Let's play ideological board games!

Wednesday November 6, 6:30PM

@ Red Emma's

N.B. This event will start early at 6:30 and take place upstairs in the restaurant to leave plenty of room for game play!

The adverb “avidly” is defined as “with great interest and enthusiasm.” Avidly―the online magazine founded in 2012 by Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle and supported by the Los Angeles Review of Books―specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to the intersection of expertise and passion. Now, I hope you and your readers will embrace Avidly Reads, an exciting new series of books that are part memoir, part cultural criticism, each bringing to life the author’s emotional relationship to a cultural artifact or experience. Indeed, the editors and authors in the Avidly Reads series invite readers to explore the surprising pleasures and obstacles encountered in our everyday life.

In Board Games, writer and critic Eric Thurm digs deep into his own experience as a board game enthusiast to explore the emotional and social rules that games create and reveal, telling a series of stories about a pastime that is also about relationships. From the outdated gender roles in Life and Mystery Date to the cutthroat, capitalist priorities of Monopoly and its socialist counterpart, Class Struggle, Thurm thinks through his ongoing rivalries with his siblings and ponders the ways games both upset and enforce hierarchies and relationships―from the familial to the geopolitical. Like sitting down at the table for family game night, Board Games is an engaging book of twists and turns, trivia, and nostalgia.

Unlike our "normal" book events, this event is going to be highly participatory, with replicas of a hundred+ years of ideological board games available to play and then discuss with the author!

Eric Thurm is a writer whose work has appeared in, among other publications, Esquire, WIRED, Real Life, and The New York Times.

More upcoming events

@ Red Emma's

N.B. This event will start early at 6PM to better accommodate kids and parents!

Innosanto Nagara, the author and illustrator behind A is For Activist, is coming to Red Emma's to present his latest project, M is For Movement, a middle grade (8-12) book about how social transformation from below happens, told through the eyes of a young protagonist.

“This imaginative and highly appealing children’s story, enlivened with brilliant artwork, focuses mainly on the shattering yet inspiring history of modern Indonesia, but has much broader resonance and outreach. Its lucid and powerful message is that ordinary people, with courage and dedication, can help create popular movements that change the world, even under the most onerous conditions. Lessons that could not be more pertinent for all of us today.” —Noam Chomsky


The adverb “avidly” is defined as “with great interest and enthusiasm.” Avidly―the online magazine founded in 2012 by Sarah Blackwood & Sarah Mesle and supported by the Los Angeles Review of Books―specializes in short-form critical essays devoted to the intersection of expertise and passion. Now, I hope you and your readers will embrace Avidly Reads, an exciting new series of books that are part memoir, part cultural criticism, each bringing to life the author’s emotional relationship to a cultural artifact or experience. Indeed, the editors and authors in the Avidly Reads series invite readers to explore the surprising pleasures and obstacles encountered in our everyday life.

As an avowed “theory head,” Jordan Alexander Stein confronts a contradiction: that the abstract, and often frustrating rigors of theory also produced a sense of pride and identity for him and his friends: an idea of how to be and a way to live. Although Stein explains what theory is, this is not an introduction or a how-to, but rather Stein’s insights organized around five ways that theory makes one feel―silly, stupid, sexy, seething and stuck. In Theory, Stein travels back to the late nineties to tell a story of coming of age at a particular moment and to measure how that moment lives on and shapes him today.

Threats to land access and land rights loom large when organizing and sustaining community garden and urban farming movements. Whitelock Community Farm, Pop! Farm, Black Yield Institute, and Filbert Street Garden all provide spaces where their communities can thrive, offering neighborhood events, educational programs, and increased access to beauty, nature, and healthy foods. Despite their important contributions, these organizations encounter struggles in terms of land—from acquisition and environmental concerns to threats of displacement due to land grabs from developers. Moderated by Baltimore Beat editor, Lisa Snowden-McCray, we will listen to these stories and discuss possibilities for change. This event is sponsored by the Department of American Studies, Public Humanities Program, and Dresher Center for the Humanities at UMBC.

@ Red Emma's

This talk reflects on the 20thanniversary of the Seattle WTO protests, which is this November, a moment usually heralded as the “coming-out party” of the American “anti-globalization movement.” In late 1999, an explosion of disruptive protest shut down the World Trade Organization in Seattle. It was a rare clear victory for radical organizers. The ripple effect took the form of copycat protests across the wold, any time there was a summit of global institutions. For a moment, a new anti-corporate social movement promised to construct a new kind of globalization, one that promoted labor rights, ecological security, civil society, and social equality. Yet by late 2001 the movement was only a memory, gone seemingly as quickly as it appeared. Nonetheless, for the last two decades the Seattle moment has cast a long shadow far beyond its brief lifespan—via Occupy and the revival of U.S. socialism. 

