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Medium 9781743603604

Man to Man

Berendt, John Lonely Planet Publications ePub

On a drizzly evening in August 2004, five world-wandering authors sat behind a long table in the Metropolitan Ballroom of San Francisco’s Pan Pacific Hotel, discussing our lives and careers as travel writers. The conversation, with Tim Cahill, Jan Morris and Isabel Allende, plus myself and moderator Michael Shapiro, was lively. But I especially enjoyed the Q&A session afterwards—particularly one seemingly innocuous question: What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever been?

I almost tripped over that one. Images of far-flung destinations paraded past my mind’s eye: a female lama’s remote Himalayan sanctuary; the Great Mosque of Djenné, with its termite-hill towers; an obscure tea bar in Esfahan.

But when it came down to it, there was only one honest answer: The most exotic place I’d ever been was only seven hours from San Francisco, by car.

This story is not about my first time going to Burning Man, although that first time – in 2000 – was memorably traumatic. I was plagued by nightmares a week in advance. Horror stories of the crowds, the dust, the noise and the Porta-Potties tormented my agoraphobic soul. I would be ride-sharing to the Black Rock Desert with a woman I barely knew, and camping next to her Subaru Outback in my lightweight backpacking tent. The sandstorms, I’d been warned, might shred it like Romano cheese….

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Medium 9781771870849


Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub


WHEN BALLPOINT PENS FIRST APPEARED in the Laird School, our principal regarded them as abominations, and swiftly decreed their banishment: “Pen and ink here on Monday!” — it wasn’t a suggestion but a commandment. And however we underlings liked to defy him then, I concede that fountain pens are more elegant than ballpoints: for fountain pleases the eardrum, and the nib scratches satisfyingly on the paper. Back in the fourth grade, there was always a bottle of Quink or Waterman’s under the desktop; and when it dwindled, Don’s Store had another one; and when his shelf was bare, the train from Saskatoon replenished it on Thursday — the inkwell, so far as I know, never ran dry.

I believe we readers and writers are engaged in reversing our incarnations. We restore the world to word. But why?

From the writer’s side, something presses out, pushes toward expression. And if the act of writing is not itself a pretty sight (as Christopher Lehmann-Haupt observes), yet the state of having written is one of the most blissful known to humans, rivalling even sex or religious rapture. From the reader’s side, there is a search for communion: the joy of discovering that someone has voiced our experience, and we are not alone; or disappointment that life has not been well-expressed, so we read on, or try to write it ourselves. And on the divine side, it’s said, in the beginning is the Word that means God — nothing in itself until pressed-out, formulated. Word becomes flesh, and flesh re-creates words, our human pluralism tending back toward singularity, and the trinity itself, perhaps, returning to the peace of union.

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Medium 9780253019028

From That Stranded Place

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Taiye Selasi with Aaron Bady. Photo by Mike McGraw at The Daily Texan. ©2014

a conversation with Taiye Selasi

TAIYE SELASIS REPUTATION precedes her. Before she published her first novel in 2013, the celebrated Ghana Must Go, she was already well-known as the author of “Bye Bye Babar,” a very small essay that asked a big question, “What is an Afropolitan?” The answer, she wrote, was a young and beautiful generation of international Africans like her. “We are Afropolitans,” she wrote, “not citizens but Africans of the world.” In the decade since then, the term has become strangely polarizing, almost notorious. On the one hand, it’s been taken up as banner for Brand Africa in the twenty-first century; there’s a magazine called Afropolitan and you can buy “handmade and designer accessories such as jewelry, bags and shoes” from The Afropolitan Shop. But as the term has been commodified (quite literally), there has been a backlash, not only against Taiye Selasi and the idea of the Afropolitan, but against the bourgeois aesthetic that many have taken them to represent, a twenty-first-century black Atlantic that many have taken to be at odds with more explicitly politicized versions of African diasporic culture. Binyavanga Wainaina, for example, made waves at the 2013 UK African Studies Association by declaring, in his keynote address, that “I am a Pan-Africanist, not an Afropolitan.”

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Medium 9780253018632

The Problem of Citizenship, the Question of Crime, and the Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a review of Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2011)

Michael Ralph

RUTHIE GILMORE, THE geographer and social theorist, once began a public lecture by noting, “There is one black man serving a term in the White House, and about one million black men serving terms in the big house . . .” Gilmore’s clever quip partly serves to deter the facile notion that the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States in 2008 was a uniform triumph for all African Americans. But Gilmore is likewise suggesting that statistics on race and crime have become a way to avoid engaging with the economic and political conditions that have given rise to what many now call the “prison boom” during the latter part of the twentieth century. Several scholars have noted that, relative to white Americans, African Americans are now incarcerated at nearly twice the rate during the era of legalized segregation. Fewer have explored the technologies of social differentiation that support these disparities. For these and other reasons, Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America [hereafter Condemnation] is a welcome addition to the fields of criminology and the history of race in the United States, but also to American and African American histories more broadly, as well as the history of science. In taking seriously the crucial role that statistics have played in shaping protocols of social differentiation and inscribing economic and political hierarchies, Muhammad enriches several fields of inquiry simultaneously. Perhaps most notably, Condemnation of Blackness yields original scholarly conclusions about the problem of citizenship, the question of crime, and the origin of the Civil Rights Movement in U.S. history.

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Medium 9780253020659

3 Southward Road Narratives: How French Citizens Become Clandestine Immigrants in Algeria

Hakim Abderrezak Indiana University Press ePub

SOCIOLOGIST ZYGMUNT BAUMAN explains that globalization is about its effects on us versus our goals: “‘Globalization’ is not about what we all, or at least the most resourceful and enterprising among us, wish or hope to do. It is about what is happening to us all.”1 Thus, as the common vision goes, a distinction between rich countries and less rich ones has been made, encapsulated in the appellations global North and global South. The effects of globalization unfold in the daily lives of people in these two spaces. At the intersection of the pressures of the local and the global, the term glocal has been proposed to describe the connections and relationships between various types of local and global businesses, organizations, and processes. This term, coined by Roland Robertson in Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, is often used to refer to local ways of dealing with globalized practices and products. The glocal should not be understood in simple terms and binary divides, such as a glocal North and a glocal South but rather as a multifaceted process with numerous effects within these two regions.

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