Culture and Arts


The Optician of Lampedusa

Scenes of a Rescue
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With hundreds of people thronging to the southern shores of Europe every day, and scores of rescues--and deaths--taking place on a daily basis on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean often seems like a horror to which the world somehow remains blind. One man on the island has made it is his life's work to help us see. As the optician of Lampedusa, he has witnessed, mourned, and reached out to the people he's encountered on the sea, and he's begun telling his story.

Castles in the Sky

Decolonizing Culture and Recoloring Fantasy
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Elena of Avalor is Disney’s new princess. She has been branded as the “First Latina Princess,” and hailed as a milestone for diversifying the Disney brand, and also reaching out to one of the fastest-growing consumer markets (and youngest demographics) in the country. She’s basically a brown-tinted version of the generic template: sparkly dress with baroque-slash-victorian aesthetics, the hint of an hourglass shape without distracting cleavage, wavy brunette hair betraying no ethnic peculiarities, and of course, a tiara.

Seeking, and Writing, a Greater Truth

Speaking on Identity and Authenticity in Publishing
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At the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s 2016 Publishing Conference, Chris Jackson, publisher and editor-in-chief of the One World imprint of Random House, accepted the Workshop's editorial achievement award. His speech, excerpted in part below, broached issues that many writers and artists encounter when negotiating cultural boundaries.

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A Message from Favianna Rodriguez

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