Since 2010, March 31 has been marked as Transgender Day of Visibility. Historically, this day is meant to be a celebration of trans and non-binary lives, unlike the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which dates back to 1999 and is observed annually on November 20 to memorialize lives taken by violence against trans people.
Trans Day of Visibility arrives this year with a couple notable moves forward, but significant–and glaring–steps backward for trans rights embitter a day meant for trans celebration.
While these are victories to be sure, it’s difficult celebrate these small moves toward trans visibility while 2021 has already set a record for anti-trans legislation. Trans Day of Visibility is especially fraught today by the passage of HB 1507 in Arkansas, which yesterday further trampled the civil rights of arguably the most vulnerable people in the state, trans youth.
While Trans Visibility is important every year, it feels especially critical this year. The onslaught of anti-trans legislations from so many states, and the murders of 12 trans people already reported, this year demands not just the recognition of trans lives, but their protection. It is more critical than ever for allies to act.
We ask that you join us both today and moving forward as we work to increase trans visibility and protect trans rights and lives.
Know what legislation is being considered in your state
Find out which of your local and federal officials support anti-trans legislation and contact their offices to voice your disapproval
Be aware of how others (including family, friends, coworkers, and news sources) speak about the trans community and speak up when you hear or read someone perpetuate harmful rhetoric (including misgendering) about trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people
Rarely do we take on projects that exist within a vacuum. On the contrary, we build on the work of those before us. If we are lucky, that work contributes to something vaguely described as “the greater good,” and in some cases, that work can even subvert the status quo. The UT Libraries’ Black Queer Studies Collection and the Latinx LGBTQ Collection are quite subversive. We don’t use that term lightly – these collections disrupt standard library practice while also bringing marginalized works to the forefront.
By standard library practice, we refer to cataloging practices that employ standardized vocabulary created by the Library of Congress, such as subject headings. However, this vocabulary often includes problematic, outdated, and offensive language regarding books and films about LGBTQ+ experiences. When describing books about intersectional identity, especially those centered on queer and trans BIPOC people, the problematic subject headings take agency away from the authors and communities they represent by imposing rigid naming and classification. This entrenched system reflects the white supremacist, homophobic, and transphobic structures that dominate American institutions. Yes, this includes libraries.
Eleven years ago, a group of UT librarians, faculty, and graduate students came together to create the Black Queer Studies Collection as a response to these problematic subject headings in the library catalog. Led by Kristen Hogan in collaboration with professor Matt Richardson and librarian Lindsey Schell, the project sought to make the intersectionality between sexuality, gender, and Blackness more discoverable in the library catalog. (Read more about its origins in this great article by Kristen in the journal Progress Librarian.) To get around the issue of problematic subject headings, they came up with the simple, but elegant solution to use a “local note” in the library catalog record to digitally unite the books, films, and other materials in the collection.
Following the success of the Black Queer Studies Collection, UT Libraries introduced the Latinx LGBTQ Collection in 2017 to consider the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and U.S. Latinx identity. The Latinx LGBTQ Collection follows the trajectory of its predecessor and features the same functionality with the use of the local catalog note. Together, the collections are collective intended to enable making hidden voices easier to find for patrons. Both continue to be updated on a regular basis to reflect UT Libraries’ commitment to collecting diverse subject matter.
Below, we’ve highlighted some books that intersect both collections. We invite you to explore – check out a book, download an ebook, or watch a streaming film! You can find these collections in their entirety by performing an advanced search in the UT library catalog using the search terms “Latinx LGBTQ” or “Black Queer Studies Collection” (in quotation marks).
Is there a book or film that we’re missing? Let us know by using the Libraries’ purchase request form, and adding in the notes that it’s for the Black Queer Studies Collection and/or the Latinx LGBTQ Collection. In the meantime, check out the following books that intersect both collections!
Cortez, Jaime. Virgins, Guerrillas & Locas: Gay Latinos Writing on Love. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 1999. Read the ebook! (in HathiTrust)
Gaskin, Gerard H., Deborah Willis, and Frank Roberts. Legendary : Inside the House Ballroom Scene / Photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press in association with the Center for Documentary Studies, 2013.Check out the print book!
Johnson, Rivera-Servera. Blacktino Queer Performance. North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2016. Read the ebook!
Muñoz, José Esteban. Disidentifications : Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics / José Esteban Muñoz. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Read the ebook! (in HathiTrust)
Soto, Christopher. Nepantla : an Anthology for Queer Poets of Color / Edited by Christopher Soto. New York: Nightboat Books, 2019. Check out the print book!
