newsgathering more than ever.

Using rich interviews and participant observation, Patrick Ferrucci examines institutions with funding mechanisms that range from traditional mogul ownership and online-only nonprofits to staff-owned cooperatives and hedge fund control. The variations in market models have frayed the tenets of professionalization, with unique work cultures emerging from each organization’s focus on its mission and the implantation of its own processes and ethical guidelines. As a result, the field of American journalism no longer shares uniform newsgathering practices and a common identity, a break with the past that affects what information we consume today and what the press will become tomorrow.

An inside look at a fracturing profession, The Organization of Journalism illuminates the institution’s expanding impact on newsgathering and the people who practice it.

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Para Power
How Paraprofessional Labor Changed Education
Nick Juravich
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Paraprofessional educators entered US schools amidst the struggles of the late 1960s. Immersed in the crisis of care in public education, paras improved systems of education and social welfare despite low pay and second-rate status.

Understanding paras as key players in Black and Latino struggles for jobs and freedom, Nick Juravich details how the first generation of paras in New York City transformed work in public schools and the relationships between schools and the communities they served. Paraprofessional programs created hundreds of thousands of jobs in working-class Black and Latino neighborhoods. These programs became an important pipeline for the training of Black and Latino teachers in the1970s and early 1980s while paras’ organizing helped drive the expansion and integration of public sector unions.

An engaging portrait of an invisible profession, Para Power examines the lives and practices of the first generation of paraprofessional educators against the backdrop of struggles for justice, equality, and self-determination.

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Playful Protest
The Political Work of Joy in Latinx Media
Kristie Soares
University of Illinois Press, 2023
Pleasure-based politics in Puerto Rican and Cuban pop culture

Joy is a politicized form of pleasure that goes beyond gratification to challenge norms of gender, sexuality, race, and class. Kristie Soares focuses on the diasporic media of Puerto Rico and Cuba to examine how music, public activist demonstrations, social media, sitcoms, and other areas of culture resist the dominant stories told about Latinx joy. As she shows, Latinx creators compose versions of joy central to social and political struggle and at odds with colonialist and imperialist narratives that equate joy with political docility and a lack of intelligence. Soares builds her analysis around chapters that delve into gozando in salsa music, precise joy among the New Young Lords Party, choteo in the comedy ¿Qué Pasa U.S.A.?, azúcar in the life and death of Celia Cruz, dale as Pitbull’s signature affect, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s use of silliness to take seriously political violence.

Daring and original, Playful Protest examines how Latinx creators resist the idea that joy only exists outside politics and activist struggle.

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The Policing Machine
Enforcement, Endorsements, and the Illusion of Public Input
Tony Cheng
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A revelatory look at how the NYPD has resisted change through strategic and selective community engagement.
 
The past few years have seen Americans express passionate demands for police transformation. But even as discussion of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and body cameras has exploded, any changes to police procedures have only led to the same outcomes. Despite calls for increased accountability, police departments have successfully stonewalled change.  
 
In The Policing Machine, Tony Cheng reveals the stages of that resistance, offering a close look at the deep engagement strategies that NYPD precincts have developed with only subsets of the community in order to counter any truly meaningful, democratic oversight. Cheng spent nearly two years in an unprecedented effort to understand the who and how of police-community relationship building in New York City, documenting the many ways the police strategically distributed power and privilege within the community to increase their own public legitimacy without sacrificing their organizational independence. By setting up community councils that are conveniently run by police allies, handing out favors to local churches that will promote the police to their parishioners, and offering additional support to institutions friendly to the police, the NYPD, like police departments all over the country, cultivates political capital through a strategic politics that involves distributing public resources, offering regulatory leniency, and deploying coercive force. The fundamental challenge with police-community relationships, Cheng shows, is not to build them. It is that they already exist and are motivated by a machinery designed to stymie reform.
 
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The Policing Machine
Enforcement, Endorsements, and the Illusion of Public Input
Tony Cheng
University of Chicago Press, 2024
This is an auto-narrated audiobook version of this book.

