Cultural Studies

RECENT REVIEWS

OkCupid’s XOXO for Big Surveillance

OkCupid’s XOXO for Big Surveillance

CHRISTIAN RUDDER is a good writer — so good, in fact, it’s easy for readers of Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) to be smitten by his engaging and funny stories. These stori...

Work It on Out

Work It on Out

IN THE SUMMER of 2003, you couldn’t miss “Crazy in Love.” The Beyoncé single with a horn hook from the Chi-Lites and a rap from the singer’s future husband Jay-Z was everywhere. I heard it o...

A Tale of Two ’Hoods: A Rap on Silver Lake

A Tale of Two ’Hoods: A Rap on Silver Lake

WHEN RUBÉN MARTÍNEZ submitted his essay “My Father’s House” to Dagoberto Gilb, author and publisher of the literary magazine Huizache, the two writers realized they shared some geography: the...

Where Danger Is

Where Danger Is

CRITICAL AND TERRITORIAL in my nature, not easily impressed by my fellow essayists, I will here cede territory and admit to being impressed, more than impressed, by the vigorously growing oeuvre of Re...

Life, Prison, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Life, Prison, and the Pursuit of Happiness

ALICE GOFFMAN’S On the Run couldn’t be more aptly titled. In the Philadelphia suburb that is the focus of Goffman’s powerful sociological study, young Black men are “on the run” for real, an...

California’s Immaculate Conception

California’s Immaculate Conception

CALIFORNIA has been known as the end of America, where Manifest Density doubled back on itself. But long before Joan Didion declared it the place where we run out of continent, California had a histor...

Capitalizing on “The Body”

Capitalizing on “The Body”

BY NOW you’ve probably heard the news: Marx is back on trend. Thanks to the French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, even The New York Times’s Fashion & Sty...

Feminism and the "50 Shades" Hangover

Feminism and the "50 Shades" Hangover

SHOULDN'T WE ALL feel a little embarrassed about the fuss we made over 50 Shades of Grey? I don’t mean the book’s fans. I mean the anti-; the book’s critics; all of us who committed time and ene...

A Tale of Two Summers

A Tale of Two Summers

The century’s sun has set in blooded clouds.             — Rabindranath Tagore, “Sunset of the Century,” December 31, 1900 [Today’s situation] is historically unprecedented, in ...

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

YET ANOTHER WHITE pop star has wandered into the thorny world of racial drag. Taylor Swift, in case you missed her, is an American musician who began her career in a calculated blend of country crosso...

Football: The Lure of the Game

Football: The Lure of the Game

Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become. — Mary McGrory IF I’M DRIVING down the road and I see it being played, there’s a good chance that I’ll stop and watch for a while, ...

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over   When the war is over We will be proud of course the air will be Good for breathing at last The waters will have been improved the salmon And the silence of heaven will mi...

Going Up?

Going Up?

  ELEVATORS are commonplace. That’s the magic of them. Otis Elevator Company, the world’s most famous manufacturer of “vertical transport systems,” reputedly carries the equivalent o...