Xavier, Emanuel. Christ-like. New York: Painted Leaf Press, 1999. Read the ebook! (in HathiTrust)
Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This day was set aside by the United Nations in 1977, but the honoring of this day stretches back to 1911 with origins in the socialist working women’s movement (Johnman, Sim & Mackie, 2016) . Learn more about the importance of this day from the resources below.
Gender Inequity in the COVID era
Gender inequity has been made especially clear throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. UN Women has declared the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day to be “Women in leadership: Achieving and equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The intention of this theme is to not only highlight the disparate impact that this pandemic is having on women globally, but also to celebrate the women at the forefront of the fight to end it.
As library professionals, we often feel that we are working diligently to include and amplify the voices of our BIPOC colleagues. Many major libraries, such as UT and Emory, have incorporated DEI efforts in their hiring practices and Yale Libraries recently posted a position for a Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Organizational Excellence. Publications in the library profession, such as Theological Librarianship and the Journal of the Medical Library Association, made calls for submissions by diverse voices. However, librarians of color often bear the greatest burden in these calls for diversity, which can come with an expectation that they will be the ones to do the work of changing institutionalized practices and management styles built by white supremacy. The lack of effort to examine current processes and prepare staff on how to navigate works addressing diversity, equity and inclusion was most recently highlighted by the editorial decisions at the Journal of the Medical Library Association.
In May of 2020, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police garnered national attention, generating renewed focus to the Black Lives Matter movement and increased public support for their efforts. On June 1, 2020, the African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA) Caucus of the Medical Library Association (MLA) released a statement stating that they were “tired of not being seen, heard, included, or appreciated for the value that our unique voices, experiences, and perspectives bring to the narrative” and a commitment to “using our collective voices in bringing about change in the profession and the association.”
In response, the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) also released a statement of support to both the AAMLA Caucus and Black Lives Matter, stating that they could and will “do more to amplify the voices, experiences, and perspectives of individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).” Part of their statement was a call for manuscript submissions that addressed social injustices, diverse voices, and critical perspectives on health sciences librarianship. They also specifically asked for the contribution of any BIPOC-authored manuscripts, so long as they fell within the scope of the journal.
I was one of five Black librarians to draft an editorial on anti-Blackness in libraries for JMLA. Due to our experience with the editing process, we decided to withdraw the article before it was published. Here’s my take on what happened: https://t.co/tRAXeak1zy#medlibs
In the blog, Minter describes how the editing process took a turn when they received a print-ready proof that had significant changes that had not been previously addressed with the authors. Some of the more significant changes she detailed included the decision to capitalize all instances of “white” and “white supremacy,” adding modifiers to “white supremacy” and changing instances to include “white supremacist thinking” or “white supremacist structures,” and changing multiple pronouns from “you” or “they” to “we” and “us.” Originally, the authors had intentionally only capitalized “Black” throughout the piece, but the editor argued that the MLA was in the process of changing their guidelines and that eventually the piece would capitalize “white.” When adding modifiers to “white supremacy,” the editor offered feedback that there was an issue with the literal reading of the original phrase. The editor offered no explanation on why they had changed the pronouns.
The authors attempted to explain to the editor why they had purposely and intentionally made the choices they did for the piece. According to Minter the editor responded by doubling down on her statements and providing a conditional apology if “wording and meaning has been changed that much” and that in her editing for typos, grammar, and clarity, “sometimes it appears the meaning can change.” During the course of the conversation, the editor-in-chief was cc’d on the email exchange, as was an associate editor, but both decided not to intervene.
Minter’s tweet and blog post were immediately followed by a tweet from Peace Ossom-Williamson and a blog post from Jamia Williams, “When Publishing Goes Wrong,” on December 12th. Both authors supported Minter’s account and stated that they stood strong on their decision to withdraw the piece from publication.
The author’s accounts about the events with JMLA began to trend on Twitter, with a call for JMLA to support Black colleagues quickly circulating under hashtags #medlibs, #librarytwitter, and #POCinLIS. Following the backlash, JMLAissued an apology on December 16th, written by editor-in-chief Katherine Akers. In the statement she recognized that she had been cc’d on the emails, but had assumed “that the two parties would come to resolution on their own or that I would be directly contacted by one of the parties if my intervention was needed or desired.” She also acknowledged that the journal was not prepared to edit or publish pieces on diversity, equity, or inclusion and made a promise to make JMLA “a more diverse and inclusive journal with more equitable opportunities for BIPOC authors, reviewers, and editorial board members.”
To think that @LibGirl09 & I received the MLA Eliot Award for our paper in JMLA just last year but couldn’t make it through copy editing of an ACCEPTED paper this year shows how fraught and exhausting writing about social justice and diversity can be, especially as Black women.
