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Big Questions, Little Questions

Slavery, it turns out, influenced everything about Brooklyn from its industrialization (sugar, tobacco, cotton) to the early racial makeup of its neighborhoods. Now that I work for a museum, I can’t become a visitor myself without asking: what are the questions that allow people to dig into unfamiliar material, to lose themselves in it?

On Being Bad

* Mary Camille Beckman *

Sometimes—too often—I forget what it feels like to be thrilled by poetry. So, every day I press the cold body of the guitar against my chest and stomach and feel again what potential feels like—how well I might come to know this body and neck in my arms.

Gustave Doré & Skewed Perspective

* Jeremy Allan Hawkins *

During his lifetime, a gallery was dedicated to Gustave Doré’s work in London, he was photographed by the one and only Nadar, and when he died at the age of 51, he was interred in Paris’s famous Cimetière du Père Lachaise. To posterity, one expert claims he left over one hundred thousand individual works, while even a conservative estimate puts it at over eleven thousand. That body of work has, in turn, been responsible for influencing countless illustrators—perhaps even inspiring our earliest comic books—and establishing visual tropes that still appear today in print and cinematic forms. There is no question that Doré sought to establish his legacy with a singular determination, and he succeeded in many ways, yet his greatest work may also be his most significant failure.

A table with stacks of books.

What is Trans Literature?

* Zoe Tuck *

What is trans literature? What does it mean for a literature to emerge? What is our relationship with the past? What is our responsibility to the future?