"The best way to know a society, it has been said, is to examine how it treats its most vulnerable members. As a corollary, one might further suggest that how a society treats its children and how it perceives this early stage of life provide valuable clues for understanding that society."
—James Marten, Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
"The definitions of ‘African American’ and ‘Black’ are being challenged both by native-born Black people and by foreign-born people of African descent and their children. Berlin reports that many African immigrants feel that they should make claim to the term ‘African American,’ challenging native-born Blacks because many of them have not been to Africa, nor can they trace one of their ancestors to a specific African country…The debate over who is and who is not Black as well as who should be able to adopt (or reject) various racial labels is by no means new, but it certainly has become more intense."
—Candis Watts Smith, Black Mosaic
When thirty-nine relatively ordinary, sane, unremarkable people decide to end their terrestrial lives for the purposes of seeking transcendence and truth, that is important. When they pen essays, videotape monologues, and issue press releases on their impending deaths, they mean to tell us something.
What did they want us to know? — Benjamin E. Zeller, from "Keeping the lights on for Heaven’s Gate"
America’s Safest City: Delinquency and Modernity in Suburbia
"Singer shows that while violent crime is rare, many a suburban teen is faltering. Delinquency and drug use are rampant and suicide tears at the social fabric. Simon Singer’s nuanced data and conceptualization of relational modernity provide a fresh perspective on the sources of delinquency in contemporary society."
—Robert J. Sampson, author of Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect
Bahamas pursuing xenophobic policies against Haitians, expert says -
Bertin Louis, author of My Soul Is in Haiti: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas talks to Fox News Latino about the new immigration laws in the Bahamas.
Jennifer Cognard-Black: "Books That Cook: The Making Of A Literary Meal" | The Kojo Nnamdi Show -
Love food and literature? Read a free chapter of Books That Cook now!
Keeping the lights on for Heaven’s Gate
New on our blog! Benjamin E. Zeller responds to a recent Gizmodo piece on the suicide cult, Heaven’s Gate.
“Comic Book Crime is one of those rare books that is both academically respectable and accessible to the general reader… [The authors] have not only read a lot more comics than you have, they have thought about them deeply, and related them to contemporary social concerns. Comic Book Crime is definitely worth reading, both for those interested in its subject, and as a model of how to approach thematic surveys of popular culture.”
—Blog of the American Studies Journal
Read the full book review here.
A New Book Advises Parents to Stop Panicking About Teens and Sex. (Good Luck!) -
It’s obligatory: Every generation of adults must panic about kids and sex. In their new book Kids Gone Wild, Joel Best and Kathleen Bogle begin with quaint, bygone examples: a 1920s New York Times story in which mothers complained about “petting parties” and a 1950s book that warned girls against…
Read Emily Bazelon’s review of Kids Gone Wild on Slate!
Books That Cook: A Good Roast Chicken -
Over on our blog, we’re celebrating the publication of our first literary cookbook, Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal with food writing from our very own staff members!
Today, editorial assistant Constance Grady shares her thoughts on “A Good Roast Chicken,” an essay featured in the book from professional chef and food historian Teresa Lust.
Fat Gay Men: Girth, Mirth, and the Politics of Stigma, by Jason Whitesel -
Sally R. Munt lauds an ethnographic study of men who are ‘out’ about their weight
Awesome review of Jason Whitesel’s Fat Gay Men in Times Higher Education!
Forget about rainbow parties, sex bracelets and sexting: Salon talks to Joel Best and Katie Bogle, the authors of our new book, Kids Gone Wild, about what teens are really doing behind closed doors.
Read the interview here.
I like women. When Mos Def in ‘Ms. Fatbooty’ is like ‘Ass so fat you can see it from the front.’ Damn, that’s an ass! That’s an ass I kinda wanna see. That’s an ass I appreciate. So I’m trying to figure out how do we talk about feminism in this case, or being a Black man who is pro-feminist who at the same time can acknowledge heterosexist desire. And that’s real. There’s a fine line between objectification of Black female sexuality and appreciation of it. So what do you do with ‘Baby Got Back’? Is Sir Mix-A-Lot objectifying Black women’s asses, or is he having a real conversation about the inherent beauty of Black women’s bodies in a society that has always derided Black women’s bodies as strange and unusual and ugly? Thank hip-hop for allowing us to have this conversation out in the open, hopefully in productive and progressive ways. —
Mark Anthony Neal, on being, and being classified as, a Black male feminist — A Brand-New Feminism: A Conversation between Joan Morgan and Mark Anthony Neal
I was once a linebacker-sized eighteen-year-old, too. What I knew then, what black people have been required to know, is that there are few things more dangerous than the perception that one is a danger. — Jelani Cobb on Ferguson. (via newyorker)
(Source: newyorker.com, via newyorker)