From the Field (+ Archive)

IMG_20150708_071642 by Laurian In June of 2014, as part of a project of 20th-century Ghanaian cloth, I interviewed Felicia Abban, the widow of the designer who fashioned clothes worn by the first president of an independent Ghana—Kwame Nkrumah. During a period when Western attire marked modernity and res...
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From Guatemala To the Sea

By Beth U Red bulbs pulse a path down the carpeted aisle.  A glittering crucifix dangles from the rear-view mirror.  Decal silhouettes of busty women recline on either side of Jesus; their breasts lead the way through Guatemala to the sea.  This overnight bus is a game show, or a bordello.  We are off, gaining speed: our only view refracted asterisks of red light that streak across the night-black glass. Suddenly, the driver vaults to his feet, jams his upper body out the ...
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The More Things Change…on reproductive Justice

By Beth U We came across this article while archive-surfing.  Twenty-eight years after it was published, SB3 and HB77 have been introduced in Pennsylvania.  If passed, these bills propose the most extreme restrictions on abortion in the country including banning them after twenty weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest, health or fetal anomalies.  These bills are two of many threatening access to sexual and reproductive health care on both state and federal levels. Last ...
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no firme nada

By Beth U. Shot on April 13 on Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia. Update: This year's Carnaval de Puebla in South Philadelphia (I wrote about last year's celebration here) was  cancelled because organizers fear heightened activity from immigration officers. Juntos, a community-led, Latinx immigrant organization in South Philadelphia has created these cards for those in fear of or in...
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The root of all…

By Beth U Shot February 2nd on the sidewalk in front of Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Philly. http://www.myneighborhoodproject.org/site/
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We are our nation-state?

By Beth U This morning a violent windstorm battered against our windows as I packed.  My clothes damp, caked with sand and the dust of Central America.  Only a few minutes until the first ferry leaves.  We say hasty and half-asleep goodbyes, uncertain when we will see each other again.  I have grown accustomed to us parting in random outposts with 6 months or 3 years until we pick up where we left off.  And then I am running through the gale. The ferry pounds its way to Beliz...
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Celebrating Life & Mourning in the Field

By Beth  Returning to the field.  A cocktail of excitement, dread, nostalgia.  We were here less than 3 hours before I heard that a dear friend and informant, the person I wanted to see more than anyone, passed away 6 months ago. Here is the first thing I ever wrote about him: The first time I met Colfax he rolled us a joint.  Sarah had bought the marijuana from Renny, the man who runs the hotel above the bar.  When buses from Belize City pull into town and leave newcom...
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come out of your ivory towers

By Beth U Shot May 3, 2016 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York City. The photo was taken by Diana Davies in 1970.  Activist Marsha P. Johnson is on the left, handing out flyers for support of gay students at N.Y.U.  A civil rights activist and leader in the Stonewall Riots, Johnson, with fellow activist Sylvia Riveria, formed the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization that helped homeless LGBT youth.  Johnson and Rivera a...
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Growing Together

By Beth U Shot on April 16, 2016 leaving the Growing Together community garden in Point Breeze, Philadelphia.  Growing Together is a project of Nationality Services Center.  Here, newly arrived refugees from Nepal, Burma, Bhutan and Congo garden alongside long-term Philly residents.
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The Fight Continues: Our Movements Will Not be Silenced

By Lucy Gleysteen On Monday May 4th and 5th, Decarcerate PA and its allies occupied the capitol steps in Harrisburg for 24 straight hours to share the words of individuals currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s prisons.  This protest was originally a response to the Revictimization Relief Act (The Silencing Act), a law designed to silence prisoners by allowing the DAs, victims, and Attorney General the power to sue people convicted of personal injuries...
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El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia

By Beth U. A trumpet blares as a sequined figure bends at the waist and stomps.  He swoops low enough that his fake grey beard dusts the street.  Behind him, a sea of fur-trimmed hats bob to the live brass band.  Pink masked faces stare back at the crowd with blank eyes. Richly embroidered costumes of orange, blue, pink, yellow and gold pass by as silver-skinned Aztec warriors prance in a cloud of feathers.  It's Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia.  Spectators pour from row...
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Laurian is in Ghana: Reflection on Tipping

By Laurian B. For tourists to Ghana’s capital, the Osu area is probably the most well known area of Accra. In Osu, foreigners easily find comfort foods from home and enjoy Internet access at expat owned coffee shops. A week ago, my friend Adua raved about a decadent chocolate dessert at Pinnacle Restaurant and invited some folks to join us there. The brightly tiled multistoried building sits off Osu’s main drag, Cantonments Road. The street is more colloquially known as Oxford Street, in d...
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