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Revisiting Hurricane Katrina: Racist Violence and the Politics of Disposability

Hurricane Katrina did not begin with a natural disaster. It began with the hatred that flared among white people in response to a civil rights movement that challenged white supremacy in US society. It began with a racist backlash that erupted with the killing of Emmett Till and continues to this day. Moreover, it made visible the predatory nature of disaster capitalism and its willingness to turn a disastrous event into a petri dish for the forces of neoliberalism. Katrina launched a new era in the politics of disposability.  Read more.

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When Ferns Were All The Rage

Every autumn, Victorians swarmed into the woods to collect ferns. From the 1850s until Queen Victoria’s demise, pteridomania (meaning “fern mania”) engulfed Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic. Almost every house had a potted fern. Those who could afford to, kept rare fern varieties “under the ample bell-glass, or in the Wardian case… to enliven the parlor window in the wintry season of the year.”  There were fern books, fern societies, and florists bulked out floral arrangements with ferns. Fern-collecting went beyond past-time to become an occupation.  Read more.