What We're Reading

November 2020

Juliane Borosch is reading the article “In Detroit, a Hallowed Ground for Auto Workers Finally Gets Its Due” by Namrata Kolachalam on CityLab. The article sheds light on a forgotten labor protest by Ford workers of the River Rouge factory that is being memorialized in a new city park. The article relates past struggles to current topics of sustainability and social justice. It is not only relevant for the topics we study, but offers some historical depth to workers’ and civil rights efforts during this pandemic and protest movements.

Chris Katzenberg

is reading the fascinating work of the Detroit poet Jamaal May for an upcoming article. May’s recent collections Hum (2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (2016) inspire my thinking about the possibilities of identity construction in present-day, postindustrial Detroit. You can learn more about Jamaal May and sample some of his wonderful poetry at the Poetry Foundation, and I recommend the poem “Shift” (2015).

Maria Sulimma is reading Coffeeland: A History (2020) by Augustine Sedgewick. For my project on literary representations of coffee drinking and cafés, I have already read several international histories of coffee (coffee drinking, coffee growing, coffee trade). This may be my favorite one. Historian Sedgewick expands from the coffee production in El-Salvador, includes a decolonial perspective, and is interested in discourses surrounding energy and coffee as a ‘work drug’ that are very compatible with my research on coffee drinking and industrialism in the 19th century.