events at red emma's

Chelsea Manning is in solitary confinement for her refusal to testify before a grand jury, the Vaughn 17 are facing repression after a 2017 Delaware prison uprising. Come write letters of support and solidarity.

This collection of essays challenges reactionary nationalism by making the positive case for the benefits of free movement for countries on both ends of the exchange. Open Borders counters the knee-jerk reaction to build walls and close borders by arguing that there is not a moral, legal, philosophical, or economic case for limiting the movement of human beings at borders. The volume brings together essays by theorists in anthropology, geography, international relations, and other fields who argue for open borders with writings by activists who are working to make safe passage a reality on the ground. It puts forward a clear, concise, and convincing case for a world without movement restrictions at borders.

@ Red Emma's

A special event with contributors:

Co-sponsored by the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)

From well-known intellectuals such as Frederick Douglass and Nella Larsen to often-obscured thinkers such as Amina Baraka and Bernardo Ruiz Suárez, black theorists across the globe have engaged in sustained efforts to create insurgent and resilient forms of thought. New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition is a collection of twelve essays that explores these and other theorists and their contributions to diverse strains of political, social, and cultural thought. 

The book examines four central themes within the black intellectual tradition: black internationalism, religion and spirituality, racial politics and struggles for social justice, and black radicalism. The essays identify the emergence of black thought within multiple communities internationally, analyze how black thinkers shaped and were shaped by the historical moment in which they lived, interrogate the ways in which activists and intellectuals connected their theoretical frameworks across time and space, and assess how these strains of thought bolstered black consciousness and resistance worldwide. 

Defying traditional temporal and geographical boundaries, New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition illuminates the origins of and conduits for black ideas, redefines the relationship between black thought and social action, and challenges long-held assumptions about black perspectives on religion, race, and radicalism. The intellectuals profiled in the volume reshape and redefine the contours and boundaries of black thought, further illuminating the depth and diversity of the black intellectual tradition.

In May 1967, internationally renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer purchased forty acres of land in the Mississippi Delta, launching the Freedom Farms Cooperative (FFC). A community-based rural and economic development project, FFC would grow to over 600 acres, offering a means for local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers to pursue community wellness, self-reliance, and political resistance. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans--an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort.

Freedom Farmers expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern black farmers and the organizations they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, this book reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.

In Blood’s Will: Speculative Fiction, Existence, and Inquiry of Currere, main character Campbell Cote Phillips—a successful university professor, mother, and wife—faces the question "what would she give up to have everything else?" Her comfortable life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that not everything is always as it appears to be. The story unfolds between the 1970s and contemporary Baltimore, weaving together the experiences of Finn (an unusual vampire with a strange history) and Campbell—along with a cast of characters across different generations—whose stories are portrayed in base-relief against the promise, or peril, of immortality. Blood’s Will is about love and desire, but it is also about family, friends, and the choices we all make. To be human is to sacrifice. To be vampire is to have endless opportunities.

@ Red Emma's

This pathbreaking book offers a radical analysis of how people play, produce, and profit from video games, and the major role the industry plays in contemporary capitalism.

In Marx at the Arcade, acclaimed researcher Jamie Woodcock delves into the hidden abode of the gaming industry. In an account that will appeal to hardcore gamers, digital skeptics, and the joystick-curious, Woodcock unravels the vast networks of artists, software developers, and factory and logistics workers whose seen and unseen labor flows into the products we consume on a gargantuan scale. Along the way, he analyzes the increasingly important role the gaming industry plays in contemporary capitalism and the broader transformations of work and the economy that it embodies.

Jamie Woodcock is a sociologist of work, focusing on digital labor, the gig economy, and resistance. He is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics and is the author of the award-winning Working the Phones (2016). He is on the editorial board of Historical Materialism and an editor of Notes from Below, an online journal of workers’ inquiry.

@ Red Emma's

A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People's History of Heaven.

Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India's fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community of people living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises. These families, men and women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.

A People's History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.
This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love--even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian's novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.

@ Red Emma's

A double header of poetry with Malcolm Friend presenting Our Bruises Kept Singing Purple and S. Brook Corfman presenting Luxury, Blue Lace.

