Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“Killing the Colorado (Part 1: Holy Crop),” by Abrahm Lustgarten and Naveena Sadasivam. ProPublica, May 28, 2015.
While drought in California has been capturing headlines, the Colorado River is entering its 15th year of drought. ProPublica’s multi-part investigation delves into the history of the river, water rights, and the river’s ever-decreasing supply. The first part explores cotton farming in Arizona, a practice that is heavily subsidized by the federal government and uses billions of gallons of water every year.
Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
“Why Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war is not producing victory,” by Bruce Riedel. A-Monitor, May 22, 2015.
Gulf expert Bruce Riedel offers up a smart analysis of the Yemen conflict where, he says, the “Saudis are learning the limits of their power.”
Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
“Why Can’t We Talk About Homophobia in the Black Community?” by Daniel Reynolds. The Advocate, May 26, 2015.
In this thoughtful and historically grounded essay, Reynolds tackles the sensitive subject of black homophobia—a topic some believe gets too much and some too little, attention. 2015, in many ways, has been a banner year for representations of black LGBT voices in the media (Thank you, Empire), but there is of course a gap between the stories people see on screen and reality. Reynolds emphasizes that “Ignorance and hate are not black-exclusive,” while simultaneously providing an analysis for the specific ways homophobia has manifested in the black community.
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 GOP’s Embrace of Anti-Islamic Bigotry,” by Peter Beinart. The Atlantic, May 26, 2015.
Beinart makes the necessary observation that in an era where America “has become a less bigoted country… anti-Muslim bigotry is still entirely acceptable, at least in the GOP.” Beinart cites Lindsey Graham’s flippant remark that “Everything that starts with ‘Al’ [the] in the Middle East is bad news” as one in a litany of examples of today’s casually rampant intolerance. Graham’s statement speaks to a worrying lack of global awareness, especially considering that he is “running as the foreign-policy intellectual in the GOP field.”
Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
“Meet the Latest Secret Free-Market Group That Wants to Take Over Your Public School,” by Sarah Lahm. In These Times, May 27, 2015.
In These Times examines another organization tied up in the campaign to destroy public education. CRPE suggests that its member districts define accountability as the “right to continue to operate” and proposes forcing schools like Minneapolis’s Dowling Elementary, which was designed to meet the needs of special education students, to “cram more kids in” in order to justify its higher-than-average program expenses.
James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
“The man behind France’s ban on supermarket waste says he wants the rest of the world to follow suit,” by Cassie Werber. Quartz, May 27, 2015.
One of my first jobs as a teenager was working as a barista for a certain global doughnut/coffee company. To my bemusement, each night the dozens of leftover pastries and bagels were thrown into the garbage to rot in a landfill instead of being donated to a soup kitchen or charity. I don’t think it’s a stretch to proclaim that saving perfectly edible food should be regarded as a universal simple axiom and we should follow the lead of France by codifying it into law.
Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
“Women, Incarcerated,” by Zoe Greenberg and Sharona Coutts. RH Reality Check, March-May 2015.
This spring, RH Reality Check published a deep-dive investigative series into the known and unknown facts about the experiences of women in the criminal justice system. From the abysmal lack of medical care offered to pregnant women in prison to inflexible foster laws to the sometimes-fatal lack of drug treatment, the series outlines the immense trauma and violence that mass incarceration wreaks upon thousands of women’s lives—and that reverberates for generations within families and communities.
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
“A Plea for Culinary Modernism,” by Rachel Laudan. Jacobin, May 22, 2015.
Historian Rachel Laudan challenges the idea, now popular in the locavore and organic food movement, that we must return to a pre-1950s past in which we ate wholesome, natural foods that were better for our bodies and the environment. Her vivid, class-conscious descriptions of the world’s culinary history suggest that before industrialization, only the very rich were able to eat diverse, nutritional and delicious foods. Rather than dismiss industrial products, she calls for a more specific evaluation of the benefits and disadvantages of different types of food processing—though I wish she would take us through some examples that really grapple with the environmental and health harms of the modern, industrial food supply.
Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
“Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Comedy Actress A-List in Raunchy, R-Rated Roundtable,” by Stacey Wilson Hunt and Michael O’Connell. The Hollywood Reporter, May 27, 2015.
Each year, when Emmy nominees are announced, I watch the THR roundtable interviews of female nominees; TV actresses seem to have unmatched, specific insight into subtle sexism and intersectional discrimination, and they often use humor to point to these problems. With this interview featuring Lena Dunham (Girls), Ellie Kemper (The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt), Kate McKinnon (SNL), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), and Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), THR initiates an unsurprisingly blunt, humorous and necessary conversation about relevant issues women in entertainment face today.