A revelatory look at how the NYPD has resisted change through strategic and selective community engagement.

 
The past few years have seen Americans express passionate demands for police transformation. But even as discussion of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and body cameras has exploded, any changes to police procedures have only led to the same outcomes. Despite calls for increased accountability, police departments have successfully stonewalled change.  
 
In The Policing Machine, Tony Cheng reveals the stages of that resistance, offering a close look at the deep engagement strategies that NYPD precincts have developed with only subsets of the community in order to counter any truly meaningful, democratic oversight. Cheng spent nearly two years in an unprecedented effort to understand the who and how of police-community relationship building in New York City, documenting the many ways the police strategically distributed power and privilege within the community to increase their own public legitimacy without sacrificing their organizational independence. By setting up community councils that are conveniently run by police allies, handing out favors to local churches that will promote the police to their parishioners, and offering additional support to institutions friendly to the police, the NYPD, like police departments all over the country, cultivates political capital through a strategic politics that involves distributing public resources, offering regulatory leniency, and deploying coercive force. The fundamental challenge with police-community relationships, Cheng shows, is not to build them. It is that they already exist and are motivated by a machinery designed to stymie reform.
 
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The Politics of Hallowed Ground
Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty
Mario Gonzalez and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
University of Illinois Press, 1999

Inside the Sioux Nation's pursuit of recognition and justice

This book is the powerful story of the ongoing struggle of indigenous Americans in the twentieth century United States and of its shift in focus from traditional battlefield and massacre sites to federal courtrooms and the halls of Congress.

The Politics of Hallowed Ground includes excerpts from the diary kept by Mario Gonzalez, the attorney for the Sioux Nation in its struggle for recognition of the Wounded Knee Massacre site as a national monument. Gonzalez's personal record of the struggle is coupled with commentary by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a Native American writer who places the work in its historical context. Together, the two voices will draw the reader into far more than the continuing struggle of the Sioux people to achieve justice.

The book covers Sioux history from before the Wounded Knee tragedy to modern times, through the Sioux Nation's long and often rancorous dialogue with the U.S. government over control of South Dakota's Black Hills, traditional Sioux lands recognized by treaty in 1877 and never forfeited or sold. After reading a 13-year-old survivor's narrative of what happened at Wounded Knee and the list of the dead and wounded, readers will find it difficult not to share the Sioux perspective.

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The Politics of Hate
How the Christian Right Darkened America's Political Soul
Angelia R. Wilson
Temple University Press, 2025

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Protest City
Portland's Summer of Rage
Rian Dundon
Oregon State University Press, 2023

In the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Portland made national news with nightly social justice protests, often met with violent response by counter protestors and law enforcement. Though frequently regarded as a progressive hub, Portland has a long history of racial inequality and oppression, and the city’s entrenched divisions gained new attention during the Trump years. The photos in Protest City present a visceral visual record of this significant moment in Portland’s history.  

Rian Dundon, who has been photographing the rise of extreme politics on the West Coast since 2016, lived only a short walk from the protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd. For one hundred days, Dundon enmeshed himself in the demonstrations with an unobtrusive point-and-shoot camera. The result is a graphic portrayal of how social movements become politicized, how spectacle serves as a subtext to change in the digital age, and how modern protests blur distinctions among performance, ritual, and surveillance. As he follows the progress of Portland’s conflicts, Dundon draws connections to Oregon’s legacy as a stronghold of white supremacist extremism and interrogates the role of whiteness in racial justice movements.  

Most of the photographs in the book were taken between May and October 2020, but the collection also includes photos from protests in late 2020 and 2021 around various related issues, including the Red House eviction blockade, rightwing demonstrations on January 6 and 17, and the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. Dundon’s striking photos recreate the immediacy and impact of the protests, while essays by historian Carmen Thompson and journalist Donnell Alexander contextualize the uprising’s sociopolitical background. A chronology and author’s note are also featured.  

