The Lit Review is a longform podcast series hosted by Monica Trinidad and Page May, two Chicago-based organizers. Each episode, Monica and Page lead semi-informal conversations with organizers and community members about their most influential book that has helped them develop their political analysis and theory of change. In some cases, we talk to the authors themselves, breaking down the importance of their own book journey.
The Lit Review podcast recognizes that political study is not always accessible for a variety of reasons: financial limitations, academic jargon, low literacy rates, time barriers, and more. Each episode will focus on collectively reflecting on a book to the best of our abilities, talking through key concepts and vocabulary, and nerding out on main ideas and questions raised in the books.
Our goal is to be a resource to our communities, bringing key information out of these books and into the masses during moments of urgency and rapid-response activism and organizing.
Episode 57: The In-between Episode!
It’s a wrap for Season 3! In 8 episodes, we went deep on topics including colonization and land justice, civil rights history, and movement and organizing fundamentals. And in the midst of the pandemic, uprising, and elections, we did our best to highlight the amazing resistance work happening in Chicago.
There’s no special guest on this season finale- just your favorite co-hosts chopping it up to share their highlights and lingering questions. We also have updates about what to expect for Season 4 and how you can help us make it the best season of The Lit Review yet! We’ll be back with new episodes this Summer. Until then, check out any of our past episodes, recommend us to a friend, and KEEP READING!
See links to action items, book shoutouts, and transcription at thelitreview.org
Episode 56: From the Ground Up with Juliana Pino
This is our last episode of Season 3 and it does not disappoint! To close out 2020, we’re discussing the book From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke Cole & Sheila Foster. This short but dense book focuses on the history of the Environmental Justice movement leading up to the signing of the 1994 Executive Order on Environmental Justice by President Clinton, and then outlines several examples of community efforts to resist environmental racism in the 1990s. We are so grateful to our guest this week, Juliana Pino Alcaraz, Policy Director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, for sharing her eco-expertise and movement thoughts with us. In this episode, Juliana breaks down the frameworks, organizational structures, tactics, and campaign strategies outlined in the book, and expands on what’s missing.
This is a longer episode because we just couldn’t cut any of this brilliance! Grab a notebook and get settled in!
Audio Production by B. Russelburg
Episode Intro Music: “Chicago” by David Ellis
Episode 55: Groundwork with Christian Snow
Despite some truly 2020-style audio recording issues, our 2nd to last episode of the season is here! First off the bat, peep our pre-episode plug with the homies Daniel & Damon of AirGo Radio! We hope you’re listening to our podcast episodes back-to-back every week! Then to the full episode, we have our guest, Christian Snow of Assata’s Daughters and the People’s Law Office, share her love and key takeaways from the book Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America.
We often only hear the civil rights movement narrative between the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties, or also known as the ‘Montgomery to Memphis’ framework. That historical narrative emphasizes a story of national organizations, charismatic leadership, policy change and mass mobilizations. Groundwork unearths the buried stories of the people, places, and struggles that laid the foundation for the movement. This is a detailed book that explores the common threads of what people did and how they did it, and insists on the value of exploring this work that never made national headlines or classroom textbooks.
Audio Production by B. Russelburg
Intro music featuring ‘Chicago’ by David Ellis
Episode 54: Freedom Farmers with Vivi Moreno
Fannie Lou Hamer is increasingly recognized for her leadership with the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, but did you know about the 600-acre Freedom Farm Cooperative she started? This is one of many examples of Black farmers organizing for power and self-determination highlighted in Monica White’s book “Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement.” This book expands our understanding of freedom struggles by focusing on the projects and tactics of Black farmers: from cooperatives and encampments, to unions and bail funds. Over and over, White documents the critical contributions farmers made both to literally feed the movement and also grow its liberation efforts. Vivi Moreno is the perfect guest to nerd out for an hour with about food, farming, and freedom. In this episode, she helps us understand and appreciate the long history of agricultural resistance, and also recognize and apply it to the ongoing struggles we still face today for healthy, sustainable, and self-determining communities.
See Key questions discussed in this episode & Vivi Moreno's bio at thelitreview.org!
Episode 53: Borderlands with Trina Reynolds-Tyler
This was a hard book to talk about, but we’re so glad that we did. The late Gloria Anzaldúa’s book “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza” is beloved to many and considered a fundamental text in Chicana and Latinx studies. With gorgeous prose, she richly captures the unique experiences of those who inhabit the borderlands; of place, gender, class, and identity. Anzaldúa's book offers a poetic description of what it’s like to be caught between worlds. At the same time, this work is rightly called-out for those that it erases: Black, Indigenous, and trans people —all also existing and resisting in the borderlands.
We were lucky to have Trina Reynolds-Tyler of the Invisible Institute on the podcast to talk about the ongoing influence this book has had on her as a Black woman living on the borderlands of Chicago’s south side.
What are the borderlands and what does it mean to inhabit them?
What does Anzaldua’s mean by the term “new mestiza” and how does it challenge, reinforce, or complicate the original notions of mestizaje?
Who does this book erase?
Episode 52: Discourse on Colonialism with Asha Ransby-Sporn
Originally published in 1950, Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire directly and dramatically influenced the liberation struggles happening in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This book/essay/poem/manifesto is a blazing collection of thoughts that affirms Black identity and culture, embraces surrealism as revolt, and demands decolonization movements that “decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same time that we decolonize society.” Césaire exposes the hypocrisy and emptiness of colonialism and capitalism, and the antiblackness and brutality inherent to western notions of “progress,” “reason,” and “civilization.” In this episode, we talk to our long-time comrade Asha Ransby-Sporn to learn more about what Césaire challenges readers to think through and how we might apply its lessons to today’s ongoing struggles against empire.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a must-listen for do-gooders.
So happy they’re back! I recommend this podcast to everyone
Great book discussions! I always learn a lot.
Episode on “Black on Black Violence” is a classic. I’ve listened to it multiple times at different points in my life.