Do Migrants Dream of Blue Barrels?

I live in Tucson. People tell me they love the images they see on my various social media feeds of the mysterious, moonscape desert that surrounds. Many of the friends, acquaintances, and strangers who follow me on social media live …

Raquel Gutiérrez is an essayist, arts critic and writer, and poet. Raquel was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where they just completed two MFAs in poetry and nonfiction from the University of Arizona. A 2017 recipient of the Creative Capital Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, Raquel also runs the tiny press Econo Textual Objects (established 2014), which publishes intimate works by QTPOC poets. Raquel’s poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Los Angeles Review of Books, Fence, the Texas Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review; their first book of prose, Brown Neon, will be published by Coffee House Press in 2021; and their first book of poetry, Southwest Reconstruction, will be published by Noemi Press in 2022.

Displaced Farmers, Refugee Seeds: Why Syrians and Kurds Aren’t Going Back “Home” from Lebanon

Gary Paul Nabhan is a Lebanese-American and Ecumenical Franciscan Brother who was hosted in Lebanon by American University in Beirut in 2018. A MacArthur Fellow and award-winning essayist, he is working on a novel about his family’s flight from Syria a century ago. Nabhan has authored and edited more than thirty-five books on the natural history and ecology of the American Southwest and the importance of nurturing cultural diversity to preserve biodiversity. One of the co-authors of the manifesto “An Invitation to the Radical Center” (2003), his most recent books include Mesquite (Chelsea Green, 2018) and Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities (Island Press, 2018). 

Writing the Immigrant Southern in the New New South

Adapted from keynote address presented at the Red Clay Writers Conference, Kennesaw, Georgia, 9 November 2019


Southern literary giant Ernest Gaines was born in 1933 in pre–Civil Rights Louisiana. There was no high school for him to attend there …

Soniah Kamal is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and public speaker. Her recent novel Unmarriageable (Ballantine Books, 2019) is a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019 and a 2019 Georgia Center for the Book “Book All Georgians Should Read” and is shortlisted for the 2020 Townsend Prize for Fiction. Her novel An Isolated Incident (Allison and Busby UK, forthcoming July 2020) was a finalist for the KLF French Fiction Prize and the Townsend Prize for Fiction. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the GuardianBuzzfeedCatapultThe Normal School, and other publications. In 2017 she gave a TEDx  talk about second chances.


The Citizenship Question

Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis is curator of Asian Pacific American Studies at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he oversees the Smithsonian Literature + Museum Initiative, devoted to rethinking collective responsibility for what we write and read, and why. The lead organizer for the Asian American Literature Festival, co-hosted by the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and Poetry Foundation, he is also a co-founder of the pop-up Center for Refugee Poetics and co-founding director of the arts antiprofit The Asian American Literary Review. 

From “American Diva”

Deborah Paredez is the author of the critical study Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory (Duke University Press, 2009) and of the poetry volumes Year of the Dog (BOA Editions, 2020) and This Side of Skin (Wings Press, 2002). She is currently at work on a book of essays, “American Diva,” that chronicles the impact of divas on her life and on American culture more broadly during the past fifty years. She is a professor of creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University and co-founder of CantoMundo, a national organization for Latinx poets.

The Citizenship Question, or, A Hundred and a Piece, a Leaky Citizenship Form


People shoplift citizenship like it’s a mink stole rather than a spiked choker, a freedom from a failed idea or a drive toward …

Lauren Berlant teaches English at the University of Chicago. They have worked on the formal and affective dynamics of citizenship throughout their career, most recently in Cruel Optimism (Duke University Press, 2011) and, with Kathleen Stewart, a book of autopoetic critical theory, The Hundreds (Duke University Press, 2019).

Kathleen Stewart is a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. Her books include A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an “Other” America (Princeton University Press, 1996); Ordinary Affects (Duke University Press, 2007); The Hundreds (Duke University Press, 2019), co-authored with Lauren Berlant; and currently, “Worlding.” She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities; the School of American Research; the Institute for the Humanities at the University of California, Irvine; the Rockefeller Foundation; and the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Mapping Subjectivity

Emily McGinn is the Head of Digital Humanities at the University of Georgia. She oversees the Willson Center Digital Humanities Lab in a role that includes digital project management and digital-humanities pedagogy. She holds a PhD in comparative literature with a focus on the impact of technology on narrative form in Latin American and Irish modernisms.

“Demonic and Legionized, They Entered” (from Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum)

Mab Segrest, professor emeritus of gender and women’s studies at Connecticut College, is the author of the soon-forthcoming Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum  and 1994’s Memoir of a Race Traitor: Fighting Racism in the American South, reprinted in 2019 with a new introduction and afterword (both volumes from The New Press). A longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.

The New South and the New Slavery: Convict Labor in Georgia & The Convict Lease System (text from The New South and the New Slavery: Convict Labor in Georgia); Special Collections Convict Lease Tour. Stop 1: Vagrancy Laws by Jan Levinson Hebbard; Teach-In Dispatch by Jacqueline Kari; Meeting Dispatch by Steven Soper; & Selected Testimony Used in a Gallery Activity, from Proceedings of the Joint Committee Appointed to Investigate the Condition of the Georgia Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia, 1870.

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