In Our Bruises Kept Singing Purple, Afro-Jamaican-Boricua poet, Malcolm Friend, has gifted us with a collection that is politically charged and culturally woke. Crafted in rhythmseasoned Latinx dialect, emerging from ancestral roots, replanted in the urban spectrum of hip-hop and rap, Friend’s voice is heart-inspired, soul-empowered, new-wave griot, a fearless weapon forged from South End Seattle, Puerto Rico, and Pittsburgh. Friend creates personal and family stories that connect communal tragedies and national consciousness in expressions of rage, affirmation and self-determination, confronting the brutal realities of being Black and young while caught in the colonial grip of America, enlisting the vibrations of sound masters like Ismael Rivera, Cheo Feliciano, Tato Laviera and Bob Marley. Friend chases ghosts that emerge from living scars and painful realizations experienced by people of color happening in the barbershop, the bar, the dining table, college, on the 7, in between a mofongo of jazz, blues, calypso, rumba, bomba, plena and dembow celebrations, where his heart is.

— Sandra María Esteves

Publishers Weekly's starred review for Luxury, Blue Lace:

Relying on abstraction and the unspoken, Corfman shapes a story of unique gender experience and transformation in this extraordinary debut. The collection was chosen by Richard Siken for the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize, which is notable because Corfman sews something delicate from a similarly dreamlike fabric of longing that Siken’s Crush embodies: “There is the imaginary twin (blue) and the real twin (red), as if we can know beforehand the distinction.// We shared a face. We both tried to hide. Each named slant for a patriarch.// Dysphoria of many kinds, but some more striking than others.” Corfman crafts the poems by talking through family, domesticity, dolls, and childhood baubles. While references to transmutation, of seeking alternative embodiment, are semiobscured, the narrator elucidates via a complex juncture of both acquiescence and resistance. “There are many rooms and you suffer most when you go between them. A tendency even in language to uninhabit. But now, we know there are rooms. We know it is the going from one to the other that takes it out of you.” Like Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which Corfman references, readers may easily lose themselves in these poems’ own form of pointilism. Corfman writes from carefully detailed liminal spaces, producing a work of rare beauty and thoughtfulness. 
@ Red Emma's

In concert with the Become Again exhibition at Terrault Gallery, curated by Jared Christensen, this event will provide a platform for Sex and Gender Minorities (SGM) to share stories and poems that explore the queer experience. Performers are encouraged to share finished works, or utilize this opportunity to workshop new material. Open to people of all ages and skill levels, this event will inspire a sense of community through the shared realities of non-normative existence. This is a family friendly space meant to provide an uplifting experience; we request performers keep this in mind when selecting a piece to share. This event is free, but we suggest a $5 donation to help support The Pride Center of Maryland.

Despite clear (and important!) differences, as well as notable exceptions, the bulk of our two party system is in profound agreement on maintaining a racialized status quo, a carceral state, and American imperialism. Democrats and Republicans largely share a bipartisan commitment to the military-industrial complex and US empire. Together, they inspired and shaped the bipartisan commitment to mass incarceration. Conservatives and liberals have shared a commitment to markets and private property that has allowed and fostered persistent racial segregation and inequality—even in the absence of any formal or explicit codification of that inequality, except as guided by longstanding ideologies of paternalism. Jumping off from the new book Shaped by the State, this panel will explore the deep affinities for warmaking, racism, and incarceration at the heart of official US politics, and chart a course towards alternatives.


  • Brent Cebul 
  • N. D. B. Connolly 
  • Stuart Schrader 
  • Christy Thornton 
@ Red Emma's

Queer trivia is postponed until next month, but we thought we'd get the ball rolling with some queer bar programming in the meantime! Swing by to celebrate spring, relax on the patio, enjoy drink specials (alcoholic and non-alcoholic!) and make some new friends! 

@ Red Emma's

In Occult Features of Anarchism, Erica Lagalisse sets straight the history of the Left, illustrating the actual relationship between modern revolutionism, occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity: Questions of class respectability may lead Leftists to ignore “conspiracy theory”, yet in doing so neo-fascist theories of history gain ground.  Inspired by research within today’s anarchist movements, Lagalisse's latest work also serves to challenge contemporary anarchist “atheism”, which poses practical challenges for coalition politics in the 21st century.  Finally, by studying the history of anarchism, Lagalisse also shows how the development of Leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine “public” spheres continues to inform 21st century anarchist understandings of the ‘political’, in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general.