The publisher and author would like to thank the Magnum Foundation, Documentary Arts, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project for their generous support of this publication. Additional funding has been provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

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Refounding Democracy through Intersectional Activism
How Progressive Era Feminists Redefined Who We Are, and What It Means Today
Wendy Sarvasy
Temple University Press, 2024
In Refounding Democracy through Intersectional Activism, Wendy Sarvasy recovers the unacknowledged Progressive Era social democratic feminist refounders who used collective political agency to reshape the body politic. Through intersectional activism, or the bridging of different movements, the refounders, who include Ida Wells-Barnett, Rose Schneiderman, and Jane Addams, created an intersectional, social democratic feminist understanding of democracy that allowed them to imagine their full inclusion.

Sarvasy shows how these activists worked to incorporate women by combining political democracy with the creation of a welfare state. They embedded this nation-state project within a new humanitarian transnational level as they evolved their multileveled social citizenship.

Refounding Democracy through Intersectional Activism demonstrates how a theory-activist dynamic played out in experimental socializing spaces and democratic conversations. It offers an inspirational method for intersectional activists today.
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Refusals and Reinventions
Engendering New Indigenous and Black Life across the Americas
Daniel Ìgbín’bí Coleman
The Ohio State University Press, 2024
In Refusals and Reinventions, artist-scholar-organizer Daniel Coleman considers his critical trajectories and participation in intersectional justice struggles in the US and Mexico, situating them within larger abolitionist and decolonial movements for Black civil rights and Native/Indigenous sovereignty. He identifies how Black and Indigenous people create, exist in, and reclaim many worlds—the pluriverse—through their artistic refusals and reinventions. Coleman thus contributes to a growing body of pluriversal thought, inspired by the Zapatista motto “a world in which many worlds fit.” Charting previously unrecognized connections among the creative struggles of Indigenous people in southern Mexico and Black people in the southern United States, Coleman draws on performance praxis, decolonial pedagogies, and Afro-diasporic and Native/Indigenous cosmologies to frame four case studies of people refusing racialized, gendered violences as world-making tools. In looking at creative responses among activists in Chiapas and in North Carolina, Coleman uses transfeminist, Black feminist, and decolonial frameworks to ask: How do creative insurgent practices give us access to our humanity? And what do praxis and engaged witnessing have to teach us about what worlds from the pluriverse hold?
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Reparations and Reparatory Justice
Past, Present, and Future
Edited by Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Mary Frances Berry, and V. P. Franklin
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Changes at the global, federal, state, and municipal level are pushing forward the reparations movement for people of African descent. The distinguished editors of this volume have gathered works that chronicle the historical movement for reparations both in the United States and around the world.

Sharing a focus on reparations as an issue of justice, the contributors provide a historical primer of the movement; introduce the philosophical, political, economic, legal and ethical issues surrounding reparations; explain why government, corporations, universities, and other institutions must take steps to rehabilitate, compensate, and commemorate African Americans; call for the restoration of Black people’s human and civil rights and material and psychological well-being; lay out specific ideas about how reparations can and should be paid; and advance cutting-edge interpretations of the complex long-lasting effects that enslavement, police and vigilante actions, economic discrimination, and other behaviors have had on people of African descent.

Groundbreaking and innovative, Reparations and Reparatory Justice offers a multifaceted resource to anyone wishing to explore a defining moral issue of our time.

Contributors: Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Hilary McDonald Beckles, Mary Frances Berry, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Chuck Collins, Ron Daniels, V. P. Franklin, Danny Glover, Adom Gretachew, Charles Henry, Kamm Howard, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Jesse Jackson, Sr., Brian Jones, Sheila Jackson Lee, James B. Stewart, the Movement 4 Black Lives, the National African American Reparations Commission, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization/Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

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Rescuing Ellisville Marsh
The Long Fight to Restore Lost Connections
Eric P. Cody
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023

For hundreds of years, farmers and fishing communities maintained the inlet to Ellisville Marsh, a picturesque piece of coastline ten miles south of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Recognized as one of the most environmentally sensitive and ecologically valuable places in the state, the salt marsh and estuary are home to a diverse array of wildlife and a range of habitats, including low-tide mudflats, a saltwater pond, intertidal zone, and fields of tall marsh grass.

