Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged class

Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Activism, Arts, and Educational Alternatives

As a feminist concerned with social justice, in the past year or so I’ve become convinced that dismantling the prison-industrial complex should be a top priority amongst feminists.

Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City

Julian Brash’s Bloomberg’s New York is an anthropological study of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration’s implementation of a particular type of neoliberal urban governance (the “Bloomberg Way”) since taking office in 2002, “branding and marketing the city as a luxury good,” an agenda aimed not only at “advancing the economic elite’s class interests” but in shaping the culture and geography of the city of New York by prioritizing this

How Cancer Crossed the Color Line

Cancer—a disease signifying White civilization? A disease of the domesticated female? An indifferent, “democratic disease”? Or, a targeted attack on specific racial and ethnic communities? These varying assertions and many more have populated America’s cancer discourse over the last century, fading in and out as the dominant way to comprehend the disease’s victimization.

Finding Delhi: Loss and Renewal in the Megacity

New Delhi is a city that has undergone many incarnations in its lifespan. Just a century after the British built the city to be the capital of the crown jewel that was India, Delhi is racing towards becoming a world-class city. Published on the eve of the city’s hosting the October 2010 Commonwealth Games, which was supposed to serve as Delhi’s coming out party in the twenty-first century, the collection of essays in Finding Delhi explores what happens to the lives of its twenty million inhabitants as the city is re-engineered and re-imagined for the new millennium.

Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan's Imperialism, 1895-1945

Mark Driscoll, an associate professor of Japanese and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, here presents a very thorough reassessment of Japanese imperialism of Asia in the first half of the twentieth century. Driscoll focuses his attention on the fringes of the colonized Asian peoples, writing about the Chinese coolies, Korean farmers, Japanese pimps and trafficked women of various Asian nationalities that moved Japan's empire along and provided the behind-the-scenes energy that created such an empire.

Big Citizenship: How Pragmatic Idealism Can Bring Out the Best in America

Alan Khazei is a heckuva guy. In 1988, he co-founded City Year, a privately funded domestic service organization that lead directly to the establishment of AmeriCorps. When AmeriCorps was threatened out of existence by budget cuts in 2003, Khazei spearheaded the drive to save it. Today he runs Be the Change, Inc., a group that “creates national public awareness campaigns to build momentum for citizen service as a practical solution to problems facing our communities and our country.” A better-intentioned guy would be hard to find. Alan Khazei is also a politician.

Living in the End Times

Reading Slavoj Žižek for the first time is not unlike being stuck on a bar stool next to a slightly inebriated, repentant MBA who just read a Karl Marx biography and thinks he has the world figured out. An aside about the deeper meaning of 3:10 to Yuma, a diatribe against Slovenia’s failure as a communist state, and praise of the five stages of grief seem like disconnected nonsense unless taken as a larger, comprehensive analysis of the failure of global capitalism. After a while, you’re either also drunk or so bewildered by the onslaught of information that you begin to see the reason behind this grizzled young man’s ramblings. Now just imagine that this is one of the most gifted living intellectuals.

Un/common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference

In a book about race, class and cultural differences, the author argues that a global common culture focused on human rights may be emerging. Proving an excellent example of the gulf between academics and activists, research and experience, the book’s reader strains through reams of multi-syllable words, only to confront a mass of contradictions and confusions, statements unsupported by facts or logic, and conclusions that are unfair or just plain wrong. The author analyzes race and caste and claims that we are reminded daily that we live in a post-racial world.

Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir

If you suspect that your experiences alone put the hell in healthcare, then Cover Me by Sonya Huber is the memoir for you. By the age of thirty-three, Huber had already endured eleven gaps in healthcare coverage, and had also been sent to collections for medical debt multiple times. She became an expert at scavenging for alternatives and at squeezing every drop of blood from the recalcitrant turnip that is the US healthcare system.

Winter’s Bone

In my review of 2009’s Oscar-nominated film Precious I stated that it was incredibly difficult to objectively review the film because the realism that is presented is so detached from my own circumstances.

Tea on the Axis of Evil

After two years of providing security intelligence about the activities of Al Qaeda to the United States government in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration publicly dubbed Syria a threat to democracy by including it in the so-called Axis of Evil. Knowing very little about the secular republic, filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher decided to spend a year in Damascus in order to offer a look at everyday citizens of Syria and combat stereotypical depictions put forth in the mainstream media. Though the U.S.

Maid as Muse: How Servants Changed Emily Dickinson's Life and Language

The popular image of Emily Dickinson is that of an almost ghostly woman in white, secluding herself in an upstairs bedroom alone, but Maid as Muse's innovative approach shows her frequently in the kitchen. There, she is found stirring puddings, baking her famous gingerbread, and living on familiar terms with the household help.


Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado is the novel made for re-reading. There are continual twists and turns and questions about the nature of fiction writing that immediately attune one to the constructed nature of the textual landscape.

Privilege: A Reader

A historian once said that the more one can know about something, the more you can control it. Michel Foucault was specifically talking about the control of psychiatric patients, prison inmates, and people's sex lives, but we can certainly extend his thoughts to a plethora of other examples.

