Publications

    My Queer War
    Lord, James. My Queer War. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A powerful story of sexual awakening during the Second World War from the noted memorist and critic.

    In My Queer War, James Lord tells the story of a young man's exposure to the terrors, dislocations, and horrors of armed conflict.

    In 1942, a timid, inexperienced twenty-one-year-old Lord reports to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to enlist in the U.S. Army. His career in the armed forces takes him to Nevada, California, Boston, England, and, eventually, France and Germany, where he witnesses firsthand the ravages of total war on Europe's land and on its people. Along the way he comes to terms with his own sexuality, experiences the thrill of first love and the chill of disillusionment with his fellow man, and in a moment of great rashness makes the acquaintance of the world's most renowned artist, who will show him the way to a new life.

    My Queer War is a rich and moving record of one man's maturation in the crucible of the greatest war the world has known. If his war is queer, it is because each man's experience is strange in its own way. His is a story of universal significance and appeal, told by a wry and eloquent observer of the world and of himself." - provided by publisher.

    Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong
    Lawton, Georgina. Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong. New York: Harper Perennial, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina's insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was. It was only after her father's death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage--and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in black communities around the globe--the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco--and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves. Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: what constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one's identity." --Amazon.ca.
    The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary
    Abū Sayf, ʻĀṭif. The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    An ordinary Gazan's chronicle of the struggle to survive during Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza The fifty-day Israel-Gaza conflict that began in early July of 2014 left over 2,100 people dead. The overwhelming majority of the dead were Palestinians, including some 500 children. Another 13,000-odd Palestinians were wounded, and 17,200 homes demolished. These statistics are sadly familiar, as is the political rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike. What is less familiar, however, is a sense of the ordinary Gazan society that war lays to waste. One of the few voices to make it out of Gaza was that of Atef Abu Saif, a writer and teacher from Jabalia refugee camp, whose eyewitness accounts (published in the Guardian, New York Times, and elsewhere) offered a rare window into the conflict for Western readers. Here, Abu Saif's complete diaries of the war allow us to witness the events of 2014 from the perspective of a young father, fearing for his family's safety. In The Drone Eats with Me, Abu Saif brings readers an intimate glimpse of life during wartime, as he, his wife, and his two young children attempt to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, in spite of the ever-present danger and carnage that is swallowing the place they call home.
    Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
    Klein Halevi, Yossi. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. New York: Harper, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli's powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians and into the hearts of "the enemy." In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East."–Amazon.com
    The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran
    Alinejad, Masih, and Kambiz Foroohar. The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "An extraordinary memoir from an Iranian journalist in exile about leaving her country, challenging tradition, and sparking an online movement against compulsory hijab. A photo on Masih Alinejad's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked My Stealthy Freedom, a social media campaign that went viral. But Alinejad is much more than the arresting face that sparked a campaign inspiring women to find their voices. She's also a world-class journalist whose personal story, told in her unforgettably bold and spirited voice in The Wind in My Hair, is emotional and inspiring. She grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailor and respected figure in the community, was the exception to the rule in a culture where women reside in their husbands' shadows. As a teenager, Alinejad was arrested for political activism and then surprised to discover she was pregnant while in police custody. When she was released, she married quickly and followed her young husband to Tehran, where she was later served divorce papers, to the embarrassment of her religiously conservative family. She spent years struggling to regain custody of her only son and remains in forced exile from her homeland and her heritage. Following Donald Trump's immigration ban, Alinejad found herself separated from her child, who lives abroad, once again. A testament to a spirit that remains unbroken, and an enlightening, intimate invitation into a world we don't know nearly enough about, The Wind in My Hair is the extraordinary memoir of a woman who overcame enormous adversity to fight for what she believes in and to encourage others to do the same."–Jacket
    Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice
    Deer, Ada Elizabeth, and Theda Perdue. Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice. New Directions in Native American Studies. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "A memoir of the first eighty-three years in the life of Ada Deer, the first woman to serve as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and her tireless campaigns to reverse the forced termination of the Menominee tribe and to ensure sovereignty and self-determination for all tribes"-- Provided by publisher.