After agricultural and fishing activities faded away in the late twentieth century, it soon became apparent that protecting the marsh and its surroundings from development would not be enough to restore the natural equilibrium that had been lost when the inlet became blocked. Having witnessed government inaction over the years, Eric P. Cody and four other locals founded the Friends of Ellisville Marsh in 2007 to address erosion, revive tidal flows, and revitalize fisheries and wildlife in the face of climate change. Rescuing Ellisville Marsh presents the powerful case study of backyard activism, telling the story of a community that bonded with a natural place and decided to fight for it.

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The Rise of the Masses
Spontaneous Mobilization and Contentious Politics
Benjamin Abrams
University of Chicago Press, 2023
An insightful examination of how intersecting individual motivations and social structures mobilize spontaneous mass protests.

Between 15 and 26 million Americans participated in protests surrounding the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others as part of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, which is only one of the most recent examples of an immense mobilization of citizens around a cause. In The Rise of the Masses, sociologist Benjamin Abrams addresses why and how people spontaneously protest, riot, and revolt en masse. While most uprisings of such a scale require tremendous resources and organizing, this book focuses on cases where people with no connection to organized movements take to the streets, largely of their own accord. Looking to the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the Black Lives Uprising, as well as the historical case of the French Revolution, Abrams lays out a theory of how and why massive mobilizations arise without the large-scale planning that usually goes into staging protests.

Analyzing a breadth of historical and regional cases that provide insight into mass collective behavior, Abrams draws on first-person interviews and archival sources to argue that people organically mobilize when a movement speaks to their pre-existing dispositions and when structural and social conditions make it easier to get involved—what Abrams terms affinity-convergence theory. Shedding a light on the drivers behind large spontaneous protests, The Rise of the Masses offers a significant theory that could help predict movements to come.
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Saul Alinsky and the Dilemmas of Race
Community Organizing in the Postwar City
Mark Santow
University of Chicago Press, 2023
A groundbreaking examination of Saul Alinsky's organizing work as it relates to race.

Saul Alinsky is the most famous—even infamous—community organizer in American history. Almost single-handedly, he invented a new political form: community federations, which used the power of a neighborhood’s residents to define and fight for their own interests. Across a long and controversial career spanning more than three decades, Alinsky and his Industrial Areas Foundation organized Eastern European meatpackers in Chicago, Kansas City, Buffalo, and St. Paul; Mexican Americans in California and Arizona; white middle-class homeowners on the edge of Chicago’s South Side black ghetto; and African Americans in Rochester, Buffalo, Chicago, and other cities.

Mark Santow focuses on Alinsky’s attempts to grapple with the biggest moral dilemma of his age: race. As Santow shows, Alinsky was one of the few activists of the period to take on issues of race on paper and in the streets, on both sides of the color line, in the halls of power, and at the grassroots, in Chicago and in Washington, DC. Alinsky’s ideas, actions, and organizations thus provide us with a unique and comprehensive viewpoint on the politics of race, poverty, and social geography in the United States in the decades after World War II. Through Alinsky’s organizing and writing, we can see how the metropolitan color line was constructed, contested, and maintained—on the street, at the national level, and among white and black alike. In doing so, Santow offers new insight into an epochal figure and the society he worked to change.
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Screening Social Justice
Brave New Films and Documentary Activism
Sherry B. Ortner
Duke University Press, 2023
In Screening Social Justice, award-winning anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner presents an ethnographic study of Brave New Films, a nonprofit film production company that makes documentaries intended to mobilize progressive grassroots activism. Ortner positions the work of the company within a tradition of activist documentary filmmaking and within the larger field of “alternative media” that is committed to challenging the mainstream media and telling the truth about the world today. The company’s films cover a range of social justice issues, with particular focus on the hidden workings of capitalism, racism, and right-wing extremism. Beyond the films themselves, Brave New Films is also famous for its creative distribution strategies. All of the films are available for free on YouTube. Central to the intention of promoting political activism, the films circulate through networks of other activist and social justice organizations and are shown almost entirely in live screenings in which the power of the film is amplified. Ortner takes the reader inside both the production process and the screenings to show how a film can be made and used to mobilize action for a better world.
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This Book is Free and Yours to Keep
Notes from the Appalachian Prison Book Project
Connie Banta
West Virginia University Press, 2024
This Book Is Free and Yours to Keep presents a captivating collection of letters and artwork by people in prison that highlights the crucial work done by the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP), a nonprofit that provides books to incarcerated people in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland. Through the words of people directly impacted by the criminal punishment system, the collection provides uncommon insight into reading practices and everyday life in prisons and jails while being an inspiration for prison book projects, prison reform, and abolition.