The withdrawal and the subsequent apology from JMLA sparked deep conversations about how these calls for diversity and inclusion are often made without the systemic support and structuring needed to actually support BIPOC voices. As part of the discussion, Jasmine L. Clark, Digital Scholarship Librarian at Temple University, wrote a thought-provoking piece, “On JMLA, Conflict, and Failed Diversity Efforts in LIS,” which details organizational justice and cultural competence as they relate to the article and the breakdown of the editing process by JMLA.
There were many points in which the editor-in-chief or the associate editor could have engaged with the authors and ensured that their intentions and voices were protected. The decision to not engage can be representative of a larger, systemic problem of neutrality in libraries where we avoid conflict and confrontation in the workplace, often leading to the harm of our colleagues.
In their responses, all of the authors and Clark found that there was a lack of ownership by Akers of her responsibility to initiate mediation before the situation had reached the point of withdrawing the piece. They point to her role as editor-in-chief and the accompanying responsibility to create an equitable environment that would identify and address challenges that BIPOC might encounter when writing about social justice.
1/6 Something I’ve been thinking about for a while that the JMLA response brought up again is how much of our toxicity in LIS is the direct result of the inability/refusal for early conflict mediation on the part of management. So often responses are reactive. In the case of
2/6 JMLA, someone was cc’ed to indicate there was an issue. The response was “they’ll work it out”, but if it was that simple there would be no need to cc someone else on the correspondence. At that point, a simple meeting to mediate the conflict could have gone a long way.
3/6 I’ve seen this so often. Management that loves to wait until things get to the level of HR, but is that management? So many LIS managers see their jobs as managing services, but neglect the dynamics of staff that provide them. If not neglecting them, they are intimidated
4/6 by the idea of managing the culture & environment. I’ve been on search committees for management positions; I’ve never seen thorough questioning about the readiness and role of this person as a conflict mediator. The passive aggressive nature of libraries is infamous, sooo…
5/6 mediate problems early maybe? DEI training matters, but means nothing w/o methods and techniques for listening and respectful conversation. If there is constant conflict, having trained management can set the example for staff so that they can better manage on their own
6/6 going forward. Expecting people to come in with those skills is obviously not working. This obviously doesn’t fix discrimination, but it could (data needed) be of great help in environments where change is welcome, but still being figured out.
Moving forward, Clark recommends that within the LIS profession “a blend of ongoing DEIA education, organizational/personal assessment, and practiced social skills are required.” She states that concepts of organizational justice and assessment of power structures are often reserved for those in leadership positions, instead of being open to all levels of LIS professionals. She points out that the development of social skills is centered on public service and patrons, instead of how to engage with the colleagues we work with every day.
The events with JMLA are an opportunity to evaluate our own practices and to better equip ourselves in conflict mediation and organizational justice. As a white woman in a field where only 5.3 percent of librarians identified as Black or African American, I hold myself accountable and ask that my fellow white colleagues join me in enacting changes that will allow for diversity and equity, instead of just calling for it and placing that labor on those who respond. Below are some resources and articles that delve into the experience of Black librarians, microaggression in our field, and how we can do better, but I would like to personally recommend reading the original article of the authors in this post as it provides a detailed overview of the history of anti-Blackness in libraries and concrete steps for how to move forward.
LibVoices – podcast co-created and co-hosted by Jamia Williams which amplifies the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who work in archives and libraries.
Professional Development and Trainings
We Here – “We Here™️ seeks to provide a safe and supportive community for Black and Indigenous folks, and People of Color (BIPOC) in library and information science (LIS) professions and educational programs, and to recognize, discuss, and intervene in systemic social issues that have plagued these professions both currently and historically.”
Active Bystander Orientation – “Have you ever witnessed bullying, harassment, or an uncomfortable encounter in a professional context and wished you knew how to intervene? The 2019 DLF Committee on Equity and Inclusion recently put together an Active Bystander Orientation session to help address these questions”
Conflict Mediation Guidelines – Stanford’s conflict training for the following situations: when you have been asked to mediate a conflict between two people or two groups or when a conflict breaks out between different sub-groups in a discussion.
Likewise, land acknowledgments are becoming more common to promote inclusion in our work and spaces. Here is the ARL Land Acknowledgement that Dr. Haricombe used as the basis for the Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of last week’s All Staff Meeting.
For this blog post, we would like to acknowledge and honor the Carrizo & Comecrudo, Coahuiltecan, Caddo, Tonkawa, Comanche, Lipan Apache, Alabama-Coushatta, Kickapoo, Tigua Pueblo, and all the American Indian and Indigenous Peoples and communities who have been or have become a part of the lands and territories in Texas.
This day and what it means for all Americans deserves and requires much more space and consideration than I (unfortunately) am able to give it in this blog post. So I encourage everyone to take some time today to use the resources below as a launching point for your own search into learning more about how to honor indigenous people and acknowledge the violent colonial history that continues to negatively impact Native American and Indigenous people.
