This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including Black asexuals, Xinjian Uighurs, and Lilith Fair. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!
“Weather Reports: Voices from Xinjiang” by Ben Mauk for Believer Magazine: “In 2018, I began to travel to Kazakhstan to interview the family members of Xinjiang’s imprisoned and disappeared. I also interviewed former detainees who described their own experiences. Most had crossed from China into Kazakhstan in the weeks, months, and years before our meeting, either by applying for residency and citizenship or by escaping across the border. The result is an oral history of life in contemporary Xinjiang. To my knowledge, it is the first document of its kind.”
“Black asexuals are not unicorns, there are more of us than we know” by Sherronda J. Brown for Black Youth Project: “I never knew it was possible for someone like me to be asexual. I had internalized so many myths about what it means to exist in a body like mine. I didn’t understand what possibilities there were for me until I began to unlearn and challenge the long-held misogynistic myths about my value being tied to my sexual accessibility and my worth being determined by my fuckability.”
“Early African Literature: An Anthology of Written Texts from 3000 BCE to 1900 CE” by Wendy Laura Belcher: “Contrary to the general perception, the African literatures written before the twentieth century are substantial. Whatever limits can be imagined—in terms of geography, genre, language, audience, era—these literatures exceed them. Before the twentieth century, Africans wrote not just in Europe, but also on the African continent; they wrote not just in European languages, but in African languages; they wrote not just for European consumption, but for their own consumption; they wrote not just in northern Africa, but in sub-Saharan Africa; they wrote not just orally, but textually; they wrote not just historical or religious texts, but poetry and epic and autobiography; and they wrote not just in the nineteenth century, but in the eighteenth century and long, long before.”
“Inside the “Most Incarcerated” Zip Code in the Country” by Caleb Gayle for The New Republic: “Keisha Robinson’s family came to Milwaukee from Chicago in the 1980s because, as Robinson put it, “Chicago was getting out of pocket.” With crime rising and jobs disappearing in the Windy City, she told me, “my mom wanted a better place for us to live.” But Robinson’s mother could never have anticipated the crucibles awaiting her daughter in Wisconsin—the array of social and political deficits associated with the five numbers that came at the end of her listed address: 53206, now notoriously known as the most incarcerated zip code in the country.
“The Whitewashing of “#WhitePeopleDoingYoga”” by Chiraag Bhakta for Mother Jones: “It was an exciting time for me. But I didn’t expect the absurdities that would soon follow—a parade of condescension, passive aggressiveness, and white fragility in which the Asian Art Museum revealed itself to be in a losing struggle with the whiteness at the core of its identity.”
“Building a Mystery: An Oral History of Lilith Fair” by Jessica Hopper with Sasha Geffen and Jenn Pelly for Vanity Fair: “The bills featured out, queer artists onstage, new artists alongside veterans, and an entire village of progressive activist causes. But more than anything else, it was visionary. Lilith Fair was glimpsing a possible future in which women were rightfully placed at music’s center and not its margins.”