- Editor's Note
The first three essays in this issue address interconnected themes of settler colonialism, race, migration, and capitalism, with particular attention to place, space, and the environment. Elizabeth Rule situates the brutality against famed Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq by settler environmentalists after she posted a photograph of her infant daughter next to a dead seal. Rule analyzes the attacks on Tagaq in the context of the ongoing attacks on Indigenous motherhood and sheds light on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women tragedy and Canadian state efforts to address it. Sandhya Shukla turns her attention to the worlds of racialized and diasporic migrants in Harlem through a close reading of Langston Hughes's short story "Spanish Blood." By illuminating the intimate and tense relationship between African Americans and Puerto Ricans and the abiding anxiety of racial mixture depicted in the story, she analyzes the reimagining of Harlem's cosmopolitanism. Rebecca Kinney looks at the "comeback" narrative of contemporary Detroit tourism that trumpets neoliberal gentrification. Understanding "the white possessive" roots of this tourism narrative, Kinney analyzes the discourse of exploration and economic development in the era of neoliberal multiculturalism and shows the legacy of continued dispossession in Detroit. In a much more playful yet no less serious inquiry into the rise of air guitar, air bands, and air playing in the twentieth century, Byrd McDaniel understands the practices as precursors to contemporary forms of interactive media and participatory fandom. Through the analysis of this imaginary art form, he demonstrates how air playing discloses invisible ideas about identity, embodiment, and popular music.
We are excited to present a forum, "On Sylvia Wynter and the Urgency of Humanist Revolution in the Twenty-First Century," convened by Anthony Rodriguez Bayani. Although Wynter's work has been studied and discussed by a number of scholars in recent years, there have been few venues for exploring the origins and development of her ideas on race, modernity, and "the human" in the specific context of American studies. Wynter's inquiries into the origins and legacies of colonialism, capitalism, and empire throughout the Atlantic world and the United States and her calls for new forms of political and social and cultural knowledge are as relevant as ever to the world we live in today. The essays by Carole Boyce-Davies, Jason R. Ambroise, Greg Thomas, Katherine McKittrick, Frances H. O'Shaughnessy, and Kendall Witaszek all reflect on the significance of Wynter's critical thought to American studies, academe, and the world at large. We hope that the forum serves both as a map of the Wynterian [End Page vii] world for those new to her work and as a tool for deeper understanding for those already familiar with her ideas.
In the Book Reviews, Kyla Tompkins reviews four books on race, sex, and science; Eva-Sabine Zehelein discusses works on reproductive justice and gestational surrogacy; Sean Guynes-Vishniac explores the world of zombies and its metaphors through three recent works on the topic. The Event Review features two sets of exhibits that were part of the Pacific Standard Time project held in the Los Angeles region in the fall of 2017: Huan He discusses the exhibit on video art in Latin America at LAXART, and Deborah Cullen reviews the exhibits on the history and art of the Chinese Caribbean diaspora held at the California African American Museum and the Chinese American Museum. The two Digital Projects Reviews feature a project on mapping Indigenous Los Angeles and one on black history in Tennessee, discussed by Siobhan Senier and Elizabeth Losh, respectively. [End Page viii]