Reading list for the new year — 2017 — that took me two years to compile.
A friend requested my reading list for 2017, and here it is as a note to also share with other friends who might also be interested in these books — or have related books to recommend. 💙
Ytasha L. Womack
“Comprising elements of the avant-garde, science fiction, cutting-edge hip-hop, black comix, and graphic novels, Afrofuturism spans both underground and mainstream pop culture. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and all social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves. This book introduces readers to the burgeoning artists creating Afrofuturist works, the history of innovators in the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delaney, Octavia Butler, and NK Jemison to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eye Peas Will.i.am, who debuted ‘Reach for the Stars’ on Mars, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities. Topics range from the ‘alien’ experience of blacks in America to the ‘wake up’ cry peppering sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. Interviews with rappers, composers, musicians, singers, authors, comic illustrators, painters, and DJs, as well as Afrofuturist professors, will provide a firsthand look at this fascinating movement. Ytasha L. Womack is a filmmaker, futurist and the author of Post Black: How a New Generation is Redefining African American Identity and the coeditor of Beats Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip Hop. She is also the creator of the Rayla 2212 sci fi/multimedia series and author of 2212: Book of Rayla. She lives in Chicago.”
“According to award-winning journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations, each with its own unique historical roots. In American Nations he takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future. From the Deep South to the Far West, to Yankeedom to El Norte, Woodard (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good) reveals how each region continues to uphold its distinguishing ideals and identities today, with results that can be seen in the composition of the U.S. Congress or on the county-by-county election maps of this year’s Trump versus Clinton presidential election.”
“Black Quantum Futurism (#BQF) is a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in order to see into possible futures, and/or collapse space-time into a desired future in order to bring about that future’s reality. This vision and practice derives its facets, tenets, and qualities from quantum physics, futurist traditions, and Black/African cultural traditions of consciousness, time, and space. Inside of the space where these three traditions intersect exists a creative plane that allows for the ability of African-descended people to see ‘into,’ choose, or create the impending future.”
“This volume brings back into print the complete poems of Veronica Forrest-Thomson (1947–1975), whose work remains a touchstone for those interested in radical poetry in the 1970s.”
“Colonialism/Postcolonialism is a comprehensive yet accessible guide to the historical and theoretical dimensions of colonial and postcolonial studies. Ania Loomba deftly introduces and examines:
— key features of the ideologies and history of colonialism
— the relationship of colonial discourse to literature
— challenges to colonialism, including anticolonial discourses
— recent developments in postcolonial theories and histories
— issues of sexuality and colonialism, and the intersection of feminist and postcolonial thought
— debates about globalization and postcolonialism
Recommended on courses across the academic disciplines and around the world, Colonialism/Postcolonialism has for some years been accepted as the essential introduction to a vibrant and politically charged area of literary and cultural study. With new coverage of emerging debates around globalization, this second edition will continue to serve as the ideal guide for students new to colonial discourse theory, postcolonial studies or postcolonial theory as well as a reference for advanced students and teachers.”
Sheree Renée Thomas
“This volume introduces black science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction writers to the generations of readers who have not had the chance to explore the scope and diversity among African-American writers.”
“This classic work, first published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later, when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date. Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of ‘progress‘ and ‘civilization‘ upon encountering the ‘savage,‘ ‘uncultured,‘ or ‘primitive.‘ Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and culture, and their relevance, reminding us that ‘the relationship between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society.’ An interview with Césaire by the poet René Depestre is also included.”
Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
Scott E. Spradlin
“This book develops proven dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) techniques into worksheets, exercises, and assessments that show you how to pay attention to emotions when they arise, assess blocks to controlling them, and overcome them to eliminate overpowering feelings. Learn what emotional triggers exist in your environment and become less judgmental about yourself when you do experience a surge. Avoid or reduce the distress that strong emotions cause you. This workbook teaches you to reduce the impact of painful feelings and increase the effects of positive ones so that you can tolerate life’s ongoing stresses and achieve a sense of calm coexistence with your emotions.”
“Which acts by educators are ‘racist’ and which are ‘antiracist’? How can an educator constructively discuss complex issues of race with students and colleagues? In Everyday Antiracism, leading educators deal with the most challenging questions about race in school, offering invaluable and effective advice.”
“Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.”
Eugene T. Gendlin
“The classic guide to a powerful technique for personal transformation based on groundbreaking research conducted at the University of Chicago, the focusing technique has gained widespread popularity and scholarly acclaim. It consists of six easy-to-master steps that identify and change the way thoughts and emotions are held within the body. Focusing can be done virtually anywhere, at any time, and an entire ‘session’ can take no longer than ten minutes, but its effects can be felt immediately–in the relief of bodily tension and psychological stress, as well as in dramatic shifts in understanding and insight.”
