- Editor's Note
As I look at the table of contents for this issue in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and #BlackLivesMatter movement, I am struck by the uncanny relevance of the topics and issues discussed in the essays to the world we live in, despite the wide variance in their chronological, geographic, and disciplinary foci. The five essays in this issue address globalism and American expansionism, Black social movement and the arts, logistics of empire, and technologies of settler colonialism.
In "The Holy Childhood Association on Earth and in Heaven: Catholic Globalism in Nineteenth-Century America," Hillary Kaell examines the Quebec-based organization's project to save Chinese babies by baptizing them before death, to which thousands of Catholics committed themselves despite their limited mobility. By analyzing their forgotten cosmology, Kaell untangles a distinctive kind of Catholic globalism in relation to secular humanitarianism.
Irvin Hunt sheds new light on two much-discussed figures, the satirist George Schuyler and the activist Ella Baker, by focusing on their grassroots and literary activism in the Young Negroes' Cooperative League launched in 1930. Pointing to Schuyler's and Baker's deliberate dissolution so as to escape the uneven hierarchies of gender, race, and class within the organization, Hunt uses the concept of planned failure to question schemas of historical longevity used to measure the success of social movements and to posit ecstatics as an alternative to hope. Sophie Abramowitz looks at another contemporaneous and similarly well-studied Black figure, Zora Neale Hurston, and her practice of playwriting, folkloric song collecting, choreography, and concert staging. With a focus on the vernacular revue The Great Day, Abramowitz analyzes Hurston's unique position as both ethnographer and ethnographic subject and argues that her folklore was its own stage for Black drama.
"The Lifelines of Empire: Logistics as Infrastructural Power in Occupied South Vietnam," by Wesley Attewell, demonstrates how the US used the Vietnam War to forge new hybridizations of military and corporate logistics. Examining both the American supply chain's recruitment of a multinational workforce of Vietnamese, South Korean, and Filpinx nationals and the workers' struggle to dismantle the structures of exploitation and control, Attewell illustrates the emergence of the blueprint for a new, more just-in-time form of imperialism. Finally, in her fascinating essay "Window Walls and Other Tricks of Transparency: Digitality, Colonial, and Architectural Modernity," Jasmine Rault addresses the concept of transparency as a technology of communication [End Page v] messaging honesty, accountability, truth, and justice. Putting the Toronto Dominion Center in conversation with the "Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy," both from 1969, Rault interrogates Canada's investments in techniques, structures, and aesthetics of colonial governance and nonreciprocal transparency.
The first event review, by Lori Pierce and Kaily Heitz, discusses Equal Justice Initiative's Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration and its companion site, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened in April 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama. Pierce and Heitz's review is aptly followed by Perri Meldon's critical assessment of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, which opened in 2014 in Dorchester County, Maryland. Meldon both commends the site's emphasis on the importance of African American–led struggle against enslavement and critiques the black– white binary reproduced in addressing the injustice. The last event review, by Thea Quiray Tagle, discusses two sets of art and performance at Velocity Dance Center and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington, by Takahiro Yamamoto and Carrie Yamaoka, respectively, that illuminate their practices of opacity as a way of radical coexistence of difference.
In Digital Projects Review, Hannah Ackermans discusses criticalcodestudies.com, a companion website to Mark C. Marino's book Critical Code Studies (2020). Ackermans points to the intellectual intervention in guiding readers' attitudes and approaches to source code and connecting the academy to the public good while calling for continuous scrutiny to ensure the accessibility and inclusivity of the internal structure and external labor in academic practice.
The issue has three book reviews. Sasha Crawford-Holland reviews books by Sujatha Fernandes, Pooja Rangan, and Rebecca M. Schreiber, all of which critically study various forms of participatory media and interrogate...