Publications

    Children of the Land
    Hernandez Castillo, Marcelo. Children of the Land. New York: Harper, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his familys encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his fathers deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry."
    Interior States: Essays
    O'Gieblyn, Meghan. Interior States: Essays. New York: Anchor Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A fresh, acute, and even profound collection that centers around two core (and related) issues of American identity: faith, in general and the specific forms Christianity takes in particular; and the challenges of living in the Midwest when culture is felt to be elsewhere.

    What does it mean to be a believing Christian and a Midwesterner in an increasingly secular America where the cultural capital is retreating to both coasts? The critic and essayist Meghan O’Gieblyn was born into an evangelical family, attended the famed Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for a time before she had a crisis of belief, and still lives in the Midwest, aka “Flyover Country.” She writes of her “existential dizziness, a sense that the rest of the world is moving while you remain still,” and that rich sense of ambivalence and internal division inform the fifteen superbly thoughtful and ironic essays in this collection. The subjects of these essays range from the rebranding (as it were) of Hell in contemporary Christian culture (“Hell”), a theme park devoted to the concept of intelligent design (“Species of Origin”), the paradoxes of Christian Rock (“Sniffing Glue”), Henry Ford’s reconstructed pioneer town of Greenfield Village and its mixed messages (“Midwest World”), and the strange convergences of Christian eschatology and the digital so-called Singularity (“Ghosts in the Cloud”). Meghan O’Gieblyn stands in relation to her native Midwest as Joan Didion stands in relation to California – which is to say a whole-hearted lover, albeit one riven with ambivalence at the same time." -- Publisher description

    Redeployment
    Klay, Phil. Redeployment. New York: The Penguin Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Mortuary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains-of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation"– Provided by publisher.

    The Bluest Eye
    Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume, 1994. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, the tragic heroine of Toni Morrison's haunting first novel, grew out of her memory of a girlhood friend who wanted blue eyes. Shunned by the town's prosperous black families, as well as its white families, Pecola lives with her alcoholic father and embittered, overworked mother in a shabby two-room storefront that reeks of the hopeless destitution that overwhelms their lives. In awe of her clean well-groomed schoolmates, and certain of her own intense ugliness, Pecola tries to make herself disappear as she wishes fervently, desperately for the blue eyes of a white girl. In her afterward to this novel, Morrison writes of the little girl she once knew: "Beauty was not simply something to behold, it was something one could do. The Bluest Eye was my effort to say something about that; to say something about why she had not, or possibly never would have, the experience of what she possessed and also why she prayed for so radical an alteration. Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing. And twenty-years later I was still wondering about how one learns that. Who told her? Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak that what she was? Who had looked at her and found her so wanting, so small a weight on the beauty scale? The novel pecks away at the gaze that condemned her."

    The Death of Vivek Oji
    Emezi, Akwaeke. The Death of Vivek Oji. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "A tender, potent, and compulsively readable novel of a Nigerian-Indian family and the deeply held secret that tests their traditions and bonds"– Provided by publisher., Southeastern Nigeria. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens, an act of violence leads to a family's struggle with loss and transcendence. – adapted from jacket

    Bird at My Window
    Guy, Rosa. Bird at My Window. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Rosa Guy's novel follows Wade Williams, a brilliant young black man who wakes up in a mental hospital and is told he has assaulted his sister. Throughout Guy's engrossing story, Wade retraces his steps to identify the circumstances that brought him to commit this unthinkable act, and reveals the rich complexity of mid-twentieth-century Harlem and its mothers, sons, and daughters, whose aspirations prevail and perish within both white and black America."–Jacket.

    Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
    Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. New York: Random House, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power–which groups have it and which do not. In this book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people–including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others–she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity"– Provided by the publisher.