Simultaneously communicating the vital importance of access to books and education, and conveying the power of community, the letters sent to APBP by incarcerated people spark conversations about race, poverty, and incarceration and shed light on the movement for accountability for state violence. This Book Is Free and Yours to Keep elucidates the violence and neglect perpetuated by carceral systems and offers a way forward based on solidarity and collaboration.
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Those Without A Country
The Political Culture of Italian American Syndicalists
Michael Miller Topp
University of Minnesota Press, 2001

In the first book-length history of the Italian American syndicalist movement—the Italian Socialist Federation—Michael Miller Topp presents a new way of understanding the Progressive Era labor movement in relation to migration, transnationalism, gender, and class identity. Those without a Country demonstrates that characterizations of "old" (pre-1960s) social movements as predominantly class-based are vastly oversimplified—and contribute to current debates about the implications of identity politics for the American Left and American culture generally.

    

Topp traces the rise and fall of the Italian American syndicalist movement from the turn of the twentieth century to the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927. His use of Italian-language sources, combined with his attention to transnationalism and masculinity, provides new vantage points on a range of related topics, including the 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers’ strike, the impact of World War I on this immigrant community, and the genesis of both fascism and antifascism. Those without a Country brings forward fascinating new material to revise and refine our views of not only Progressive Era radicalism but immigration, gender, and working-class history as well.

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Two-Year College Writing Studies
Rationale and Praxis for Just Teaching
Darin Jensen
Utah State University Press, 2023
Two-Year College Writing Studies is a comprehensive overview of the two-year college writing teaching experience within our current political and historical contexts, with examples for teachers to better enact just teaching practices in their colleges. Editors Darin Jensen and Brett Griffiths present grounded, well-theorized, and practical strategies for teachers to implement in classrooms, institutions, and geopolitical contexts to advocate more effectively for their students.
 
Contributors draw on theories of identity, rhetorical third space, and linguistics to articulate a praxis of just teaching. They describe existing institutional challenges and opportunities that foster equity and offer cautionary tales of educational systems dismantled for short-term economic and political gains. Two-year college writing studies—when properly resourced—holds the potential to foster (or undermine) democratic ideals of civic literacy and uplift. Chapters in this volume offer case study examples of changes in departmental practices for reflection, interaction, and assessment that empower faculty to break free and engage directly with institutional, regional, state, and national constraints.
 
By making these resilient practices visible, Two-Year College Writing Studies amplifies the voices and validates the experiences of instructors engaging in this work. It will serve generalists, specialists, and academics interested in the subdiscipline of student success pedagogies and the political histories of two-year colleges and be useful for instructors new to the field, as professional development for veteran instructors, and as an introduction for graduate students entering two-year college writing studies programs.
 