Tribal Land Map – learn about the indigenous peoples of the land on which you live and work
Juneteenth (variously called Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, or Cel-Liberation Day) is a holiday that commemorates the date when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the enslaved black people in Texas. “Juneteenth” is a portmanteau word formed from “June” and “nineteenth.”
Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, enslaved Texans were not apprised of this fact until Union Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, on June 19, 1865 (Acosta, 2020). While the text of General Order No. 3 announced that “all slaves are free,” it also stated that “Freedmen are advised to remain in their present homes, and work for wages.”
In Austin, freed persons organized the first Emancipation Day celebrations in what is now Eastwoods Park, just north of present-day Dean Keeton Boulevard (Hasan, 2017). Photographs of Austin’s Juneteenth observances in 1900, taken by a Mrs. Grace Stephenson, including this one of celebrants, are available in The Portal to Texas History. According to the Portal metadata, Mrs. Stephenson later sold her photos, along with a report of the day’s festivities, to the San Francisco Chronicle. A search for the article in America’s Historical Newspapers was unsuccessful. A reference staffer from the San Francisco Public Library replied that SFPL is unable to respond to these kinds of reference questions at the moment.
As freed persons dispersed from Texas, they carried with them the tradition of celebrating emancipation on June 19th. The database African American Newspapers, Series 1 has several articles about communities’ Juneteenth celebrations. The earliest reportage was published in the Parsons (KS) Weekly Blade, in 1895.
Enlarged images of Juneteenth coverage in the Parson’s Weekly Blade from June 22, 1895
In 1979, Texas State Representative Al Edwards (D-Houston) introduced House Bill 1016, legislation that led to Texas becoming the first of these United States to declare Juneteenth an official holiday. Today, Juneteenth is an official holiday or observance in 46 states and the District of Columbia (National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, n.d.). While not observed by the University of Texas, Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) is an official public holiday in the state of Texas. Do not get too excited by this, as the state of Texas also lists Confederate Heroes Day on its official calendar of holidays (Texas State Auditor’s Office).
The United Kingdom, which abolished the slave trade in 1807, and passed the Slavery Abolition Act nearly 30 years before the United States, has a related observance on 18 October—Anti-Slavery Day, whose unfortunate name raises inescapable questions about the other days of the year.
This year, with parades and gatherings being deemed unwise, Austin celebrates Juneteenth virtually. Stay Black and Live will be held online from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. There will almost certainly be a performance of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also called the Black National Anthem. Learn the words, learn the tune, raise your voices in song on Friday, and raise your voices in citizenship every day.
Selected Resources from the UT Libraries
Abernethy, Francis E., ed. (1996). Juneteenth Texas. Denton, TX : Texas Folklore Society.
“Explains the origins and histories of Black freedom celebrations in North America. Tells how, even though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, it was not until June 19, 1865, that General Granger landed near Galveston, Tex., and spread the word that slavery had been abolished. Shows that the anniversary of Granger’s landing is celebrated today among Black communities as Juneteenth.”
In light of everything that is going on in our country right now, I briefly considered cancelling plans to publish this post, which has been on our planning calendar since last Fall. The DAC blog team is working on other posts related to protests and social movements around racial justice and the history of systemic and violent racist oppression in the United States. Those posts will go up as soon as we are able to get them finished.
While we all grieve the violent and needless deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN; Michael Ramos in Austin, TX; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY; Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA; and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL, it is my hope that remembering the incredible life of Josephine Baker on the 114th anniversary of her birth will provide another avenue today for honoring black lives and black legacies in the United States.
Black lives matter.
Josephine Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906 in St. Louis. Her early life was hard. Her father abandoned Baker and her mother shortly after she was born, and she began work as a maid at the age of 8 for white families at whose hands she experience both neglect and physical and sexual abuse. At the age of 11, she survived the East St. Louis Race Riots.
At age 13, Baker ran away from home. She began working as a waitress in a club and married a man named Willie Wells, whom she separated from after only a few weeks, though technically the marriage was never legal due to Baker’s age. She performed in clubs and on the streets until she began touring the United States with an all-black theatre troupe based out of Philadelphia. At 15, she married Will Baker, and though this marriage lasted only a little longer than her first, she kept the name Baker for the rest of her life.
Baker’s comedy skills provided her with increasingly successful performance roles and an undeniable place in the Harlem Renaissance. In 1925, she was invited to join La Revue Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. She was 19 and already one of the highest paid performers in vaudeville. In Paris, her comedy and dance routines were celebrated, but it wasn’t until her performances turned to the more exotic that she truly achieved the international fame she is known for.
