Author: Joe Lockard
Joe Lockard is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University, where he directs the Anti-slavery Literature Project. He is the co-editor of Iraq War Cultures (Peter Lang, 2011) and the author of Watching Slavery: Witness Texts and Travel Reports (Peter Lang, 2008). Lockard teaches early American literature, early African American literature, comparative ethnic literatures, and social protest literature.

Can colonialism collapse into post-colonialism through ironic self-exposure and self-parody?  It is misleading to think we can ridicule colonialism away, even if William Seabrook’s career as a white voyeur among darker peoples certainly makes an excellent case for that position.  (More…)

Kelly Lytle Hernández’s City of Inmates is both enlightening and troubling.  Aside from famous institutions such as Sing-Sing, prison and jail systems appear as ahistorical institutional structures.  They seem as though they materialized in response to a need to house criminals. Yet all prisons and jails have histories. They are often responses to the criminalization of human categories rather than criminal violence. (More…)

Mimi Pond’s second graphic memoir, The Customer is Always Wrong (Drawn & Quarterly), tells of her early twenties when she was a struggling waitress and beginning cartoonist in the Oakland of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like her first memoir, Over Easy, it centres on Pond’s workplace, the Imperial Café (a pseudonym for the real-life Royal Café), which provided her with many of the stories she tells. (More…)

Dear Ahed,

I write to confess that I love you.  Although you are sitting in Ofer military prison and might not be too happy, I want to persuade you that I am your own true love.  Prison may give you time to think about where your affections can best be directed.  You will come to love me too. (More…)

Nanni Balestrini’s 1971 novel Vogliamo tuttoWe Want Everything – has waited four and a half decades for an English-language translation from the Italian.  The novel, the most successful of Balestrini’s novels, recounts the radicalization of an anonymous young worker from southern Italy and the Fiat strike of the 1969, ‘hot autumn.’  (More…)

Elmore Leonard’s critically neglected novel Escape from Five Shadows speaks to social attitudes about incarceration that too many in the US public have forgotten.  Leonard published the novel in 1956 during his early career as a Westerns writer.  Some would argue, of course, that Leonard never stopped being a Westerns writer, only he changed locations. (More…)

To read #metoo testimonies from many women and some men on social media concerning the sexual harassment and assaults they have endured is to be horrified at the accounts.  The sadness brings a quiet. It becomes inappropriate to speak. (More…)

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. (More…)

One of the questions to be asked of a translated novel is ‘why was this translated?’  The answers can range from the author’s perceived importance, to providing foreign readers with cultural insight, or to publishing economics. (More…)

We live in confining times. Prison narratives proliferate and disappear quickly. Yet only the occasional narrative, such as Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary (2015), receives sustained attention and then due to its obvious political import. Prison writing is difficult because it forces a double confrontation, both with state and self. (More…)

It began as Colin Kaepernick’s protest against violent policing of African Americans, but now the protests have evolved. Taking a knee during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is another version of protests against Confederate statues. This speaks to how we regard US history and its legacy of racism. The issue now is more than police violence: it concerns history. (More…)

Irony can be a difficult tone to manage well. It can be even more difficult to visualize effectively. Jillian Tamaki is a skilled ironist whose new graphic story collection Boundless (Drawn & Quarterly) can absorb and reward repeated readings. (More…)