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Unfracked
The Struggle to Ban Fracking in New York
Richard Buttny
University of Massachusetts Press, 2024

Since fracking emerged as a way of extracting natural gas, through intense deep drilling and the use of millions of gallons of water and chemicals to fracture shale, it has been controversial. It is perceived in different ways by different people—by some as an opportunity for increased resources and possibly jobs and other income; by others as a public health and environmental threat; and for many, an unknown. Richard Buttny, a scholar who works on rhetoric and discursive practices, read a story in his local paper in New York about hydrofracking coming to his area and had to research what it was, and what it could mean for his community. Soon he joined neighbors in fighting to have the practice banned state-wide. At the same time, he turned his scholarly eye to the messaging from both sides of the fight, using first-person accounts, interviews, and media coverage.

The activists fighting fracking won. New York is now the only state in the US with sizable deposits of natural gas that has banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Unfracked explains the competing rhetoric and discourses on fracking among New York-based advocates, experts, the grassroots, and political officials. Buttny examines how these positions evolved over time and how eventually the state arrived at a decision to ban this extractive technology. His accessible approach provides both a historical recounting of the key events of this seven-year conflict, along with four in-depth case studies: a grassroots citizen group, a public hearing with medical physicians, a key intergovernmental hearing, and a formal debate among experts. The result is a look at a very recent, important historical moment and a useful examination of environmental activist and fossil fuel advocate rhetoric around an issue that continues to cause debate nationwide.

 

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A Vital Frontier
Water Insurgencies in Europe
Andrea Muehlebach
Duke University Press, 2023
In A Vital Frontier Andrea Muehlebach examines the work of activists across Europe as they organize to preserve water as a commons and public good in the face of privatization. Traversing social, political, legal, and hydrological terrains, Muehlebach situates water as a political fault line at the frontiers of financialization, showing how the seemingly relentless expansion of capital into public utilities is being challenged by an equally relentless and often successful insurgence of political organizing. Drawing on ethnographic research, Muehlebach presents water protests as a vital politics that comprises popular referenda, barricades in the streets, huge demonstrations, the burning of utility bills, and legal disputes over transparency and contracts. As Muehlebach documents, Europe’s water activists articulate their own values of democracy and just price, raising far-reaching political questions about private versus common property and financing, liberal democracy, sovereignty, legality, and collective infrastructural responsibility in the face of financialization and commodification. Muehlebach shows that water-rights activists can successfully resist financial markets by exposing the commodification of water as the theft of life itself.
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Winters of Discontent
The Winter Olympics and a Half Century of Protest and Resistance
Edited by Russell Field
University of Illinois Press, 2025
Every four years, the Winter Olympics become a focal point for activism and resistance. But in the modern era, mere bids to host the Games have sparked fierce opposition from groups motivated by local or global concerns. Russell Field edits a collection that charts the evolution of protest around the Winter Games and illuminates the issues at the heart of anti-Olympic activism.

The essays collectively explore the shifting dynamics and power relations between the civic coalitions that pursue the Winter Olympics and the social movements that oppose their efforts. The contributors look at specific Games impacted by dissent and probe the issues that swirled around failed and withdrawn bids. In addition, contributions on the contemporary Olympics describe current or future bids while delving into the campaigns demanding host nations pay attention to economic, social, humanitarian, and environmental concerns.

A first-of-its-kind collection, Winters of Discontent profiles the wide range of activists and social movements that have organized against the Winter Olympics.

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Womanism Rising
Edited by Layli Maparyan
University of Illinois Press, 2025
Womanism Rising concludes Layli Maparyan’s three-book exploration of womanist studies. The collection showcases new work by emerging womanist authors who expand the womanist idea while extending womanism to new sites, new problems, and new audiences.

Maparyan organizes the contributions around five key ideas. The first section looks at womanist self-care as a life-saving strategy. The second examines healing the Earth as a prerequisite to healing ourselves. In Part Three, the essays illuminate how womanism’s politics of invitation provides a strategy for enlarging humanity’s circle of inclusion, while Part Four considers womanism as both a challenge and antidote to dehumanization. The final section delves into womanism’s potential for constructing worlds and futures. In addition, Maparyan includes a section of works by womanist visual artists.