“The first new edition in ten years of this important study of Latinos in U.S. history, Harvest of Empire spans five centuries-from the first New World colonies to the first decade of the new millennium. Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States, and their impact on American popular culture-from food to entertainment to literature-is greater than ever. Featuring family portraits of real- life immigrant Latino pioneers, as well as accounts of the events and conditions that compelled them to leave their homelands, Harvest of Empire is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the history and legacy of this increasingly influential group.”
“Inspired by the surreal accounts of the explorer and ‘man of a million lies’ Marco Polo, Imaginary Cities charts the metropolis and the imagination, and the symbiosis therein. A work of creative nonfiction, the book roams through space, time and possibility, mapping cities of sound, melancholia and the afterlife, where time runs backwards or which float among the clouds. In doing so, Imaginary Cities seeks to move beyond the clichés of psychogeography and hauntology, to not simply revisit the urban past, or our relationship with it, but to invade and reinvent it.
Following in the lineage of Borges, Calvino, Chris Marker and Kenneth White, the book examines the city from global macrocosm to the microcosm of its inhabitants’ perspectives. It proceeds through opium dreams, sea voyages, the hallucinations of prisoners, nocturnal decadence, impossible Soviet skyscrapers, marauding golems, subterranean civilisations, apocalyptic prophecies and the work of architectural visionaries such as Antonio Sant’Elia, Archigram and Buckminster Fuller. It rethinks the ideas of utopias and dystopias, urban exploration, alienation and resistance. It claims that the Situationists lacked ambition when they suggested, ‘Beneath the paving stones, the beach.’ Instead, beneath the paving stones, we may just be able to discern the entire universe.
Imaginary Cities demonstrates that each city dreamt up by artists, writers, architects and lunatics has a real-life equivalent and that the great Marco Polo was no liar. Imaginary cities need not simply exist in fiction or the mind. We already inhabit them.”
James W. Loewen
“This updated and revised edition of the American Book Award-winner and national bestseller revitalizes the truth of America’s history, explores how myths continue to be perpetrated, and includes a new chapter on 9/11 and the Iraq War.
Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.
In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today’s climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus’s historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.
Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.”
Maggie Ann Bowers
“Bestselling novels by Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and a multitude of others have enchanted us by blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Their genre of writing has been variously defined as ‘magic’, ‘magical’ or ‘marvellous’ realism and is quickly becoming a core area of literary studies. This guide offers a first step for those wishing to consider this area in greater depth, by: — exploring the many definitions and terms used in relation to the genre — tracing the origins of the movement in painting and fiction — offering an historical overview of the contexts for magic(al) realism — providing analysis of key works of magic(al) realist fiction, film and art.
This is an essential guide for those interested in or studying one of today’s most popular genres.”
Gary Y. Okihiro
“In this classic book on the meaning of multiculturalism in larger American society, Gary Okihiro explores the significance of Asian American experiences from the perspectives of historical consciousness, race, gender, class, and culture.
While exploring anew the meanings of Asian American social history, Okihiro argues that the core values and ideals of the nation emanate today not from the so-called mainstream but from the margins, from among Asian and African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, women, and the gay and lesbian community. Those groups in their struggles for equality, have helped to preserve and advance the founders’ ideals and have made America a more democratic place for all.”
Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty
“Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty is a new collection of left-wing pro-market, anticapitalist anarchist writing, edited by Gary Chartier & Charles W. Johnson. Individualist anarchists believe in mutual exchange, not economic privilege. They believe in freed markets, not capitalism. They defend a distinctive response to the challenges of ending global capitalism and achieving social justice: eliminate the political privileges that prop up capitalists. Massive concentrations of wealth, rigid economic hierarchies, and unsustainable modes of production are not the results of the market form, but of markets deformed and rigged by a network of state-secured controls and privileges to the business class. Markets Not Capitalism explores the gap between radically freed markets and the capitalist-controlled markets that prevail today. It explains how liberating market exchange from state capitalist privilege can abolish structural poverty, help working people take control over the conditions of their labor, and redistribute wealth and social power. Featuring discussions of socialism, capitalism, markets, ownership, labor struggle, grassroots privatization, intellectual property, health care, racism, sexism, and environmental issues, this unique collection brings together classic essays by leading figures in the anarchist tradition, including Proudhon and Voltairine de Cleyre, and such contemporary innovators as Kevin Carson and Roderick Long. It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism.”