Baker embraced the exotification at the time, regardless of how she may have felt personally about her “Africanized” burlesque performances. She became a larger than life persona, even adopting a pet cheetah, which she named Chiquita, and walked on a leash with a diamond collar.
Baker’s fame continued to skyrocket. She expanded her repertoire and her performances matured until she was one of the highest paid performers in the world.
Baker was an American expat in Paris at the same time as Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, all of whom, along with other Jazz Age artists including Picasso and Colette, considered Baker as a muse.
She returned to the U.S. a couple of times, but was frustrated and disgusted at the racism she experienced. In the time of McCarthyism, she was accused of communism, and hounded by both the FBI and the CIA.
Baker married her third husband, a Frenchman, in 1937. Like the other marriages, this one didn’t last long, but it did provide Baker with the opportunity to become a French citizen, after which she renounced her American citizenship.
Over the years, she had many lovers of all genders, including a nearly 10-year relationship with her manager and a Sicilian count, Pepito Abatino. While Baker never labeled her sexuality, she did have affairs with women throughout her life, including Ada Smith, Colette, and possibly Frida Kahlo.
When World War II broke out, Baker remained in Paris, which by then, she considered her country. Baker worked as a nurse for the Red Cross. When France became occupied, Baker joined the French Resistance, smuggling information across enemy lines and hiding weapons and refugees at her chateau. Her international performances provided Baker with a unique opportunity. She would perform and attend parties at the Italian Embassy and then pass along any information she learned to the resistance, written in invisible ink on her music sheets.
For about a year and a half during the war, an illness kept Baker confined to a Casablanca clinic. However, even there, she joined the women’s auxiliary of the Free French forces as a sublieutenant and performed for the allied troops.
For her work during the war, Baker was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d’Honneur with the Rosette of the Résistance.
When the war was over, Baker returned to France and turned her considerable energy to the fight for civil rights. She married (self-identified homosexual) bandleader Jo Bouillon, and though they eventually separated, they remained married throughout Baker’s life. Together, they adopted 12 children of different races and religions from around the world. Baker called them her “Rainbow Tribe.”
After 9 years of “retirement,” Baker found herself facing serious debts that forced her to return to performing. She returned to the stage with a musical autobiography called Paris mes Amours at the Olympia Theatre in Paris in 1959.
She often returned to the US throughout the 50s and 60s to support the Civil Rights Movement. While in the U.S., she refused to perform for segregated audiences, and in 1963, she was the only woman asked to speak at the March on Washington.
In 1969, she and her children were evicted from the chateau in southern France where they had lived since the end of the war. However, Princess Grace of Monaco stepped in, offering Baker and her family a villa in Monaco and helping to fund a new show titled Joséphine to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her Paris debut.
After a few performances of the new show, Baker died peacefully in her sleep in her chosen country, France. Even in death, Baker accomplished another notable first. She was the first and only American woman to be buried with military honors and a 21-gun salute in France. Over 20,000 people lined the streets of Paris to mourn her passing and honor her life.
It is impossible to think about Latin America without considering the lasting impact and contributions by those of Arab descent living in the region. Beginning in the latter nineteenth century and peaking in the first 3 decades of the twentieth century, immigrants from Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and others were migrating to the Western Hemisphere for a mix of political, cultural, religious, and economic reasons. From there, many of these individuals and their descendants became leaders in business, politics, and Arab cultural organizations. Their presence varies within different Latin American countries. Notable contemporary Latin American figures of Arab descent include, but are not limited to, the following: Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, Colombian singer Shakira, Mexican actress Salma Hayek, former President of Brazil Michel Temer, and current President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele.
This blog post seeks to highlight materials about the Arab diaspora in Latin America available digitally via UT Libraries and Open Access resources. These materials include ebooks and primary-source web resources from some of Latin America’s Arab-descent communities. The materials are organized into the following categories: economic and political influence of the Arab diaspora in Latin America, religion among the Arab diaspora in Latin America, migration of Arabs to Latin America, and Arab Latin American publications.
Economic and Political Influence of the Arab Diaspora in Latin America
This book is an exploration of how Brazilians of Syrian-Lebanese heritage have gained a footing in Brazil’s increasingly globalized economy, particularly with regard to transactions with nations of the Arab Gulf.
This is a biography of the world’s once-richest man, the Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim. The first chapter contextualizes Slim’s success within his family’s history in Mexico as immigrants from Lebanon.
This book, written by an Argentine of Arab descent, paints a picture of three Peronist Argentine politicians fraught with controversy. It seeks to go beyond negative stereotypes of Arabs in Argentina and explore how these individual figures came to their positions of power and ideology.
