forthcoming anthology 
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Coming Fall 2021

University of California Press

The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice


Kristina Wong • Rebecca Solnit

Grace J. Yoo • Valerie Soe • The Aunties

edited & with essays by:

Mai-Linh K. Hong • Chrissy Yee Lau • Preeti Sharma

art by Jackie Bell Johnson

The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice tells the story of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a mutual aid collective that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic to produce and donate over 200K cloth face masks to marginalized, mostly BIPOC communities. Led primarily by women of color, the group's work addressed structural inequalities that had left some people--Native Americans on reservations, asylum seekers, food-insecure families, the unhoused, and more--especially vulnerable to the virus yet left without basic protection by government neglect. The group also highlighted the racialized, gendered, and often undervalued labor of women of color, as many group members had familial connections to the garment industry. Equal parts cultural history, group manifesto, and creative anthology, this visually beautiful book of essays, art, and ephemera will be released by University of California Press in fall 2021. 

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Book in Progress

Perilous Telling:

Story in the Shadow of the Refugee Regime

Mai-Linh K. Hong

Perilous Telling: Story in the Shadow of the Refugee Regime demonstrates how story and storytelling sustain the refugee regime, the global legal-administrative apparatus governing refugee mobility and refugee aid. It also reveals how refugees use story to survive, navigate, and challenge the refugee regime. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, I build on Spivak's foundational question for postcolonial studies, "Can the subaltern speak?": I ask, "How do refugees speak in a world already populated with stories about them?" "Perilous telling" names the everyday intellectual work that refugees perform during forced migration and resettlement: strategic listening, information synthesis, and narrative-making born of necessity and fierce resourcefulness. The book highlights the conceptual and rhetorical moves made by refugee writers/artists to navigate the refugee regime, and in doing so elucidates the social and political worlds that refugees and non-refugees coinhabit. Advancing the field of critical refugee studies, this book firmly dislodges “humanitarian aid” as the prevailing paradigm for understanding refugee law and places refugee crises and non-aid into a long, ongoing, global history of military imperialism, labor/resource extraction, and racial and gender violence.