“Tenderly, joyously, sometimes in sadness, sometimes in pain, Maya Angelou writes from the heart and celebrates life as only she has discovered it. In this moving volume of poetry, we hear the multi-faceted voice of one of the most powerful and vibrant writers of our time.”
“Whenever we envision a world without war, prisons, or capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have brought 20 of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. These visionary tales span genres — sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism — but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. Also features essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a preface by Sheree Renée Thomas.”
“First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire’s work has taken on especial urgency in the United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in cities and urban centers is increasingly accepted as the norm. With a substantive new introduction on Freire’s life and the remarkable impact of this book by writer and Freire confidant and authority Donaldo Macedo, this anniversary edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will inspire a new generation of educators, students, and general readers for years to come.”
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo
“Why do the poor borrow to save? Why do they miss out on free life-saving immunizations, but pay for unnecessary drugs? In Poor Economics, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two practical visionaries working toward ending world poverty, answer these questions from the ground. In a book the Wall Street Journal called ‘marvelous, rewarding,’ the authors tell how the stress of living on less than 99 cents per day encourages the poor to make questionable decisions that feed — not fight — poverty. The result is a radical rethinking of the economics of poverty that offers a ringside view of the lives of the world’s poorest, and shows that creating a world without poverty begins with understanding the daily decisions facing the poor.”
Michael Omi, Howard Winant
“Twenty years since the publication of the Second Edition and more than thirty years since the publication of the original book, Racial Formation in the United States now arrives with each chapter radically revised and rewritten by authors Michael Omi and Howard Winant, but the overall purpose and vision of this classic remains the same: Omi and Winant provide an account of how concepts of race are created and transformed, how they become the focus of political conflict, and how they come to shape and permeate both identities and institutions. The steady journey of the U.S. toward a majority nonwhite population, the ongoing evisceration of the political legacy of the early post-World War II civil rights movement, the initiation of the ‘war on terror’ with its attendant Islamophobia, the rise of a mass immigrants rights movement, the formulation of race/class/gender ‘intersectionality’ theories, and the election and reelection of a black President of the United States are some of the many new racial conditions Racial Formation now covers.”
Jeffrey M. Duncan-Andrade, Ernest Morrell
“This book furthers the discussion concerning critical pedagogy and its practical applications for urban contexts. It addresses two looming, yet under-explored questions that have emerged with the ascendancy of critical pedagogy in the educational discourse:
(1) What does critical pedagogy look like in work with urban youth? and
(2) How can a systematic investigation of critical work enacted in urban contexts simultaneously draw upon and push the core tenets of critical pedagogy?
Addressing the tensions inherent in enacting critical pedagogy — between working to disrupt and to successfully navigate oppressive institutionalized structures, and between the practice of critical pedagogy and the current standards-driven climate — The Art of Critical Pedagogy seeks to generate authentic internal and external dialogues among educators in search of texts that offer guidance for teaching for a more socially just world.”
Milton J Davis (Editor)
“The City anthology is a unique creation. It’s a concept anthology, a collection of stories where eighteen different authors share their vision of a single idea. It’s Cyberfunk, cyberpunk stories that play with future concepts from an African/African American perspective. Most of all it’s engaging, exciting, thought provoking and fun. Like the inhabitants, the City is perceived in various ways by the various writers. Some stories intersect, some diverge, but they all entertain. The result is a journey into a unique world described by unique and engaging voices.”
The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Studies in Postwar American Political Development)
“The explosive rise in the U.S. incarceration rate in the second half of the twentieth century, and the racial transformation of the prison population from mostly white at mid-century to sixty-five percent black and Latino in the present day, is a trend that cannot easily be ignored. Many believe that this shift began with the ‘tough on crime’ policies advocated by Republicans and southern Democrats beginning in the late 1960s, which sought longer prison sentences, more frequent use of the death penalty, and the explicit or implicit targeting of politically marginalized people. In The First Civil Right, Naomi Murakawa inverts the conventional wisdom by arguing that the expansion of the federal carceral state-a system that disproportionately imprisons blacks and Latinos-was, in fact, rooted in the civil-rights liberalism of the 1940s and early 1960s, not in the period after.