    "A deeply personal story, written with humor and honesty, this book is a testimony to the ability of one individual to change the course of history through hard work, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to social justice"-- Provided by publisher.
    My War at Home
    Sultan, Masuda. My War at Home. New York: Washington Square Press, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    Review: "Born in Kandahar in 1978, Masuda Sultan fled to the United States at age five with her family. Raised in Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, Sultan saw her life change when she was married by arrangement at the young age of seventeen to a virtual stranger fourteen years her senior - a marriage that she struggled to maintain and then hastily fought, eventually (after three years) being granted a divorce. This very divorce would become one of the first in her close-knit Afghan community, where the subject is considered rare and taboo."

    "Sultan went on to graduate from college summa cum laude with a degree in economics, and in July 2001, she returned to Kandahar, to explore her family roots and find herself. There she met her relatives and surveyed the conservative provincial town where she was born. On return visits to Afghanistan, she discovered the tragic death of her relatives at the hands of American troops and began to seek answers."

    "My War at Home is her memoir of self-discovery, family tradition, and life as a Muslim and feminist with political ideals. It speaks to the younger generation of Muslims in America as they struggle to resolve the ever-present inner conflict about what it means to be an American and a Muslim, while also examining the Muslim-American identity at both personal and political levels."--Jacket.

    The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in
    Salman, Ayser. The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    "You know that feeling of being at the wrong end of the table? Like you’re at a party but all the good stuff is happening out of earshot (#FOMO)? That’s life—especially for an immigrant.

    What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable (albeit fascist-regimed) homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohio—with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned?

    This is Ayser Salman’s story. First comes Emigration, then Naturalization, and finally Assimilation—trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts, and always feeling left out. On her journey to Americanhood, Ayser sees more naked butts at pre-kindergarten daycare that she would like, breaks one of her parents’ rules (“Thou shalt not participate as an actor in the school musical where a male cast member rests his head in thy lap”), and other things good Muslim Arab girls are not supposed to do. And, after the 9/11 attacks, she experiences the isolation of being a Muslim in her own country. It takes hours of therapy, fifty-five rounds of electrolysis, and some ill-advised romantic dalliances for Ayser to grow into a modern Arab American woman who embraces her cultural differences.

    Part memoir and part how-not-to guide, The Wrong End of the Table is everything you wanted to know about Arabs but were afraid to ask, with chapters such as “Tattoos and Other National Security Risks,” “You Can’t Blame Everything on Your Period; Sometimes You’re Going to Be a Crazy Bitch: and Other Advice from Mom,” and even an open letter to Trump. This is the story of every American outsider on a path to find themselves in a country of beautiful diversity." --Publisher description.

    Malaya: Essays on Freedom
    Barnes, Cinelle. Malaya: Essays on Freedom. New York: Little A, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From Cinelle Barnes, author of the memoir Monsoon Mansion, comes a moving and reflective essay collection about finding freedom in America. Out of a harrowing childhood in the Philippines, Cinelle Barnes emerged triumphant. But as an undocumented teenager living in New York, her journey of self-discovery was just beginning. Because she couldn't get a driver's license or file taxes, Cinelle worked as a cleaning lady and a nanny and took other odd jobs–and learned to look over her shoulder, hoping she wouldn't get caught. When she falls in love and marries a white man from the South, Cinelle finds herself trying to adjust to the thorny underbelly of "southern hospitality" while dealing with being a new mother, an immigrant affected by PTSD, and a woman with a brown body in a profoundly white world. From her immigration to the United States, to navigating a broken legal system, to balancing assimilation and a sense of self, Cinelle comes to rely on her resilience and her faith in the human spirit to survive and come of age all over again. Lyrical, emotionally driven, and told through stories both lived and overheard, Cinelle's intensely personal, yet universal, exploration of race, class, and identity redefines what it means to be a woman–and an American–in a divided country."–provided by publisher
    A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century
    DeParle, Jason. A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century. New York: Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    When Jason DeParle moved in with Tita Comodas in the Manila slums thirty years ago, he didn't expect to make a lifelong friend. Nor did he expect to spend decades reporting on her family–husband, children, and siblings–as they came to embody the stunning rise of global migration. In A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, DeParle paints an intimate portrait of an unforgettable family across three generations, as migration reorders economics, politics, and culture across the world. At the heart of the story is Rosalie, Tita's middle child, who escapes poverty by becoming a nurse, and lands jobs in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and, finally, Texas–joining the record forty-four million immigrants in the United States. Migration touches every aspect of global life. It pumps billions in remittances into poor villages, fuels Western populism, powers Silicon Valley, sustains American health care, and brings one hundred languages to the Des Moines public schools. One in four children in the United States is an immigrant or the child of one. With no issue in American life so polarizing, DeParle expertly weaves between the personal and panoramic perspectives. Reunited with their children after years apart, Rosalie and her husband struggle to be parents, as their children try to find their place in a place they don't know. Ordinary and extraordinary at once, their journey is a twenty-first-century classic, rendered in gripping detail.
    Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
    Corchado, Alfredo. Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration. New York, London, Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himself was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today. It is the narrative of the United States in a painful economic and political transition. As we move into a divisive, nativist new era of immigration politics, Homelands is a must-read to understand the past and future of the immigrant story in the United States, and the role of Mexicans in shaping America's history. A deeply moving book full of colorful characters searching for home, it is essential reading."
    Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
    Hong, Cathy Park. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "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