This is a history of the arrival of Arabs to a colonial city in the Colombian Caribbean. While it is not as large as Cartagena or Barranquilla, this resource shows the importance that Lorica, a city once known for extensive trade and merchant activity, had for arriving Arabs to Colombia. Furthermore, it shows the lasting impacts that Arabs themselves had on the city, particularly in regard to architectural styles, social clubs, and commercial activity.
This is an online digital archive of materials from the Immigration Museum of the State of São Paulo in Brazil. Photos, immigration records, and other resources are freely available. The photo below comes from this collection, and is the storefront of an establishment in São Paulo owned by Brazilians of Syrian descent.
This magazine is a publication of the Palestinian community in Chile. Its name comes from the Arabic word for “awareness.” It covers a variety of topics of interest to this community, such as interviews and regular columnists.
This post is based on an exhibit planned for the PCL third floor display shelf. Due to extenuating circumstances regarding the coronavirus, the exhibit will hopefully go up at a later date.
For more information on resources made available by UT Libraries, check out this research guide about Arabs in Latin America.
Written by Katie Coldiron, M.A. in Latin American Studies and MSIS candidate, UT Austin School of Information. She is the current GRA for Global Studies Digital Projects at UT Libraries.
For Black History Month 2020, we’re using N.K. Jemisin’s How Long ‘til Black Future Month as a jumping off point to explore black futures in the library collection. Visit the display on the 3rd floor of PCL throughout the month of February to check out these items.
“But this is no awkward dystopia, where all are forced to conform.” ~ N.K. Jemisin, How Long ’til Black Future Month?
“All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” ~ Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination.
In interviews ranging from 1980 until just before her sudden death in 2006, Conversations with Octavia Butler reveals a writer very much aware of herself as the “rare bird” of science fiction even as she shows frustration with the constant question,”How does it feel to be the only one?”
Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without 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 twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change.
From surrealistic visions of bucolic road trips to erotic transgressions to mind-expanding analyses of Delany’s influence on the genre—as an out gay man, an African American, and possessor of a startlingly acute intellect—this book conveys the scope of the subject’s sometimes troubling, always rewarding genius.
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.
As the essays in this book confirm, there is more to fringe computer culture than cyberspace. Within these pages, readers will encounter flame warriors; new age mutant ninja hackers; technopagans for whom the computer is an occult engine. The term “afrofuturism” was coined in the essay “Black to the Future” in this collection.
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries
The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring — madman, world-crusher, savior — has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever. It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy. It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last. The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.
The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman with the hereditary train of “hyperempathy”—which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own—sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown.
Parable of the Talents is told in the voice of Lauren Olamina’s daughter—from whom she has been separated for most of the girl’s life—with sections in the form of Lauren’s journal. Against a background of a war-torn continent, and with a far-right religious crusader in the office of the U.S. presidency, this is a book about a society whose very fabric has been torn asunder, and where the basic physical and emotional needs of people seem almost impossible to meet.
The Patternist is a telepathic race, commanded by the Patternmaster, whose thoughts can destroy, heal, rule. Coransee, son of the ruling Patternmaster, wants the throne and will stop at nothing to get it, including venture into the wild mutant-infested hills to destroy a young apprentice—his equal and his brother.
Babel-17, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating tale of a famous poet bent on deciphering a secret language that is the key to the enemy’s deadly force, a task that requires she travel with a splendidly improbable crew to the site of the next attack.
Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. The population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. Into this disaster zone comes a young man–poet, lover, and adventurer–known only as the Kid.
Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.
Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot–if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.
Yetu holds the memories for her people — water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners — who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one — the historian.
You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?
Blending stark realism with the surreal and fantastic, Eve L. Ewings narrative takes us from the streets of 1990s Chicago to an unspecified future, deftly navigating the boundaries of space, time, and reality. Ewing imagines familiar figures in magical circumstancesblues legend Koko Taylor is a tall-tale hero; LeBron James travels through time and encounters his teenage self.
Escaping from slavery in the 1850s Gilda’s longing for kinship and community grows over two hundred years. Her induction into a family of benevolent vampires takes her on an adventurous and dangerous journey full of loud laughter and subtle terror.
A computer program etched into the atmosphere has a story to tell, the story of two people, of a city lost to chaos, of survival and love. The program’s data, however, has been corrupted. As the novel’s characters struggle to survive apocalypse, they are sustained and challenged by the demands of love in a shattered world both haunted and dangerous.
On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi possesses mental abilities that might benefit people or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained.
In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes, the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges.
Rash and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas, searching for answers. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.
Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.
Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.
Now stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny Nwazue, along with her friends from the the Leopard Society, travel through worlds, both visible and invisible, to the mysterious town of Osisi, where they fight in a climactic battle to save humanity.
