The Reading Room

“The Reading Room,” a regular feature of 
the A-Line: a journal of progressive thought, will highlight fiction and non-fiction of note in this salon-style series. We encourage you to return to this section of the journal regularly to select from exciting content.

The Marketisation of British Universities: Neoliberalism and the Privatisation of Knowledge
Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

The Marketisation of British Universities: Neoliberalism and the Privatisation of Knowledge

There’s a joke in British politics that New Labour, the rebranding of the mainstream left led by Tony Blair in the mid-1990s, quickly morphed into neo-liberalism. Speak with a drawl and New Labour and neo liberal even sound similar. Voted in by the British electorate in 1997 on the promise […]

Tales of Trolls and Queens
Arts & Culture / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

Tales of Trolls and Queens

An interview Essay with Victor LaValle I first met Victor Lavalle in a Dunkin’ Donuts in Washington Heights (NYC) during the time he was drafting what would become his award-winning novel The Changeling. He was writing there, he told me, because it had just the right amount and kind of […]

Gathering the Ghosts
Arts & Culture / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

Gathering the Ghosts

“Every utopia – let’s just stick with the literary ones – faces the same problem: What do you do with the people who don’t fit in?” -Margaret Atwood The Winter 2018 issue of Radcliffe Magazine featured a picture of me on its cover. Over the last few years, I’ve deposited […]

“What Kind of Freedom is This?” The Historical Question of Work and Blackness
Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

“What Kind of Freedom is This?” The Historical Question of Work and Blackness

“Why has ‘Black Freedom’ become so precarious (yet again!) at this historical conjuncture?” Taking up that question, I have posed another: “What Kind Freedom is This?”1 There is a very particular provenance for this question, which I shall elaborate in a minute, as we say. At this moment, however, I […]

“Like Rain, Like Thunder, Like Lightning, Like Fire”
Arts & Culture / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

“Like Rain, Like Thunder, Like Lightning, Like Fire”

By the time James Baldwin took the stage at the University of Chicago in May 1963 to speak on the subject of “The Moral (or Social) Responsibility of the Artist,” an impatient authority was immediately discernible. This recently unearthed recording of the novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet, reveals a weary […]

In the Crawlspace: Hill, Franken, and #MeToo Pain
Arts & Culture / Health / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

In the Crawlspace: Hill, Franken, and #MeToo Pain

On December 6, 2017, a coalition of women Democrats led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—Senators Kamala Harris, Claire McCaskill, Patty Murray, Mazie Hirono, Tammy Baldwin, and Maggie Hassan—demanded that Al Franken give up his senatorial seat as a result of sexual misconduct accusations from eight different women.1 One day later, Franken […]

Symphony of Combs
Arts & Culture / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

Symphony of Combs

Prelude: Victoria Santa Cruz Me Gritaron Negra! Negra Soy! They yelled at me: Black! Black I am. And black, here, is feminine, of necessity. They yelled at me, Black Woman; they called me Black Woman. Even the men in the film shout it, dance it, are swept up in its […]

Some Thoughts on Citizenship and Poetics
Arts & Culture / International / Politics / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

Some Thoughts on Citizenship and Poetics

As a poet and essayist, I think of poetry as creative heuristics, a means to investigate the world and experience through language, community, identity and politics. In poetry, writer and reader engage the contents of our categorical thinking, formally and informally (in custom and usage), as well as the limits, […]

To Shake or Be Shook Down
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

To Shake or Be Shook Down

Once as a girl, she dreamed an urban kingdom. In the time of the dream, women of the kingdom were squatting over toilets, over gold chamberpots. There was one man—he was understood as the king—in all the imagined city. And this “king” walked among the women and among the pots. […]

The Hudson River: An Autobiography
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 1 No. 2

The Hudson River: An Autobiography

PART IV: VISIONS IN HISTORY This town’s edge, a collapsing shore, seems always to be where live the poor. In my mother’s time, they called us river rats,/ now the words mix insults/ of race, stones on our tongues we spit at others. * * * * * History’s latest […]