    The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
    Markham, Lauren. The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. First paperback edition. New York: Broadway Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador's violence to build new lives in California–fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong. Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the faraway land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind–away from one danger and toward the great American unknown. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers–girls, grades, Facebook–with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America's child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience."–Provided by publisher.
    Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America
    Sen, Sharmila. Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America. New York: Penguin Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race: on INS forms, at the doctor's office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation: not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian, and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate, watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts, she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?
    Say I'm Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love
    Johnson, E. Dolores. Say I'm Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

    View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

    "Fearful of violating Indiana's anti-miscegenation laws in the 1940s, E. Dolores Johnson's black father and white mother fled Indianapolis to secretly marry. Johnson searched her father's black genealogy and then was amazed to suddenly realize that her mother's whole white side was missing in family history. Johnson went searching for the white family who did not know she existed. When she found them, it's not just their shock and her mother's shame that have to be overcome, but her own fraught experiences with whites."– provided by publisher.

    Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
    Williams, Thomas Chatterton. Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. New York: W.W. Norton, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics. A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family's multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a 'black' father from the segregated South and a 'white' mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of 'black blood' makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he'd never rigorously reflected on its foundations – but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions. 'It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,' Williams writes. 'It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.' Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time." (Publisher's description)
    Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago
    Gartz, Linda. Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Redlined exposes the racist lending rules that refuse mortgages to anyone in areas with even one black resident. As blacks move deeper into Chicago's West Side during the 1960s, whites flee by the thousands. But Linda Gartz's parents, Fred and Lil choose to stay in their integrating neighborhood, overcoming previous prejudices as they meet and form friendships with their African American neighbors. The community sinks into increasing poverty and crime after two race riots destroy its once vibrant business district, but Fred and Lil continue to nurture their three apartment buildings and tenants for the next twenty years in a devastated landscape–even as their own relationship cracks and withers. After her parents' deaths, Gartz discovers long-hidden letters, diaries, documents, and photos stashed in the attic of her former home. Determined to learn what forces shattered her parents' marriage and undermined her community, she searches through the family archives and immerses herself in books on racial change in American neighborhoods. Told through the lens of Gartz's discoveries of the personal and political, Redlined delivers a riveting story of a community fractured by racial turmoil, an unraveling and conflicted marriage, a daughter's fight for sexual independence, and an up-close, intimate view of the racial and social upheavals of the 1960s."– Provided by publisher.
    Negroland: A Memoir
    Jefferson, Margo. Negroland: A Memoir. New York: Vintage Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. In these pages, Jefferson takes us into this insular and discerning society: "I call it Negroland," she writes, "because I still find 'Negro' a word of wonders, glorious and terrible." Negroland's pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South. It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs--a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and "the masses of Negros," and where the motto was "Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment." At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America."
    Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
    Smarsh, Sarah. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. New York: Scribner, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "During Sarah Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to examine the class divide in our country and the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh grew up in a family of laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty. Whether working the wheat harvest, helping on her dad's construction sites, or visiting her grandma's courthouse job, she learned about hard work. She also absorbed painful lessons about economic inequality. Through her experience growing up as the child of a dissatisfied teenage mother--and being raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita--she gives us a unique, essential look into the lives of poor and working-class Americans living in the middle of our country. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess. "--Dust jacket.

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