@ Red Emma's

A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard

“This wide-ranging, intricate, penetrating analysis provides fascinating insight into the origins of our society.”
Noam Chomsky

“Evokes and contextualizes moments of crisis and possibility in the past with a vividness that casts new light on our own time.”
Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell

“Poetic and moving, this is the work of a historian of genius, rich in detail, powerfully written, and animated by a passion for justice.”
Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch

On February 21, 1803, Colonel Edward (Ned) Marcus Despard was publicly hanged and decapitated in London before a crowd of 20,000 for organizing a revolutionary conspiracy to overthrow King George III. His black Caribbean wife, Catherine (Kate), helped to write his gallows speech in which he proclaimed that he was a friend to the poor and oppressed. He expressed trust that “the principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice will triumph over falsehood, tyranny, and delusion.”

And yet the world turned. From the connected events of the American, French, Haitian, and failed Irish Revolutions, to the Anthropocene’s birth amidst enclosures, war-making global capitalism, slave labor plantations, and factory machine production, Red Round Globe Hot Burning throws readers into the pivotal moment of the last two millennia. This monumental history, packed with a wealth of detail, presents a comprehensive chronicle of the resistance to the demise of communal regimes. Peter Linebaugh’s extraordinary narrative recovers the death-defying heroism of extended networks of underground resisters fighting against privatization of the commons accomplished by two new political entities, the U.S.A. and the U.K., that we now know would dispossess people around the world through today. Red Round Globe Hot Burning is the culmination of a lifetime of research—encapsulated through an epic tale of love.

A haunting, evocative history of British Empire, told through one woman’s family story.

“Where are you from?” was the question hounding Hazel Carby as a girl in post-war London. One of the so-called brown babies of the Windrush generation, born to a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, Carby’s place in her home, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.

Emerging from this setting, Carby untangles the threads connecting members of her family in a web woven by the British Empire across the Atlantic. We meet Carby’s working-class grandmother Beatrice, a seamstress challenged by poverty and disease. In England, she was thrilled by the cosmopolitan fantasies of empire, by cities built with slave-trade profits, and by street peddlers selling fashionable Jamaican delicacies. In Jamaica, we follow the lives of both the “white Carbys” and the “black Carbys,” including Mary Ivey, a free woman of colour, whose children are fathered by Lilly Carby, a British soldier who arrived in Jamaica in 1789 to be absorbed into the plantation aristocracy. And we discover the hidden stories of Bridget and Nancy, two women owned by Lilly who survived the Middle Passage from Africa to the Caribbean.

Moving between Jamaican plantations, the hills of Devon, the port cities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Kingston, and the working-class estates of South London, Carby’s family story is at once an intimate personal history and a sweeping summation of the violent entanglement of two islands. In charting British empire’s interweaving of capital and bodies, public language and private feeling, Carby will find herself reckoning with what she can tell, what she can remember, and what she can bear to know.

A powerful critique of how manipulation of media gives rise to disinformation, intolerance, and divisiveness, and how we can fight back.

The role of news media in a free society is to investigate, inform, and provide a crucial check on political power. But does it?

It's no secret that the goal of corporate-owned media is to increase the profits of the few, not to empower the many. As a result, people are increasingly immersed in an information system structured to reinforce their social biases and market to their buying preferences. Journalism's essential role has been drastically compromised, and Donald Trump's repeated claims of "fake news" and framing of the media as an "enemy of the people" have made a bad scenario worse.

Written in the spirit of resistance and hope, United States of Distraction offers a clear, concise appraisal of our current situation, and presents readers with action items for how to improve it.

Dr. Nolan Higdon is professor of History and Communication at California State University, East Bay. His academic work primarily focuses on news media, propaganda, critical media literacy, and social justice pedagogies. He has been a guest commentator for news media outlets such as The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. He is a board member for the Media Freedom Foundation, frequent contributor to Project Censored's annual Censored books series, a co-founder of the Global Critical Media Literacy Project, a program advisor for Sacred Heart University Media Literacy and Digital Culture Graduate Program, a steering committee member for the Union for Democratic Communications, and co-host of the Project Censored radio show.

