Publications

    The Voice at the Back Door
    Spencer, Elizabeth. The Voice at the Back Door. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract

    In the mid-1950s, the town of Lacey in the Mississippi hill country is a place where the lives of blacks and whites, though seemingly separate, are in fact historically and inevitably intertwined. When Lacey's fair-haired boy, Duncan Harper, is appointed interim sheriff, he makes public his private convictions about the equality of blacks before the law, and the combined threat and promise he represents to the understood order of things in Lacey affects almost every member of the community. In the end, Harper succeeds in pointing the way for individuals, both black and white, to find a more harmonious coexistence, but at a sacrifice all must come to regret.

    In The Voice at the Back Door, Mississippi native Elizabeth Spencer gives form to the many voices that shaped her view of race relations while growing up, and at the same time discovers her own voice -- one of hope. Employing her extraordinary literary powers -- finely honed narrative techniques, insight into a rich, diverse cast of characters, and an unerring ear for dialect -- Spencer makes palpable the psychological milieu of a small southern town hobbled by tradition but lurching toward the dawn of the civil rights movement. First published in 1956, The Voice at the Back Door is Spencer's most highly praised novel yet, and her last to treat small-town life in Mississippi.

    Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
    Oluo, Ijeoma. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. New York: Seal Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "In her new book, rather than tear down the statues of certain white men, Ijeoma Oluo casts her eye on the long view of a nation that, as a whole, has built a dominant identity for white men. Her book challenges what we value most in America, during a tumultuous time of upheaval as we painfully strive toward a more perfect union. With her signature sharp wit, Oluo exposes how white male identity not only blatantly marks our divided culture today, from presidential politics to popular culture, but it is insidiously embedded even in the history of apparent progress, from women entering the workforce, to rising access to higher education, to the work of white civil rights advocates and male feminists. Oluo relates the glorification of White male aggression behind Western Expansion, the disdain of women workers strengthening the Great Depression, the fear of racial integration driving the Great Migration, and more examples of how White male America was forged and reinforced-at a devastating cost. Far from arguing that all white men are mediocre, Oluo instead challenges a national narrative that for generations has defined success exclusively around white men. Status for white men is granted only in relation to others, and is separated from actual achievement. This is not a benign mediocrity; it is brutal for everyone who is erased. Deeply researched, passionate, and revelatory, Oluo's Mediocre argues that if we wish to move beyond the rancorous politics where only white men are created equal, if we wish to write better stories for the next generation of Americans, we first need upend everything we thought we knew about our founding stories"–

    An African American and LatinX History of the United States
    Ortiz, Paul. An African American and LatinX History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    Scholar and activist,Paul Ortiz, challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations such as "manifest destiny" and "Jacksonian democracy," and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.

    Assata: An Autobiography
    Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur, aka JoAnne Chesimard, lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infilitrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. ... Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides." From the bookjacket.

    How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective
    Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta, ed. How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    The Combahee River Collective, a group of radical black feminists, was one of the most important organizations to develop out of the anti-racist and women's liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s. In this collection, founding members of the organization and contemporary activists reflect on the legacy of its contributions to black feminism and its impact on today's struggles.

    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
    Treuer, David. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present. New York: Riverhead Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    The received idea of Native American history -- as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's 1970 mega-bestselling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee -- has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear -- and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence -- the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention. Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the U.S. military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

    Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
    Estes, Nick. Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance. London, New York: Verso, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan "Mni Wiconi"–Water is Life–was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue. In Our History is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance leading to the \#NoDAPL movement from the days of the Missouri River trading forts through the Indian Wars, the Pick-Sloan dams, the American Indian Movement, and the campaign for Indigenous rights at the United Nations. While a historian by trade, Estes also draws on observations from the encampments and from growing up as a citizen of the Oceti Sakowin (the Nation of the Seven Council Fires), making Our History is the Future at once a work of history, a personal story, and a manifesto"– provided by publisher.

    Horses, Horses, In the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale that Begins with Fukushima
    Furukawa, Hideo, Douglas Slaymaker, and Akiko Takenaka. Horses, Horses, In the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale that Begins with Fukushima. Weatherhead books on Asia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is a multifaceted literary response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that devastated northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The novel is narrated by Hideo Furukawa, who travels back to his childhood home near Fukushima after 3/11 to reconnect with a place that is now doubly alien. His ruminations conjure the region's storied past, particularly its thousand-year history of horses, humans, and the struggle with a rugged terrain. Standing in the morning light, these horses also tell their stories, heightening the sense of liberation, chaos, and loss that accompanies Furukawa's rich recollections. A fusion of fiction, history, and memoir."--Syndetics.

    Out In Time: The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation
    Halkitis, Perry N. Out In Time: The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "The civil rights of LGBTQ people have slowly yet steadily strengthened since the Stonewall Riots of June, 1969. Despite enormous opposition from some political segments and the catastrophic effects of the AIDS crisis, the last five decades have witnessed improvement in the conditions of the lives of LGBTQ individuals in the United States. As such, the realities and challenges faced by a young gay man coming of age and coming out in the 1960s is, in many profound ways, different from the experiences of a young gay man coming of age and coming out today. Out in Time explores the life experiences of three generations of gay men --the Stonewall, AIDS, and Queer generations-- arguing that while there are generational differences in the lived experiences of young gay men, each one confronts its own unique historical events, realities, and socio-political conditions, there are consistencies across time that define and unify the identity formation of gay men. Guided by the vast research literature on gay identity formation and coming out, the ideas and themes explored here are seen through the oral histories of a diverse set of fifteen gay men, five from each generation. Out in Time demonstrates how early life challenges define and shape the life courses of gay men, demarcating both the specific time-bound challenges encountered by each generation, and the universal challenges encountered by gay men coming of age across all generations and the conditions that define their lives."--Publisher's description

    Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
    Hong, Cathy Park. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition--if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth"-- Provided by publisher.

    A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human. Hong blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. She believes that "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality-- when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. -- adapted from jacket