MILK (5/1/2010)

Emily DeVoti’s provocative two-act play, MILK, opens in a spare farmhouse kitchen. It’s 1984. Ronald Reagan has just been elected US president and local newscasters seem to have nothing good to report. Meg (played by Jordan Baker), a former mathematician who loves precision and order, and her husband Ben (Jon Krupp), a former investigative reporter, are sitting at the table and talking, but it’s the kind of tense conversation that can quickly turn from controlled anger to fierce argument. Things are bad, very bad.

Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States

Surprise—it’s a real downer to read about prison. That glaringly obvious statement aside, Interrupted Life is quite an achievement. The book comprises eighty-seven pieces, which are written by scholars, activists, incarcerated women, and formerly incarcerated women and span breadth of generic types.

Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill

Professor Gabriela Soto Laveaga’s newest monograph, Jungle Laboratories, is a telling history that unravels the transnational political economy of barbasco yam production in Mexico from its discovery to its use in the early medicalization of synthetic hormonal steroids that created the birth control pill.

The Blue Orchard

I can't remember the last time a tale of fiction grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I finished The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor over a week ago and it still haunts me during those quiet moments of my day. What drew me in to say 'yes' to reviewing this book was that it is a tale of a nurse in pre-Roe America who is arrested for performing illegal abortions.

Briarpatch Magazine (Jan/Feb 2010)

Turning through the pages of Briarpatch Magazine, I was offered a glimpse into Canada's progressive social movements. Reading the Responsibility to Protest issue, which is also available online, gave me a crash course in several progressive ideologies I wasn't familiar with, and I was able to explore some familiar issues that are close to my heart as well. Briarpatch covers a lot of ground.

The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society

At a time when Western society is becoming more and more dependent on cheap and rapid sustenance of often dubious nutritional value, Janet Flammang’s study is an important reminder of both the way it was and the way it perhaps should be. In The Taste for Civilization, Flammang sets out to present what she calls “table activities” as central to respect, citizenship, and a greater good.

The Blind Side

I didn’t intended to write a review of The Blind Side, but when my aunt responded to my Facebook status deriding the film’s racist indoctrination by saying my critiques were a figment of my liberal imagination, it all came flowing out. The Blind Side is a version of (Black) NFL player Michael Oher's true life story of being

Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Independence 1865-1920

My take on wages parallels my elementary understanding of the laws of quantum mechanics versus those of Newtonian physics. Come the revolution, wages won’t be necessary; but now, different rules apply. With bills to pay, I want money. Earning one’s own money brings self-respect and a sense of independence. It beats charity or being a dependent in a family.

Gourmet Rhapsody

Food has become a very controversial subject, many arguing that education levels, income, and race unfairly dictate the availability of fresh foods and vegetables in low-income American neighborhoods.

Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching

Southern Horrors explores the racial and sexual politics of the Post Civil War South predominantly through the political writings, speeches, and lives of two prominent female figures of the era. Feimster describes the period through Rebecca Latimer Felton, a white woman from the stately plantation class, educated and raised during antebellum south, and Ida B.

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admissions and Campus Life

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal is a thorough and accessible study of race- and class-based dynamics at elite American colleges and universities. Sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford report on the racial and class makeup of student populations at top U.S. schools at various stages of their college careers, and conclude with suggestions for closing the racial academic achievement divide in American society more broadly.

An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots

In An Angle of Vision, we are presented with a series of extraordinarily well-written essays centered upon one of the most taboo topics in U.S. culture: class. More specifically, we are presented with first-person, female-centered examinations of two groups who are steadily disappearing from both the public discourse and the popular culture of the United States: the poor and working class.

Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African Middle Class

In Beyond the Black Lady, Lisa B. Thompson analyzes representations of black middle class female sexuality in literature, theater, film, and popular culture. Her discussions highlight the need to go beyond the “overly determined racial and sexual script” to which middle class black women are expected to conform, which includes a sense of propriety and restraint as a counter to stereotypes of promiscuity that proliferate in the media.

Garbage Dreams: Raised in the Trash Trade

At seventy-nine minutes long, Garbage Dreams is New York-based producer, director, and cinematographer Mai Iskander’s directorial debut. Before viewing the film I had never heard of the Zaballeen nor did I know that Cairo, one of the world’s most historic cities, once at the very pinnacle of human history, has no municipal waste disposal system to handle the trash of its eighteen million residents.


Mudbound, the first novel by Hillary Jordan, is all about tension. Race, family, marriage, class, identity are all buzzing, pressing in the narrative, and all of them feed into the greatest tension of all: the classic survival story of man versus nature. The first few pages describe two brothers scrambling to dig a makeshift grave ahead of an impending storm. This scene sets the tone and becomes, in many ways, a vivid metaphor for the entire narrative.

Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuilt and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina was one of those events that it was impossible not to be affected by because the images we all watched on our televisions and in the newspapers were so horrible. There was a sense of shock that U.S. citizens could be treated so poorly in their own country. Yet this outrage seems to have faded along with the general public’s memory of the storm. Hurricane Katrina will forever alter the course of history in New Orleans and the life paths of thousands of families from the region.