    Counternarratives from Women of Color Academics: Bravery, Vulnerability, and Resistance
    Whitaker, Manya Catrice, and Eric Anthony Grollman, ed. Counternarratives from Women of Color Academics: Bravery, Vulnerability, and Resistance. New York: Routledge, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "This book documents the lived experiences of women of color academics who have leveraged their professional positions to challenge the status quo in their scholarship, teaching, service, activism, and leadership. By presenting reflexive work from various vantage points within and outside of the academy, contributors document the cultivation of mentoring relationships, the use of administrative roles to challenge institutional leadership, and more."

    City of Eternal Spring
    Weaver, Afaa Michael. City of Eternal Spring. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "This is the final book in the Plum Flower Trilogy ... The two previous books, The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 and The Government of Nature, reveal similar themes that address the author's personal experience with childhood abuse through the context of Daoist renderings of nature as a metaphor for the human body, with an eye to recovery and forgiveness in a very eclectic spiritual life. City of Eternal Spring chronicles Weaver's travels abroad in Taiwan and China, as well as showing the limits of cultural influence."–Publisher's description.

    Dogside Story
    Grace, Patricia. Dogside Story. Talanoa. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    There is conflict in the whanau. The young man, Te Rua, holds a 'secret for life, the one to die with'. But he realizes that if he is to acknowledge and claim his daughter the secret will have to be told. 'The Sisters' are threatening to drag the whanau through the courts. But why? What is really going on?
    The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth
    Henning, Kristin. The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth. New York: Pantheon Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing black youth in Washington D.C.'s juvenile court, Kris Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of Black youth and makes a powerfully compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children. She explains how discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear, resent, and resist the police, and details the long-term consequences of racism and trauma Black youth experience at the hands of police and their vigilante surrogates. She makes clear that unlike white youth who are afforded the freedom to test boundaries, experiment with sex and drugs, and figure out who they are and want to be, Black youth are seen as a threat to white America and are denied healthy adolescent development. She examines the criminalization of Black adolescent play and sexuality, and of Black fashion, hair and music. She limns the effects of police presence in schools, and the depth of policing-induced trauma in Black adolescents. Especially in the wake of the recent unprecedented, worldwide outrage at racial injustice and inequality, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth is an essential book for our moment"– Provided by publisher.
    Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States
    Allen, Samantha. Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States. First Back Bay trade paperback edition. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A transgender reporter's narrative tour through the surprisingly vibrant queer communities sprouting up in red states, offering a vision of a stronger, more humane America. Ten years ago, Samantha Allen was a suit-and-tie-wearing Mormon missionary who cited the Bible to denounce homosexuality. Now she's a senior Daily Beast reporter happily married to another woman. A lot in her life has changed, but what hasn't changed is her deep love of red state America, and of queer people who stay in so-called flyover country rather than moving to the liberal coasts. In Real Queer America, Allen takes us on a cross-country road trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah, to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt and to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: 'Something gay every day.' Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to extraordinary LGBT people working for change, including the first openly transgender mayor in Texas, a bisexual activist in Mississippi, the manager of the only queer bar in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more. Along the way, Allen weaves in her own moving story of discovering her identity, venturing out of the closet, meeting her wife, and creating a national network of chosen family. In writing this book, she takes her place among them, reclaiming 'real America' as beautifully, unequivocally, powerfully queer. While Allen faces the dark realities and challenges of queer life in the United States head-on her book is anything but despairing. Real Queer America is a story of hope, joy, friendship, and the exhilarating possibility of change for the better."--Jacket., Review: Capturing profound cultural shifts underway in unexpected places and revealing a national network of chosen family fighting for a better world, this is a treasure trove of uplifting stories and a much-needed source of hope and inspiration in these divided times."
    Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement
    Burke, Tarana. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement. First edition. New York, NY: Flatiron Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the "me too" movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words-me too-and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history. Tarana didn't always have the courage to say "me too." As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work...until it didn't. Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves. Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman's inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying "me too," Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys"-- Provided by publisher.
    Little Reef and Other Stories
    Carroll, Michael. Little Reef and Other Stories. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, 2014. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "From Key West to Maine, this collection of stories depicts the lives of characters who are no longer provincial but are not yet cosmopolitan. These women and their gay male friends are B-listers of a new, ironic, media-soaked culture. They live in a rich but increasingly divided America, a weirdly paradoxical country increasingly accepting of gay marriage but still marked by prejudice, religious strictures, and swaths of poverty and hopelessness. Carroll shows us people stunned by the shock of the now, who have forgotten their pasts and can't envision a future."

