46 episodes

Featuring progressive conversations about books, publishing, writing.

BookRising Radical Books Collective

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Featuring progressive conversations about books, publishing, writing.

    Poetry of Witness

    Poetry of Witness

    Poetry of Witness is our fourth conversation in a series centering the Warscapes anthology Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (Daraja Press). Featuring Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, Jehan Bseiso and Meg Arenberg.
    What is the poet’s role in the event of the erasure of an entire people? Even as we deem certain acts of violence as “unspeakable” and “indescribable”? As the refrain “no words left” rings in our ears, many of us find ourselves seeking solace or sense from poetic language. Poetry and poets have long been understood (and also wilfully misunderstood) for the ability to deploy resistance to silence and to complicity. More than ever, words matter and words provide witness. Meg Arenberg will speak with poets Jehan Bseiso and Otonya J. Okot Bitek about their respective writing practice, their sense of poetry’s role in a violent world, the value of poetry in the face of numbing horrors, and their specific work putting words to the unspeakable in Palestine and Rwanda.
    Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek is an Acholi poet. Her 100 Days (University of Alberta 2016) a book of poetry that reflects on the meaning of memory two decades after the Rwanda genocide, was nominated for several writing prizes including the 2017 BC Book Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, the 2017 Alberta Book Awards and the 2017 Canadian Authors Award for Poetry. It won the 2017 IndieFab Book of the Year Award for poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Otoniya’s poem “Migration: Salt Stories” was shortlisted for the 2017 National Magazine Awards for Poetry in Canada. Her poem “Gauntlet” was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize and is the title of her most recent work, a chapbook with the same title from Nomados Press (2019). She is an assistant professor of Black Creativity at Queen’s University in Kingston, which occupies the lands of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee people. Otoniya’s work has been published widely online, in print and in literary magazines.
    Jehan Bseiso is a poet, researcher, and aid worker. Her poetry has been published on several online platforms. Her co-authored book I Remember My Name is the Palestine Book Awards winner in the creative category (2016). She is the co-editor of Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees (2019). Jehan has been working with Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders since 2008.
    Meg Arenberg is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of Humanities and the African Languages and Translation Program at the Africa Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University Bloomington in 2016. Prior to joining the Africa Institute, she completed postdoctoral research positions in the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL) at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and the African Humanities Colloquium at Princeton University. Arenberg is a scholar of 20th and 21st-century African literatures with particular research interests in intertextuality, Kiswahili poetics, translation studies, and digital media.
    Buy the book: https://darajapress.com/publication/insurgent-feminism-writing-war

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Wounds of War: Narrating Health and Healing

    Wounds of War: Narrating Health and Healing

    Wounds of War: Narrating Health and Healing is the third conversation in a series centering the Warscapes anthology Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (Daraja Press). Featuring Zahra Moloo, Valerie Gruhn and Danielle Villasana.
    War brings the experiences and stories of health, health workers and emergency medicine into sharp focus. When one speaks about the horrors of war, it is primarily a reference to the vulnerability of bodies that are being deliberately targeted for harm irrespective of whether these are civilians or military personnel. Legal frameworks exist to protect health workers and hospitals, and to prioritize the rights of the wounded and sick no matter what side of the hostilities they may be on. Yet, attacks on health workers and the destruction of hospitals make the practice of care incredibly difficult and only exacerbate precarity. Even outside of the space of the war zone, the practice of health and healing can be a fraught and embattled world where marginalized populations navigate hostile and unjust societal structures that are not designed to provide them with equitable care. This discussion explore the complex ways in which these experiences can be written about by addressing their own positionality as women and as insiders/outsiders, the challenges of bearing witness, and the traumas that arise from doing this work.
    Zahra Moloo is a Kenyan investigative journalist, researcher, and documentary filmmaker. Her work focuses on biodiversity, the extractive industries and neoliberalism in Africa. She has published in Al Jazeera, BBC Focus on Africa, Jacobin, Africa is a Country, Project Syndicate, Warscapes magazine, IRIN News, and in the collection Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession (Zed Books, 2017). She currently works for the ETC Group and is directing a documentary on conservation in Central Africa. She holds a BA in History and Development Studies from McGill University and an MA in Broadcast Journalism from City University in London.
    Valérie Gruhn is a clinician, humanitarian, public health specialist, and author with over a decade of experience in global health and humanitarian response. She began her career as a registered nurse. Valérie's humanitarian work spans continents, with significant contributions in the Middle East, East and Central Africa, and beyond. She has worked with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Iraq during the Mosul Battle, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during the Ebola Outbreak, and in Chad, addressing nutrition and refugee emergencies, as well as in projects in Kenya and Yemen. Additionally, Valérie has contributed as an assistant researcher on projects investigating human rights violations during the Syrian War. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she played a pivotal role in the response in New York City. Her writings have been featured in various online magazines, and her piece "Mosul Journal" was notably selected for inclusion in the book compilation Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War. Her expertise and insights have been shared on platforms such as the Council on Foreign Relations and France-Atlanta. Valérie is dedicated to amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations through her advocacy and firsthand experiences.
    Danielle Villasana is an independent photojournalist whose documentary work focuses on human rights, women, identity, displacement, and health around the world. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibits and has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, and The Washington Post, among others. She contributes to Redux and is a member of the groups Women Photograph and Diversify Photo. Her first photo book, A Light Inside, was published in 2018 by FotoEvidence. In 2019 she co-founded We, Women, an ongoing platform exploring crucial issues across the U.S. through photo-based community engagement projects by women, transgender, and