When families go missing in Baltimore County, Jane McKeene, who is studying to become an Attendant, finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that has her fighting for her life against powerful enemies.
This collection examines the applicability of contemporary expressions of Afrofuturism to the fields of Africana studies, cultural studies, and other areas of academic inquiry. The essays within this book identify the twenty-first-century expressions of Afrofuturism emerging in the areas of metaphysics such as speculative philosophy, religion, visual studies, performance, art, and the philosophy of science and technology.
In highlighting the place of music within the lived experiences of African Americans, the author analyses how the perspectives of Black Sound Studies complement and overlap with the discussion of sonic Afrofuturism. Focusing upon blackness, technology, and sound, this unique text offers key insights in how music partakes in imagining and constructing the future.
André M. Carrington analyzes the highly racialized genre of speculative fiction—including science fiction, fantasy, and utopian works, along with their fan cultures—to illustrate the relationship between genre conventions in media and the meanings ascribed to blackness in the popular imagination. Speculative Blackness reveals new understandings of the significance of blackness in twentieth-century American literature and culture.
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 Delany, Octavia Butler, and NK Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, 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 that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism.
In this innovative study, Kristen Lillvis supplements historically situated conceptions of blackness with imaginative projections of black futures. This theoretical approach allows her to acknowledge the importance of history without positing a purely historical origin for black identities.
Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive
King T’Challa returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from divisions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must join forces with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being drawn into a world war.
Calmly cathartic and considerably at odds with mainstream R&B, the progressive set promoted healing and empowerment in response to racial oppression. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Standout single “Cranes in the Sky” (number 74 pop, number 28 R&B/hip-hop) won that year’s Grammy award for Best R&B Performance.
An “emotion picture” brought to you by Janelle Monáe and the Mad Minds of the Wondaland Arts Society. The star-studded featured cast includes the legendary Big Boi of OutKast, renowned poet Saul Williams, psychedelic dance-punk troupe Of Montreal, punk prophets Deep Cotton, and the Wondaland Arch Orchestra.
Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all, blending influences from the godfathers with freaky costumes and themes inspired by ’60s acid culture and science fiction. Parliament hit the R&B Top Ten with funk classics such as “Up for the Down Stroke,” “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk),” “Flast Light,” and “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop).”
A young kindergarten teacher finds herself in the Land of Oz, where she is greeted by Munchkins. She journeys down the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Wiz, and encounters a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion.
This is the music that was recorded by Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra for the film Space is the Place. Most of the music on this album is not heard in the film except in short excerpts, and there’s music in the film which is not on this album.
It’s December, and that means holiday season. This time of the year can come with so many different feelings and experiences. As the fall and winter holidays arrive, many LGBTQIA+ members of our community are returning home to families who either don’t know or don’t accept aspects of their identities. Others may not even have that option. For many in this community, chosen family provides the acceptance their biological families may not. With this in mind, the DAC blog has put together a reading list with LGBTQIA+ authors and characters to keep you company during this season and share their own experiences with family, love, and acceptance.
I just need a novel to read
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz“Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.”
“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole ‘Puerto Rican lesbian’ thing.”
“Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.”
“Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be ‘normal.’ To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety.”
“Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.”
“Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith’s own life, Price of Salt tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany–the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society’s confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation.”
“This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.”
“Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.”
“The #1 post-reality generation device approved for home use This manual will prepare you to travel from multiverse to multiverse. No experience is required. Choose from twenty-five preset post-realities. Rejoice at obstacles unquestionably bested and conflicts efficiently resolved.”
“In Marvel’s first series centered on an LGBTQIA+ Latinx character, America Chavez is kicking her way through dimensions, battling cults, viruses, and other aliens threatening Earth, all while attending her first college courses.”
“You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?”
“When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.”
“Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.”
“Art & Queer Culture is a comprehensive and definitive survey of artworks that have constructed, contested, or otherwise responded to alternative forms of sexuality. Rather than focusing exclusively on artists who self-identify as gay or lesbian, Art & Queer Culture instead traces the shifting possibilities and constraints of sexual identity that have provided visual artists with a rich creative resource over the last 130 years – and it does so in an accessible, authoritative voice, and with a wealth of rarely-seen imagery.”
Actually, some poetry really sounds good right now
“The first major literary anthology for queer poets of color in the United StatesIn 2014, Christopher Soto and Lambda Literary Foundation founded the online journal Nepantla, with the mission to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community, including contributions as diverse in style and form, as the experiences of QPOC in the United States.”
“Collected here for the first time are more than three hundred poems from one of this country’s major and most influential poets, representing the complete oeuvre of Audre Lorde’s poetry. Included here are Lorde’s early, previously unavailable works: The First Cities, The New York Head Shop and Museum, Cables to Rage, and From a Land Where Other People Live.”