    Stella Maris: & Other Key West Stories
    Carroll, Michael. Stella Maris: & Other Key West Stories. Brooklyn, NY: Turtle Point Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "When Cuban fisherman first spotted the Key West lighthouse floating in Florida waters, they called her Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. It's a beacon that draws people from everywhere seeking the end-of-the-line bohemian oasis that can still be found amidst the condo share towers, chain stores, and Redneck Riviera clientele. And it's a mecca for gay men and the women who love them. Sue Kaufman Prize-winning author Michael Carroll knows the territory intimately. His stories wind in and out of the bars and guesthouses and lives of this singular paradise: a memorial for a drag queen held at the vicar's Victorian leads to uneasy encounters; two southern sisters on a cruise ship holiday are up against the ravages of alcohol, estrangement, and deadly weather. Newly divorced gay men (already a phenomenon) lick their wounds and bask in the island's lasting social twilight. At the all-male, clothing-optional resort, guys of all ages fall into one another's paths, enjoy themselves as they please, and surprise one another on their views and preconceptions. Stella Maris is about the verities of illness and death. The past and its prisoners, AIDS, the young and not so young man's realization of his own mortality. It's about the unpredictable nature of life, and of survival. It's about new beginnings and final recognitions."--Amazon.com.
    Waiting for the Waters to Rise
    Condé, Maryse. Waiting for the Waters to Rise. New York: World Editions, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Babakar is a doctor living alone, with only the memories of his childhood in Mali. In his dreams, he receives visits from his blue-eyed mother and his ex-lover Azelia, both now gone, as are the hopes and aspirations he's carried with him since his arrival in Guadeloupe. Until, one day, the child Anaïs comes into his life, forcing him to abandon his solitude."--Back cover
    I Wished
    Cooper, Dennis. I Wished. New York, NY: Soho Press, Inc. 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "For most of his life, Dennis Cooper believed the person he had loved the most and would always love above all others was George Miles. In his first novel in ten years, Dennis Cooper writes about George Miles, love, loss, addiction, suicide, and how fiction can capture these things, and how it fails to capture them. Candid and powerful, I Wished is a radical work of shifting forms. It includes appearances by Santa Claus, land artist James Turrell, sentient prairie dogs, John Wayne Gacy, Nick Drake, and George, the muse for Cooper's acclaimed novels Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period, collectively known as "The George Miles Cycle." In revisiting the inspiration for the Cycle, Dennis has written a masterwork: the most raw, personal, and haunted book of his career"-- Provided by publisher.
    United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope
    Duncan, Lenny. United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope. Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A deeply personal story about growing up Black and queer in the US. In his characteristically powerful voice, Duncan recounts hitchhiking across the country, spending time in solitary confinement, battling for sobriety, and discovering a deep faith, examining pressing issues like poverty, mass incarceration, white supremacy, and LGBTQ inclusion through an intimate portrayal of his life's struggles and joys. The result is a love story about America, revealing the joy and resilience and making the bold claim that God is present with us in the most difficult of circumstances, bringing life out of death. -- adapted from jacket
    Consent on Campus: A Manifesto
    Freitas, Donna. Consent on Campus: A Manifesto. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Americans have finally started to pay attention to the sexual assault crisis on our college campuses. Yet, Donna Freitas warns, the way universities educate students about sexual assault and consent is wholly inadequate. Universities, she argues, have not really reckoned with the heart of the problem. Freitas advocates for teaching not just how to consent but why it's important to care about consent--and for doing so in the university's most important space: the classroom. Consent on Campus is a call to action for university administrators, faculty, parents, and students themselves to create cultures of consent on their campuses." -- Back cover.

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