- Editor's Note
The first three essays in this issue examine the complex workings of history, memory, storytelling, and literary arts in the context of slavery and settler colonialism, and ask the questions: Who owns and controls narratives? Whose voice do we hear and read? Tracing a wide range of representations of Bras Coupé—a one-armed enslaved fugitive who hid in the swamps outside New Orleans and was murdered in 1837—John Bardes analyzes how the narratives about the character have been used by whites to delegitimize black self-rule and, in turn, how black storytelling inscribed narratives of black resistance and nationalism. Michael P. Taylor and Terence Wride survey the recovered poetry of Henry Tinhorn, a seventeen-year-old Diné (Navajo) student who attended the Intermountain Indian School in Utah in the mid-twentieth century, and point to the significance of boarding school student writing as works of Indigenous literature; the authors further explore the significance of returning such works to the surviving students and their communities. Emily Cheng examines the Chicano/a nationalist newspaper El Grito del Norte (1968–73), which arose out of the land grant restoration movement in northern New Mexico. Beyond the struggle over the political meaning of land, the paper was also significant for its transnational, anti-imperial, and third-world feminist politics. Cheng's essay tackles the politics of "global sisterhood" and an alternative lens to the mainstream environmental movement that the paper offered.
The next three essays explore modernity, race, and the city through sonic, visual, and spatial modes of meaning making. Sonnet Retman troubles the origin story of the blues through the figure of Memphis Minnie, who bridged the classic "downhome" blues of her predecessors with the modern urban "scientific sound," by examining her uses of technology that shaped the black counterpublic in the jukebox era of the blues. Turning our attention to the visual, Bench Ansfield analyzes the symbol of broken windows as the signifier of the Bronx, conjuring fears of racial degeneration and anxieties of national and economic decline, particularly through the theory of policing developed by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. Reading John Edgar Wideman's Philadelphia Fire, Andy Hines problematizes the decades of development projects by university campuses that reinforce, perpetuate, and benefit from whiteness as property.
In an original take on neoliberalism and racial governmentality in American life, Kellen Hoxworth looks at fantasy football as a site of performance of [End Page v] contemporary national politics: the privatization of the public sphere, reification of jingoistic military culture, neoliberal modes of racial management, and gamification of life. James McMaster's beautifully written essay about a queer and transfeminine Filipino artist, Mark Aguhar, presents a theory of virtual separatism as a form of minoritarian self-care rather than an exercise in hyperindividualism or trapped in the loops of new media technologies.
In a digital project review, Melissa Dollman discusses a digital companion to the biography Becoming Richard Pryor that provides a history of Peoria, Illinois, the former "sin city" of the Midwest, that produced both Pryor and Betty Friedan. In event reviews, Harrod Suarez examines the exhibit Ohio Artists for Freedoms, which traces Cincinnati's local history and contemporary national and global politics leading up to the critical midterm elections after President Donald Trump's turbulent first two years; Karín Aguilar-San Juan assesses the Minneapolis-based exhibit Prince from Minneapolis, which connected the artist's celebrity persona and his midwestern origins and raised questions about race and place; Ngahiraka Mason reviews the 2019 Honolulu Biennial, contemporary art exhibits of works that self-identify as promoting art in the Pacific or attending to underserved Native communities of Hawai'i. The three book reviews by Jina Kim, Shauna J. Sweeney, and J. Jesse Ramirez discuss new works in disability studies, history of black women, and social and cultural study of robots, respectively. [End Page vi]