* 3 *
All morning as we talk inside the room
round the table, our bodies are as warm
with light and shade, our voices are like a web
hung in the air between us, stitching and
unstitching in the telling and the hearing,
the taking issue with, concord and discord,
every one of us around the table
“thE convErsation,” alan shapiro1
in this vErsE, poet Alan Shapiro captures the feeling of a grow-
ing intimacy among the people around the table, the light and the
shadows, the voices and the silences, the efforts to speak and be
heard, the movement through
Music inspires memory. Anytime Tesla Boy’s “Spirit of the Night” begins
playing— the chimes ringing up the scale like the startup to a futuristic com-
puter, the electronic beats flashing in fast tempo— I’m transported. I’m alone
on the 151 bus, riding down Devon Avenue. My shirt is a little too tight, re-
vealing the straps of my leather harness underneath, obvious under the bus’s
harsh fluorescents. Tesla Boy blasts through my white iPhone headphones.
At the corner of Clark and Devon, the night is unusually cool for June; the
cold metal of
the construction of the
Shortly before the 1845 postage reduction took effect, Frederick Clappof Worcester wrote to his brother in another Massachusetts town;
this is the earliest of Frederick’s surviving letters to bear a postmark.
Whereas their previous correspondence appears to have been occasioned
by news of illness, Frederick underscores the decidedly quotidian status
of this particular missive: “Dear Brother, / Having an opportunity to
write you and hapning to think of the promise we made each
Most of the time we understand each other quite well; we just don’t agree.
J oh n d U R h a m p e t e R s , Speaking into the Air (1999)
In previous chapters I criticized the idea that we can best build solidarity by
encouraging people to share their stories, recognize their commonalities,
and become something like friends. This idea animates the intergroup con-
tact initiatives that bring people together across lines of ethnic, religious,
and political conflict. It underpins also the dialogue programs, deliberative
3. Slippery Intimacy and
Ethno- erotic Commodification
By taking on sexuality as its assistant, exchange value transforms itself into sexuality.
All manner of goods are enveloped by its surface, and this background of sexual
enjoyment becomes the commodity’s most popular attire.
—Fri tz Hau g, Critique of Commodity Aesthetics
On a Sunday morning in August 2010, Elise stopped by my house in Mara-
lal to invite me to spend the day with her in the village of Lorosoro. When
I met her one year prior, Elise, a German, had just broken up with her Sam-
Egalitarian Ideals, Humaneness
KOHLI’S FATHER HAD HIT him for spilling milk on the floor.
It was only a small cupful but Kohli was smacked across his
face. In response, Kohli threatened to run away. That was when
he first tried to live with the Naxalite squads.
I knew Kohli’s father, Mangra Oraon, well. He was a jolly,
kind and generous man. His teashop was my favourite haunt
to soak up the village gossip as many people stopped by. Under
two brick walls and a corrugated iron sheet, open on either
side to the elements, Mangra had built