Is it a coincidence that as virtual states of being and artificial intelligence proliferate, human social systems are perhaps in their most precarious state? As we fixate upon productivity and privileging the individual above the collective, the conditions for racism, homophobia, transphobia, state-sanctioned violence, underfunded welfare institutions, and global health crises flourish. These authors envisage communities of care as an intervention for disrupting institutional oppression. Communities of care refer to the notion that belonging to a community, rather than living in isolation, is optimal for humans’ psychological, physical, and socioeconomic well being. Beginning with Cindy-Lou Holland’s review of Anti-Racist Scholar-Activism by Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Laura Connelly, we invite you to learn how to create communities of care wherever you are. Holland’s review introduces anti-racist scholarship-activism as a pedagogical approach toward community building—one that, the authors acknowledge, is laden with “inevitable complicity” for those working in academic institutions. 

Patrick Sui further elucidates the importance of critical race pedagogy in his review of Jung Kim and Betina Hsieh’s The Racialized Experiences of Asian American Teachers in the US: Applications of Asian Critical Race Theory to Resist Marginalization. The authors use K-12 teachers’ accounts to demonstrate “the tenuous racial positioning of Asian Americans”. Their discussion of ‘external essentialism’ versus ‘strategic anti-essentialism’ (articulated in Sui’s review) provokes important questions about Asian American cultural identity and belonging.

Daniel Dawer probes the impact of K-12 pedagogy on students’ sense of belonging in his review of Mollie V. Blackburn’s Moving Across Differences: How Students Engage LGBTQ+ Themes in a High School Literature Class. The book traces the profound impact of queer literature on high school students’ understanding of gender and racial identities, sexual orientation, and intrapersonal relationships, encouraging them to critically examine the function of communities—both as sources of support and persecution.

Reviewing Karma Chavez’s The Borders of AIDS: Race, Quarantine, and Resistance, Courtney Welu presents ‘alienizing logic,’ which Chavez defines as a way of thinking employed by those in power to designate who does or does not fit inside a community. In this case, Chavez relates less commonly told stories of the AIDS epidemic, centering the experiences of “Black citizens and non-citizens, sex workers, and Haitian migrants.”Chavez explains how the US mobilized alienizing logic to reinforce immigration and health policy agendas while marginalizing Black migrants and queer victims of AIDS. This foil to the hegemonic “morality of the nation” campaign reveals how unequal care practices can operate under the guise of national protection and morality. 

Finally, Hanuel Lee closes this section with a review of In the Crossfire of History: Women’s War Resistance Discourse in the Global South, edited by Lava Asaad and Fayeza Hasanat. I hope you will find inspiration in this collection of essays, which capture several women’s resistance movements in the Global South that work to “decolonize…the global feminist discourse.” Their acts of “creative insurgency” underscore the healing power of communities of care, especially those built not on a false universalism, but on radical thinking and solidarity.