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Gaslighting as Method and Ways to Resist It

    Gaslighting as Method and Ways to Resist It

    Gaslighting as Method and Ways to Resist It is the second conversation in a series centering the Warscapes anthology Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (Daraja Press). Featuring Suzy Salamy, Suchitra Vijayan and Bhakti Shringarpure.
    Gaslighting is a term used to describe the process by which a person is manipulated into questioning their own reality. Defined as a "conscious intent to brainwash," gaslighting is understood as occurring primarily in interpersonal situations of domestic abuse. Victims of gaslighting find themselves questioning their sense of reality as well as their memories; they experience high levels of anxiety and they may begin to lose trust and confidence in themselves. Gaslighting can happen in several different ways: denial, mockery, jokes and trivialization, withholding information, stereotyping, and repetitively countering observations and memories. 
    Without doubt, gaslighting becomes an important concept to understand the feelings, stories and experiences of women, queer, transgender and racialized individuals. As the #MeToo movement grew with hashtags such as #BelieveHer trending, many of the narratives pointed to victims being told for years that they had misread a situation or were overthinking flirtatious advances. Victims of gaslighting found themselves feeling increasingly guilty and wondering if they were responsible for having caused their own abuse and trauma. Increasingly, the phrase "structural gaslighting" has also come into use to explain the effect of ingrained, harmful stereotypes that refuse engagement with marginalized people and continually dismiss their views, beliefs and ideas. Those that challenge the status quo are deemed abnormal, as exaggerating the problem, and often as imagining things. Women are told to "lighten up;" Black women are told they are "too angry;" individuals wishing to emphasize their pronouns are deemed as pushy and petty; migrants are often accused of not trying hard enough to assimilate; the list of such harms is long and the effects of these societal and political abuses is manifold. This is a timely topic because many of us who are deeply concerned about the unfolding horrors in Palestine are being gaslit constantly not only in our own domestic and work environments but also on a broader level by the media and by politicians. Panelists will unpack gaslighting on interpersonal levels but also something that disproportionately affects marginalized individuals and communities, and will try to come up with clear ways to resist these structures and preserve one's self-confidence, moral compass. and belief systems.
    Suzy Salamy is a social worker and a filmmaker. She has an extensive history of working in the television and film world and has worked on several award-winning documentaries about the Middle East. Suzy has worked at the NYC Anti-Violence Project providing crisis intervention, counseling, and advocacy to LGBTQ and HIV affected survivors of violence. She received her B.A. in film from Bard College and Masters in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, CUNY.
    Suchitra Vijayan is a writer, photographer and activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Polis Project. For her first book, The Midnight's Border: A People's History of India, Suchitra traveled across the 9000-mile Indian border. A barrister by training, she previously worked for the United Nations war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda before co-founding the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, which gives legal aid to Iraqi refugees. She is the co-author of How Long Can the Moon Be Caged? Voices of Indian Political Prisoners (2023) which offers a lens into today's India through

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Unlearning War in the Classroom

