Sharon Luk: Book Release for “The Life of Paper”

January 26, 2018
12:00 pmto2:00 pm

Alder 111
Alder Building
15th & Alder

The Life of Paper: Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity

Author: Sharon Luk, Assistant Professor, UO Department of Ethnic Studies

A Book Symposium with Discussants:

  • Professor Colleen Lye, UC Berkeley
  • Professor Dan HoSang, Yale University
  • Professor Michael Hames-Garcia, University of Oregon

The Life of Paper offers a wholly original and inspiring analysis of how people facing systematic social dismantling have engaged letter correspondence to remake themselves—from bodily integrity to subjectivity and collective and spiritual being. Exploring the evolution of racism and confinement in California history, this ambitious investigation disrupts common understandings of the early detention of Chinese migrants (1800s-920s), the internment of Japanese Americans (1930s-1940s), and the mass incarcerations of African Americans (1960s-present) in its meditation modern development and imprisonment as a way of life.

Situating letters within global capitalist movements, racial logics, and overlapping modes of social control. Sharon Luk demonstrates how correspondence becomes a poetic act of reinvention and a way to live for those who are incarcerated.

Sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Center for the Study of Women in Society, and the Division of Equity and Inclusion.

Editor’s Note: Sharon Luk received a 2015-16 CSWS Faculty Research Grant in support of the research for this book.

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