Are You Feeling Like It’s 1961?

by Liz Anderson on August 31, 2023

(This is another post in my series on Michigan politics, broadly construed.)

Why am I thinking about 1961? Because that was one year before University of Michigan students published the Port Huron Statement, a pivotal document that laid out the intellectual foundations of New Left student activism. (Excellent UM exhibit on the statement here.)  I am wondering whether UM students today, and U.S. university students more generally, are on the cusp of a generation-shaping leftist activist mobilization that will fundamentally transform U.S. politics, as UM students and university students more broadly were in 1961.

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Summer 2023 Fun Reads

by Maria on August 31, 2023

Quick round-up of books I read for fun over the summer. I’m mostly reading books about ecology and network design for other things, so perhaps my fiction brain isn’t quite optimised for full immersion at the moment, but I’ve not really sunk deep into anything I’ve read for some time.

‘You made a fool of death with your beauty’ is a novel by Nigerian writer Akwaeki Emezi about a bereaved young American artist who’s just started dating again. A lot of it happens in an unnamed Caribbean island where there’s a love triangle, an engaging and convincing art project and a captivating older man at the height of his creative and personal game. I really enjoyed how it concerns Black people and Blackness, centred on love in unexpected places and also the chemistry of two artists in different fields and different generations, how each opens up a world to the other. Plot-wise, it’s mostly about how two people figure out the emotional and familial constellations required for them to be together, so that felt slightly anticlimactic towards the finish. But I don’t often read romance, and, well, it is bound to be about whether the protagonist’s couple makes it. And it was good to read about Black joy and queer friendships and love without the gathering dread of older narratives where someone must be about to take a massive fall. The only slightly off-putting thing – and perhaps this is generational – is the rather YA-ish first person, repetitive self-doubting. That’s a quibble. The language, the setting, clothes, celebrations and dialogue are all wonderful. Solid recommend. [click to continue…]