Murakawa traces the development of the modern American prison system through several presidencies, both Republican and Democrat. Responding to calls to end the lawlessness and violence against blacks at the state and local levels, the Truman administration expanded the scope of what was previously a weak federal system. Later administrations from Johnson to Clinton expanded the federal presence even more. Ironically, these steps laid the groundwork for the creation of the vast penal archipelago that now exists in the United States. What began as a liberal initiative to curb the mob violence and police brutality that had deprived racial minorities of their ‘first civil right-physical safety-eventually evolved into the federal correctional system that now deprives them, in unjustly large numbers, of another important right: freedom. The First Civil Right is a groundbreaking analysis of root of the conflicts that lie at the intersection of race and the legal system in America.”
Jeffrey M. Schwartz MD, Sharon Begley
“Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Schwartz made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. It was a scientific first: by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward more positive ones, Schwartz’s patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticity.”
“Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as ‘brave and bold,’ this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that ‘we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.’ By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control — relegating millions to a permanent second-class status — even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a ‘call to action.’”
“A revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we know about power. Celebrated UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner argues that compassion and selflessness enable us to have the most influence over others and the result is power as a force for good in the world.”
“A distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, Frantz Fanon was one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. Fanon’s masterwork is a classic alongside Edward Said’s Orientalism or The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and it is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage and frustration of colonized peoples, and the role of violence in effecting historical change, the book incisively attacks the twin perils of postindependence colonial politics: the disenfranchisement of the masses by the elites on the one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other. Fanon’s analysis, a veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations, has been reflected all too clearly in the corruption and violence that has plagued present-day Africa. The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world, and this bold new translation by Richard Philcox reaffirms it as a landmark.”
“The Isles of Los Angles 2089 — Humanity is addicted to technology. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay are about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of LA and into the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo.”
“In 2008 the United States elected its first black president, and recent polls show that only twenty-two percent of white people in the United States believe that racism is a major societal problem. On the surface, it may seem to be in decline. However, the evidence of discrimination persists throughout our society. Segregation and inequalities in education, housing, health care, and the job market continue to be the norm. Post 9/11, increased insecurity and fear have led to an epidemic of the scapegoating and harassment of people of color.
Uprooting Racism offers a framework for understanding institutional racism. It provides practical suggestions, tools, examples, and advice on how white people can intervene in interpersonal and organizational situations to work as allies for racial justice. Completely revised and updated, this expanded third edition directly engages the reader through questions, exercises, and suggestions for action, and takes a detailed look at current issues such as affirmative action, immigration, and health care. It also includes a wealth of information about specific cultural groups such as Muslims, people with mixed-heritage, Native Americans, Jews, recent immigrants, Asian Americans, and Latinos.
Previous editions of Uprooting Racism have sold more than fifty thousand copies. Accessible, personal, supportive, and practical, this book is ideal for students, community activists, teachers, youth workers, and anyone interested in issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice.”
Ian Haney López
“White by Law was published in 1996 to immense critical acclaim, and established Ian Haney López as one of the most exciting and talented young minds in the legal academy. The first book to fully explore the social and specifically legal construction of race, White by Law inspired a generation of critical race theorists and others interested in the intersection of race and law in American society. Today, it is used and cited widely by not only legal scholars but many others interested in race, ethnicity, culture, politics, gender, and similar socially fabricated facets of American society.
In the first edition of White by Law, Haney López traced the reasoning employed by the courts in their efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non-whiteness of others, and revealed the criteria that were used, often arbitrarily, to determine whiteness, and thus citizenship: skin color, facial features, national origin, language, culture, ancestry, scientific opinion, and, most importantly, popular opinion.
Ten years later, Haney López revisits the legal construction of race, and argues that current race law has spawned a troubling racial ideology that perpetuates inequality under a new guise: colorblind white dominance. In a new, original essay written specifically for the 10th anniversary edition, he explores this racial paradigm and explains how it contributes to a system of white racial privilege socially and legally defended by restrictive definitions of what counts as race and as racism, and what doesn’t, in the eyes of the law. The book also includes a new preface, in which Haney Lopez considers how his own personal experiences with white racial privilege helped engender White by Law.”
Beverly Daniel Tatum
“Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it’s not just the black kids sitting together-the white, Latino, Asian Pacific, and, in some regions, American Indian youth are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and corporate cafeterias. What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? And what about all the other questions we and our children have about race? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, asserts that we do not know how to talk about our racial differences: Whites are afraid of using the wrong words and being perceived as ‘racist’ while parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon. Using real-life examples and the latest research, Tatum presents strong evidence that straight talk about our racial identities-whatever they may be-is essential if we are serious about facilitating communication across racial and ethnic divides. We have waited far too long to begin our conversations about race. This remarkable book, infused with great wisdom and humanity, has already helped hundreds of thousands of readers figure out where to start.”