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Reading List January 05, 2019

Understanding Appalachia

What we get wrong about the region.
“Rural Spaces are often thought of as places absent of things, from people of color to modern amenities to radical politics. The truth, as usual, is more complicated.” — Elizabeth Catte

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming issue Left Elsewhere: Finding the Future in Radical Rural America!  While issues won’t ship til February 1, we wanted to whet your appetite with some of our existing essays that deal with similar themes of rural life and what’s next for the left.

We’ve also dipped into our archive to include some pieces from writers who will appear in Left Elsewhere. Click here to see the full contributor list—and a sneak preview of the issue!

—Rosie Gillies


The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country
by Elizabeth Catte

“J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy has been held up as a guidebook for understanding the 2016 election, but his logic is rooted in an enduring and dangerous myth about race in Appalachia.”

• • •

Building Prisons in Appalachia
by Sylvia Ryerson and Judah Schept

“Addressing white poverty by incarcerating people of color exacerbates tensions between marginalized communities while curtailing the potential for multiracial solidarity.”

• • •

Queer in Rural America
by Hugh Ryan

“Many queer Americans dwell in small towns and rural places. Overlooked by the national gay rights movement and underrepresented in the media, they have rarely been seen as important subjects for representation”

• • •

The Next Left
an interview with Bhaskar Sunkara

“That’s the future of any left: people who identify as liberals, some of whom would be attracted to a structural critique of capitalism, especially if it offers a coherent intellectual vision that’s both radical and pragmatic at the same time.”

• • •

Is Equality in Our Nature?
a forum with Ruy Teixeira

Teixeira has responded to several Boston Review forums on the topic of what the left can do to combat inequality—including our forthcoming issue. In 1998 he argued that “the left has always had a problem with human nature.”

• • •

The Third Rail
a forum with Elaine Kamarck

“Americans still glorify the individual and believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to work hard and take care of their own. It’s why, for instance, America has never had a successful socialist party while Europe has.”

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