Essays

Digging up Whiteness

We may imagine that young people are innocent of the implications of race and class in American culture, that they can grow up in a kind of bubble of protection, safely insulated from the vexed and ...

Why Do Police Drive Cars?

Why did American police end up in cars? And how did policing the nation’s roads become so racially unjust? In Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom, legal historian Sarah Seo uses motor vehicle search and ...

The Hipster

It happens every year. Besides the “Best of” lists that heave into view as early as late November, there are the conspicuous “Worst of” lists. Contrary to their tone, these lists also itemize the ...

Oedipus at the Border

The US has never been a democracy. Perhaps, for some, the most recent indefinite imprisonment of undocumented immigrants in concentration camps finally shattered confidence in this US fantasy. And yet, for others, no amount of ...

Resistance without Rhetoric

There’s a common belief that moments of public agony are good for poetry. Political turmoil, so this wishful thinking goes, galvanizes an otherwise private art and ...

Terminal Whiteness

While doing fieldwork in Tennessee for his eye-opening and often harrowing new book, Dying of Whiteness, Vanderbilt University Professor Jonathan M. Metzl met Trevor. A 40-something-year-old former ...

What If Keats Had Lived?

What if John Keats—the brilliant Romantic poet, whose revolutionary lyrics blended classical myth and sensuous imagery—hadn’t died at age 25? The Warm South, a new novel by Paul Kerschen, reimagines ...

Cities Run by Real Estate

After decades confined to the desk drawer of important but boring things, the minutiae of urban planning policy are now attracting some popular attention. Transit-oriented development might come up ...

Designing AI with Justice

I will discuss three concepts in this talk: first, the idea of design justice; second, how people are already resisting oppressive AI; and third, the ten principles of design justice ...