Monthly Archives: October 2011

From Manhattan to Mumbai: Wrestling with the Issues of Our Time

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo

by Katherine Boo, author of the forthcoming Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity (Random House, February 2012).

As jobs and capital whip around the planet, college students will graduate into a world where economic instability and social inequality are increasing and geographic boundaries matter less and less. Unfortunately, globalization and social inequality remain two of the most over-theorized, under-reported issues of our age. My book is an intimate investigative account of how this volatile new reality affects the young people of an Indian slum called Annawadi. Like young people elsewhere, the Annawadians are trying to figure out their place in a world where temp jobs are becoming the norm, adaptability is everything, and bewildering change is the one abiding constant.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers took me three hard years to report, and one thought that sustained me was that I had a unique opportunity to show American readers that the distance between themselves and, say, a teenaged boy in Mumbai who finds an entrepreneurial niche in other people’s garbage, is not nearly as great as they might think. In the two decades I’ve spent writing about poverty and how people get out of it, I’ve come to believe, viscerally, Continue reading

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A Message from Anita Hill

 

REIMAGINING EQUALITY by Anita Hill

by Anita HIll, author of Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (Beacon Press, 2011)

It’s hard to believe that almost two decades have passed since the dramatic Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearing that had such an impact on so many in our nation, including perhaps some of you. I’ve been very proud of the era of heightened awareness and concern about sexual harassment that followed that frankly grueling experience. I have had the privilege of meeting exceptional women and men in nearly every state in the country who seek nothing more than to end behavior, like sexual harassment, that keeps women from reaching their full potential. Some real good did emerge. And I wrote an autobiographical book that some of you may remember, Speaking Truth to Power, back in 1997.

For me the positive developments of the recent past are just the beginning. Starting from the premise that a fair and just society is in everyone’s best interest Continue reading

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