“This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.”
“Part song, part grito, part wail, part lullaby, and part hymn, Cuicacalli / House of Song is a multi-vocal exploration of time, place, and history. Song lives within and without the poet’s physical and spiritual experience of body, of desire, of art, of loss, and of grief on an individual and communal level. Cuicacalli / House of Song sings survival, sings indigeneity, sings some part of the tattered world back together.”
“Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties.” -Amazon Summary
“Black shares a candid, powerfully resonant memoir about growing up in a military, Mormon household outside San Antonio, Texas. His mother had contracted polio as a small girl, endured leg braces and iron lungs, and was repeatedly told that she could never have children or live a normal life. While Black struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, she remained his source of strength and his guiding light, and years later stood by his side when he helped bring the historic gay marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“Burdened by poverty, illiteracy, and vulnerability as Mexican immigrants to California’s Coachella Valley, three generations of González men turn to vices or withdraw into depression. As brothers Rigoberto and Alex grow to manhood, they are haunted by the traumas of their mother’s early death, their lonely youth, their father’s desertion, and their grandfather’s invective.”
“In this collaborative memoir, a parent and a transgender son recount wrestling with their differences as Donald Collins undertook medical-treatment options to better align his body with his gender identity. As a parent, Mary Collins didn’t agree with her trans son’s decision to physically alter his body, although she supported his right to realize himself as a person.”
“Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion.”
“Using a form of generative refusal towards western writing practices, the text works with the idea of kinship that derives from the author’s Plains Cree and other kinship teachings. It also examines how queer kin were some of their first experiences of reciprocal relationality and care.”
“At twelve years old, Cristy C. Road is struggling to balance tradition in a Cuban Catholic family with her newfound queer identity, and begins a chronic obsession with the punk band Green Day. In this stunning graphic biography, Road renders the clash between her rich inner world of fantasy and the numbing suburban conformity she is surrounded by. “
“The book presents many voices exploring themes of female and trans* masculinities, gender equality, and the lives, work and activism of LGBT*IQ artists and thinkers. It includes discussion of arts-making, cultural materials, diverse identities, contemporary queer politics, and social histories, and travels across time telling gender-crossing stories of creative resistance.”
Nobody passes: rejecting the rules of gender and conformity edited by Mattilda, a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore – Physical Copy; Digital Copy
“Nobody Passes explores and critiques the various systems of power seen (or not seen) in the act of “passing.” In a pass/fail situation, standards for acceptance may vary, but somebody always gets trampled on. This anthology seeks to eliminate the pressure to pass and thereby unearth the delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation that might create.”
“Audre Lorde was not only a famous black poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past half century. I Am Your Sister collects her non-fiction prose from 1976 to 1990, and it is the first volume to provide a full picture of Lorde’s political work (as opposed to her aesthetic work). The essays cover an impressive variety of topics: sexuality, race, gender, culture, class, parenting, disease, resistance, and power – both within the United States and across the African diaspora.”
“Piercingly intuitive, eloquent, and caustic, Affirmative Acts is an address to the social, economic, racial, and political conflicts that mar the otherwise beautiful human experience. In this new collection of political essays, Jordan explores the confusion of an America in the grip of pseudo-multiculturalism and political intolerance.” -Google Books
“Anita Cornwell (b.1923) is an American lesbian feminist author. Her writings in this book are the first collection of essays by an African-American lesbian. It also includes her interview with Audre Lorde, also a black lesbian.” -Amazon
Honestly, I just want to watch Queer Eye, but I won’t have access to Netflix for a while
“At a cultural moment when we are all craving people to admire, Queer Eye offers hope and acceptance. After you get to know the Fab Five, together they will guide you through five practical chapters that go beyond their designated areas of expertise (food & wine, fashion, grooming, home decor, and culture), touching on topics like wellness, entertaining, and defining your personal brand, and complete with bite-sized Hip Tips for your everyday quandaries. Above all else, Queer Eye aims to help you create a happy and healthy life, rooted in self-love and authenticity.”
“An insightful, candid, and inspiring memoir from Karamo Brown–Queer Eye’s beloved culture expert–as he shares his story for the first time, exploring how the challenges in his own life have allowed him to forever transform the lives of those in need.”
“Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.”
“In this memoir, France illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and marrying the love of his life – a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City. He shares the lessons he’s learned about being a successful businessman, a devoted spouse, and the importance of self-acceptance.”
“Imagine this: Five eminently stylish and hilariously witty gay men — authoritative experts in food and wine, grooming, decorating, fashion, and culture — invade your life, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and, in the course of a day, make you better dressed, better groomed, better mannered, and a better cook, living in a better home.”