Defiant and far-sighted, Womanism Rising takes readers on a journey into a new generation of concepts, ideas, and strategies for womanist studies.

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Words like Water
Queer Mobilization and Social Change in China
Fugazzola, Caterina
Temple University Press, 2023
After China officially “decriminalized” same-sex behavior in 1997, both the visibility and public acceptance of tongzhi, an inclusive identity term that refers to nonheterosexual and gender nonconforming identities in the People’s Republic of China, has improved. However, for all the positive change, there are few opportunities for political and civil rights advocacy under Xi Jinping’s authoritarian rule.

Words like Water explores the nonconfrontational strategies the tongzhi movement uses in contemporary China. Caterina Fugazzola analyzes tongzhi organizers’ conceptualizations of, and approaches to, social change, explaining how they avoid the backlash that meets Western tactics, such as protests, confrontation, and language about individual freedoms. In contrast, the groups’ intentional use of community and family-oriented narratives, discourses, and understandings of sexual identity are more effective, especially in situations where direct political engagement is not possible.

Providing on-the-ground stories that examine the social, cultural, and political constraints and opportunities, Words like Water emphasizes the value of discursive flexibility that allows activists to adapt to changing social and political conditions.
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Workplace Justice
Organizing Multi-Identity Movements
Sharon Kurtz
University of Minnesota Press, 2002

An unheralded union battle offers new insight into identity politics.

In 1991, Columbia University’s one thousand clerical workers launched a successful campaign for justice in their workplace. This diverse union-two-thirds black and Latina, three-fourths women-was committed to creating an inclusive movement organization and to fighting for all kinds of justice. How could they address the many race and gender injustices members faced, avoid schism, and maintain the unity needed to win? Sharon Kurtz, an experienced union activist and former clerical worker herself, was welcomed into the union and pursued these questions. Using this case study and secondary studies of sister clerical unions at Yale and Harvard, she examines the challenges and potential of identity politics in labor movements.

With the Columbia strike as a point of departure, Kurtz argues that identity politics are valuable for mobilizing groups, but often exclude members and their experiences of oppression. However, Kurtz believes that identity politics should not be abandoned as a component in building movements, but should be reframed-as multi-identity politics. In the end she shows an approach to organizing with great potential impact not only for labor unions but for any social movement.
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Writing for Their Lives
Death Row USA
Edited by Marie Mulvey-Roberts. Foreword by Jan Arriens
University of Illinois Press, 2007
Going well beyond graphic descriptions of death row's madness and suicide-inducing realities, Writing for Their Lives offers powerful, compassionate, and harrowing accounts of prisoners rediscovering the value of life from within the brutality and boredom of the row. Editor Marie Mulvey-Roberts brings together the writings of prisoners (many of whom are also prize-winning authors) and the words of those who work in the field of capital punishment, whose roles have included defense attorney, prison psychiatrist, chaplain and warden, spiritual advisor, abolitionist and executioner, as well as a Nobel Prize nominee and a murder victim family member. The material is presented through articles, journal extracts, letters, short stories, and poems.

Exposing little-known facts about the five modes of execution practiced in the United States today, Writing for Their Lives documents the progress of life on death row from a capital trial to execution and beyond, through the testimony of the prisoners themselves as well as those who watch, listen, and write to them. What emerges are stories of the survival of the human spirit under even the most unimaginable circumstances, and the ways in which some prisoners find penitence and peace in the most unlikely surroundings. In spite of the uniformity of their prison life and its nearly inevitable conclusion, prisoners able to read and write letters are shown to retain and develop their individuality and humanity as their letters become poems and stories.

Writing for Their Lives serves ultimately as an affirmation of the value of life and provides bountiful evidence that when a state executes a prisoner, it takes a life that still had something to give.

This edition features an introduction by the editor as well as a foreword by Jan Arriens. Dr. Mulvey-Roberts will be donating her profits from the sale of this volume to the legal charity Amicus, which assists in capital defense in the United States."

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