    Unlearning War in the Classroom

    Unlearning War in the Classroom is our first conversation in a series centering the Warscapes anthology Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (Daraja Press). Featuring Sherry Zane, Veruska Cantelli and Bhakti Shringarpure.
    Wars, conflict and histories of violence have been continually framed as binary narratives between winners and losers, nation and non-nations, and armies and non-armies. Additionally, in a saturated media landscape, violence and war is often represented as a form of entertainment and this generates a numbness about suffering, pain as well as the psychological and material costs of loss. Prevalent narratives of neutrality, both-sideism and objectivity can legitimize violence towards certain groups of people. Panelists with extensive teaching experience discuss ways in which war can be unlearned in the classroom and disrupt existing ways of producing knowledge about war.
    Sherry Zane is a Professor in Residence and the Director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her main research interests include the history of gender, race, sexuality, and U.S. national security. She is the author of, “’I did it for the Uplift of Humanity and the Navy’: Same-Sex Acts and the Origins of the National Security State, 1919-1921” in the New England Quarterly (2018). She is currently researching art activism in Belfast in Northern Ireland and also working on a feminist pedagogical project to make classroom experiences more inclusive.
    Veruska Cantelli is Associate Professor in the Core Division at Champlain College. Before that, she was an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Global Communication Strategies at the University of Tokyo and also taught Comparative Literature at Queens College, CUNY with a focus on literature of war and women's autobiographies, particularly on non-western narratives of the self. She is the translator of Lettere Rivoluzionarie by Diane di Prima (2021), and the author of "The Dance of Bones: Tomioka Taeko's Stage of Reprobates" in Otherness: Essays and Studies (2021), "The Maternal Lineage: Orality and Language in Natalia Ginzburg's Family Sayings" for the Journal of International Women's Studies (2017) as well as several articles and interviews for Warscapes magazine. She is the co-editor of Mediterranean: Migrant Crossings (UpSet Press) and Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (Daraja Press).
    Bhakti Shringarpure is an Associate Professor of English and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. She has taught at Hunter College (CUNY), Baruch College (CUNY), Stern College for Women, and the University of Nairobi. She is the co-founder of Warscapes magazine which transitioned into the Radical Books Collective, a multi-faceted community building project that creates an alternative, inclusive and non-commercial approach to books and reading. Bhakti is the author of Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (2019) and editor of Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan (2017), Imagine Africa (2017) Mediterranean: Migrant Crossings (2018), Insurgent Feminisms: Writing War (2023).
    Buy the book here: https://darajapress.com/publication/insurgent-feminism-writing-war

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Mehfil 7 - Presenting Kashmir, Anew

    Mehfil 7 - Presenting Kashmir, Anew

    Amrita Ghosh talks to Kashmiri scholar and academic Hafsa Kanjwal her new book Colonizing Kashmir: State-building Under Indian Occupation (2023). The episode presents Kashmir and its long conflict in a new narrative. Kanjwal resets the usual ways of understanding Kashmir’s past and looks at the immediate postcolonial years of 1950s and 1960s in which Kashmir was slowly integrated into India with various nation-building strategies. Kanjwal questions binary terms like colonial and postcolonial, and offers a way of rethinking the Partition as the dominant trope for understanding the conflict in Kashmir. She talks about the ways through which an idea of Kashmir was presented within frameworks of statist integration politics through film, tourism, pamphlets, the use of emotionality and affect, and through racial connotations of a Kashmiri identity. Ghosh and Kanjwal discuss the representation of Kashmir within contemporary cultural productions and the recent slew of Bollywood films and online series that are once again deploying Kashmir to erase and reframe conflict in specific ways.
    Hafsa Kanjwal is an assistant professor of South Asian History in the Department of History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses on the history of the modern world, South Asian history, and Islam in the Modern World. As a historian of modern Kashmir, she is the author of Colonizing Kashmir: State-building Under Indian Occupation (Stanford University Press, 2023)
    Amrita Ghosh is Assistant Professor of English, specializing in South Asian literature at the University of Central Florida. She is the co-editor of Tagore and Yeats: A Postcolonial Reenvisioning (Brill 2022) and Subaltern Vision: A Study in Postcolonial Indian English Text (Cambridge Scholars 2012). Her book Kashmir’s Necropolis: New Literature and Visual Texts is forthcoming with Lexington Books. She is the co-founding editor of Cerebration, a bi-annual literary journal.

    • 37 min
    Radical Publishing Futures 12: Hoopoe Fiction

    Radical Publishing Futures 12: Hoopoe Fiction

    In our 12th episode of Radical Publishing Futures, Nadine El-Hadi, senior acquisitions editor at Hoopoe Fiction joins Meg Arenberg from her office near Tahrir Square in Cairo. The discussion focuses on the special position of Hoopoe and the American University in Cairo Press as a pioneering publisher of Arabic literature in English translation that is also located in the Middle East North Africa region itself. The speak about the particular opportunities and challenges of publishing primarily translations, and the burden of shifting narratives of Arab culture and Islam that predominate in the West. Nadine also talks about the growing worldwide audience for translated literary fiction that has buoyed Hoopoe in its early years as a separate imprint of AUC Press, literary culture in Egypt, and the various paths by which a novel in Arabic ends up as an English title on Hoopoe’s list. The two discuss the stunning new translation of Libyan novelist Ibrahim al-Koni’s latest novel, The Night Will Have its Say, which retells the Muslim wars of conquest in North Africa, among other recent titles published at Hoopoe.
    Nadine El-Hadi is senior acquisitions editor at American University in Cairo Press. She runs both the press’s Arabic Language Learning List as well as its fiction imprint, Hoopoe Press.

    • 33 min

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