Does it spark joy? That’s the criterion Marie Kondo has set for deciding which personal belongings to keep, and which to relinquish. Maureen Ryan considers Kondo’s decluttering method and her television show in the context of pervasive burnout and insecurity. Richard Grusin, ed., Insecurity University of Minnesota Press, 2022 Maureen Ryan, Lifestyle Media in American … Continued

The world is facing two existential threats, one acknowledged but inadequately addressed, and the other largely forgotten until recently: global warming and nuclear weapons. Scholar Michael Klare discusses the dangerous great power politics highlighted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their deleterious effects on nuclear proliferation and the struggle to slow the climate disaster. Resources: … Continued

Richard Wright, best known for his books “Native Son” and “Black Boy,” was a crucial figure in the Black radical and anticapitalist traditions. So asserts Joseph Ramsey, who has written widely on Wright’s life, literary production, and political commitments. Ramsey also elaborates Wright’s views toward Black nationalism, views that Ramsey contends should be heeded by progressives … Continued

Did the Freedmen’s Bureau, established in 1865, help the formerly enslaved, or harm them? Priya Kandaswamy traces the Bureau’s activities in relation to vagrancy legislation and the placement of Black domestic workers in white people’s homes. Labor discipline and white surveillance, she argues, took precedence over public assistance and meaningful forms of freedom for African Americans. … Continued