Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“Why Internet journalists don't organize,” by Lydia DePillis. The Washington Post, January 30, 2015.
This article is not as thorough as I’d like, but it is a good starting point for discussion. DePillis focuses on labor journalist Mike Elk’s recent attempts to unionize Politico, and questions why new media journalists aren't unionized the same way that newspapers traditionally were. The piece neglects to delve into some crucial issues, but may be useful in sparking debate about how best to organize and protect the precarious, contingent, and often isolated workers on which our economy is increasingly dependent.
Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
“The dark side of Winston Churchill’s legacy no one should forget,” by Ishaan Tharoor. The Washington Post, February 3, 2015.
The British just marked the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill’s funeral with near-universal reverence and piety. The British Bulldog’s less savory side—his racism, and what The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor calls his “tory zeal for empire,” are left unexamined and mostly forgotten in the United States and Britain. But “to many outside the West,” Tharoor observes, “[Chuchill] remains a grotesque racist and a stubborn imperialist, forever on the wrong side of history.”
Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia, and representational issues in film and television.
“The Valentine Series,” by Substantia Jones. The Adipositivity Project, October 12, 2014.
Every year Substantia Jones photographs large people and their partners for The Adipositivity Project, a fat photo activism website dedicated to expanding the far too narrow standards of beauty. These photographs capture quotidian moments between lovers showering, having sex, reading and just lounging around the house. Jones’s gaze never feels voyeuristic and reveals a deep reverence for her subjects, who refuse to be defined by their size.
Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
“The mysterious absence of women from Middle East policy debates,” by Tamara Cofman Wittes and Marc Lynch. The Washington Post, January 20, 2015.
This article focuses on how the “current gender imbalance in the US foreign policy debate” prevents women’s professional development, but I think it’s even more important to emphasize that excluding women from the discussion critically undermines the effectiveness of US foreign policy particularly when it comes to the Middle East, where female scholars likely have more in-depth access to the cultural issues relevant to the debate. The underlying irony that US policy makers are exhibiting gross gender inequality while discussing foreign policy is also worth noting…
Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
“When Cops Break Bad: Inside a Police Force Gone Wild,” by Nick Pinto. Rolling Stone, January 29, 2015.
The Albuquerque Police Department is among the most violent in the country, with “a per-capita kill rate nearly double that of the Chicago police and eight times that of the NYPD.” This lengthy piece digs deep into the culture of the APD that contributes to the department's horrifying brutality.
Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
“Militant Islam is an Instrument of Saudi-Pakistan-US Policy,” an interview with Prabir Purkayastha by Paul Jay. The Real News, February 3, 2015.
This interview is an intricate analysis of how failed historical policies and alliances helped shape current conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region. When observing the turnaround of Western foreign policy in the region, Purkayastha speaks about how the United States and Saudi Arabia initially supported the Muslim Brotherhood in their efforts to curb Arab nationalist movements in the region. These strategic foreign policy goals, along with other shifting alliances during the postcolonial era, have led to destabilization and the rise of militancy.
James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
“When the South Wasn’t a Fan of States’ Rights,” by Eric Foner. Politico Magazine, January 23, 2015.
This article successfully dismantles the idea that the overarching impetus for the Civil War was the ideological tension between federalism and states’ rights. Foner artfully recounts the South’s enthusiasm for federal legislation, like the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, that safeguarded the dehumanizing institution of slavery. He rightly observes that federal and state power do not “exist in a vacuum,” rather, “both can be threats to the liberties of citizens and both can be modes of protecting them.”
Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
“The Difference Machine: Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Women in Tech,” by Molly Lambert. Grantland, January 29, 2015.
Lambert reminds Walter Isaacson, author of the recent The Innovators and the bestselling Steve Jobs biography, that the history of computing should not be dominated by white men from the West. She also reminds him that the structure of innovation is not marked by the revelatory flash of an individual's Eureka! moment but by the loosely-coordinated, improvisational efforts of scientific and non-scientific actors working together. She discusses programming’s cultural shift from a feminized labor to a masculine-dominated profession, showing how broader structural changes condition who gets the chance to be a genius and who gets left behind.
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor, and race.
“From Proletarians to Proprietors,” by Brenna Bhandar. Jacobin, January 30, 2015.
While Spain’s constitution enshrines housing as a right of citizenship (the United States has no such provision), its laws to protect victims of predatory lending are worse, in effect forcing the indebted to continue paying even after foreclosure. In Spain, like in the United States or anywhere in the western world, immigrants and people of color (the subjects of imperial conquest) are the most frequent victims of foreclosure, evictions, and subprime lending. Thanks to the role of international finance in the real estate market, we see the historical relationship between the ownership of capital and regimes of racial oppression replicated every day, and it’s giving birth to new movements—in Spain and beyond—to occupy empty homes and rethink notions of property.
Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
“The Problem With Those ‘Feminist’ Super Bowl Ads,” by Ann Friedman. The Cut, February 2, 2015.
While my friends at an all-women Super Bowl party clapped after the Always “Like a Girl” ad played, I, like Ann Friedman, winced. In this piece, Friedman discusses why companies that use feminist “empowertising” tactics to sell their products shouldn’t necessarily be lauded for attaching feminism to their brands. She raises a point that has caused many skeptics to tweet, “#NotBuyingIt.”