Showing posts from February, 2019

Review: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin My rating: 5 of 5 stars Jemisin's second book in The Broken Earth trilogy is just as fascinating as her first and pulls readers deeper into the mystery of a future and unrecognizable Earth where life has inevitably altered and the world of today appears only in the refraction of technologies and cultural artifacts long abandoned or lost. Essun, the protagonist of the first follow, has landed in a com, Castrima, which has been attracting orogenes like herself and who live in an underground construct build with technologies of previous civilizations. There, she continues to learn from Alabaster, her former lover and mentor while also coming to understand the place of orogenes in the past and the future. Meanwhile, her daughter, Nassun has been brought by her father to a place that he believes will rid her of her orogene powers. Instead, a Guardian takes a keen interest in developing her powers in new ways. The story moves seamlessly back a

Review: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge My rating: 5 of 5 stars For many white folks, the title might fool them into thinking this book embodies the worst conjured stereotype of people of color activists who demand equity, equality, and fairness after centuries in which democratically republics have often failed to uphold these. But, they might be surprised that Eddo-Lodge's writing is welcoming, enlightening, and filled with history and deconstructions of racism in modern society that many white folks aren't familiar with. The title comes from a blog title she posted several years ago and what follows is a clear and explicit exploration of racism and how whites, particularly, are woefully unaware (by structural racism) of the ways in which culture has privileged them time and again to the detriment of people of color. By far, this is not my first book on the subject of racism, white privilege, and the impact of historically legalized i

Review: So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo My rating: 5 of 5 stars Oluo provides a phenomenal breakdown of racism and African American identity in the US today. She uses a mixture of her own biography and experience and intersplices them with the work that she's been doing for years as a writer on the topic of racism in America. What I like particularly about her work is that she frames each chapter around a particular question, many of which are questions that' she's been asked and others are questions that are out there in the common milieu (I don't recall if she said in fact she's been asked all of these). These questions range from "Why can't I touch your hair?" (The same reason you shouldn't be touching anyone without permission & well, why the hell do you think you even have the right--read: privilege--to ask such a thing of people; it wreaks of fetishizing) to "Why am I always being told to "check my privilege"?&q

Review: How to Make White People Laugh

How to Make White People Laugh by Negin Farsad My rating: 3 of 5 stars Farsad's is a charming and delightful memoir and commentary on race/ethnicity, American culture, humor, and what it means to be an Iranian-American in a (Islamaphobic-poorly-disguised-as-obsessed-with-radical-Islam-terrorism) US culture. Her anecdotes and experiences offer insight into how she and others experience being marginalized as terrorists or somehow, having to explain all 2 billion Muslims in the world. She also shares some of the origins of her activism around better informing and explaining how she uses comedy to loosen barriers between herself, white folks, among others, and the intersection of her identities. She has two TED Talks that are definitely good introductions to the book and if you find them enjoyable or bemusing, then this book is likely to hit the mark. In particular, Farsad's ability to verbally disarm without necessarily attacking helps to present her message and a keen under

Dissertation Journal #7: QP Revised Edition

Ok, I just submitted my revised Qualifying Paper.  It got "Accepted with revisions to my chair" back in January and the due date of about 2 weeks.  I submitted it and am feeling relatively good about it.  After I got it back, I met with my advisor and he encouraged me to write down some of the big elements/ideas of the paper down.  From there, he told me to select what I feel are the 5 most relevant pieces of this subject I'm studying.  Next, I should pick what are the top 1-2 elements and then do the hard part--make a decision about where I want my emphasis to be.  So my QP had great content, I covered ample literature, but my problem was out of focus.  Therefore, I needed to decide just what was I going to focus on.  I ended up determining that it was useful for me to understand what impact my problem was having on scholars as they look to acquire research.  This helped me refocus the paper and put the emphasis throughout on how scholars have experienced the change in