Jaisal Noor is a host, producer, and reporter for The Real News Network. With his expertise in education policy and systemic inequity, he focuses on Baltimore, Maryland. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio NewsDemocracy Now! and The Indypendent.

@ Red Emma's

Like the world which they served to bind together, capitalist sexual relations are in crisis. But the concepts currently available to think through gender and political economy feel inadequate to grasp how the sexual order is under strain. Nobody can agree any longer on what this world is for.  


Pinko is a new magazine of gay communist thought that attempts to bring struggles against capitalist sexual relations into contact with struggles against the wage and against whiteness. Publishing twice a year, this first issue features dispatches from the Puerto Rican uprising and the Kentucky coal miners' blockade, essays about the communization of care and Kuwasi Balagoon, archival documents from groups like Third World Gay Revolution, and more. 


Editors from the Pinko collective will be at Red Emma’s on November 23rd to read from and discuss their new publication.

For generations, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been essential institutions for the African American community. Their nurturing environments not only provided educational advancement but also catalyzed the Black freedom struggle, forever altering the political destiny of the United States. In this book, Jelani M. Favors offers a history of HBCUs from the 1837 founding of Cheyney State University to the present, told through the lens of how they fostered student activism.

Favors chronicles the development and significance of HBCUs through stories from institutions such as Cheyney State University, Tougaloo College, Bennett College, Alabama State University, Jackson State University, Southern University, and North Carolina A&T. He demonstrates how HBCUs became a refuge during the oppression of the Jim Crow era and illustrates the central role their campus communities played during the civil rights and Black Power movements. Throughout this definitive history of how HBCUs became a vital seedbed for politicians, community leaders, reformers, and activists, Favors emphasizes what he calls an unwritten "second curriculum" at HBCUs, one that offered students a grounding in idealism, racial consciousness, and cultural nationalism.

"I have been waiting for a prodigious researcher and storyteller to reconstruct what has never been fully reconstructed: the story of historically Black colleges and universities’ influence on Black activism. In Shelter in a Time of Storm, Jelani Favors has told that story, revealing how HBCUs have been the most fertile womb of Black activism in America throughout their history."--Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Jelani M. Favors is assistant professor of history at Clayton State University.

Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years


@ Red Emma's

In recent years, you’ve no doubt heard the term “self-care” hundreds of times. You may know that the term originated in black feminist circles and soon became widely used in public health, disability, therapy and social work communities.  You’ve probably heard the critique that self-care is consumerism thinly cloaked as “wellness.” You’ve probably also heard progressives say that self-care individualizes systemic problems--which may be why politically engaged folks have been reticent to create printed matter about a new crop of anti-consumerist, community-oriented, body positive approaches to self-care. These "authentic" approaches to self-care appeal in particular (but not exclusively) to folks with class privilege who have achieved success on the outside—but still feel anxious, unfulfilled, and worried about the world around them.    

 

Now "authentic" self-care has a book, Gracy Obuchowicz’s selfcarefully, a different kind of self-help book, a book-as-object designed and illustrated by Maria Habib.


 Gracy Obuchowicz is a Washington, D.C.-based self-care coach who has taken over 200 women through her course, Self-Care 101, which interprets Ayurvedic wisdom for Western living. More than just achieving better personal habits, this intensive self-care work helped many of these women find deeper meaning in their work and lives—and take on more leadership in order to care for others and advocate for systemic change.

  

selfcarefully is where Gracy puts together her teachings in one place, sharing her unique definition of self-care and her vision of a more careful and caring world. The book contains 30 vignettes, including: self-care and setting boundaries, self-care and soaking grains, self-care and the moon, self-care and racism, self-care and consumerism, self-care and perfectionism, self-care and community, and more. It also contains excerpts of interviews with justice-seekers about leadership and self-care in action.

A warm, wise, and urgent guide to parenting in uncertain times, from a longtime reporter on race, reproductive health, and politics.

In We Live for the We, first-time mother Dani McClain sets out to understand how to raise her daughter in what she, as a black woman, knows to be an unjust–even hostile–society. Black women are more likely to die during pregnancy or birth than any other race; black mothers must stand before television cameras telling the world that their slain children were human beings. What, then, is the best way to keep fear at bay and raise a child so she lives with dignity and joy?

McClain spoke with mothers on the frontlines of movements for social, political, and cultural change who are grappling with the same questions. Following a child’s development from infancy to the teenage years, We Live for the We touches on everything from the importance of creativity to building a mutually supportive community to navigating one’s relationship with power and authority. It is an essential handbook to help us imagine the society we build for the next generation.