Tropics of Meta aims to offer a fresh perspective on history, current events, popular culture, and issues in the academic world. Founded in 2010, ToM has published over 1000 essays by historians, social scientists, artists, activists, and creative writers both within and outside the academy, giving voice to communities across the United States and the world.
Unlike many academic blogs, we do not focus on a particular subdiscipline or regional or thematic specialization. Rather, our platform is open to a broad and inclusive discussion of issues ranging from cities to technology, from music, food, and film to gender, race, and sexuality. We are particularly interested in urban history, legal history, media studies, oral history, and public history. Our pieces have been republished in a wide array of outlets, including Quartz, n+1, KCET, Nursing Clio, and many others. We hope Tropics of Meta can serve as a sounding board for new ideas and new research, as well as a clearinghouse for innovative projects in digital arts and humanities.
Alex Sayf Cummings is an associate professor of History at Georgia State University. Her work deals with media, law, technology, and the political culture of the modern United States; it has appeared in Salon, the Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of American History, Technology and Culture, the Journal of Urban History, HNN, Pop Matters, OUP Blog, Al Jazeera America and the edited volumes Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Penn) and The Bohemian South (UNC). Alex’s first book, Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013, and a second, Brain Magnet: Research Triangle Park and the Idea of the Idea Economy, was published by Columbia University Press as part of its Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series in Spring 2020. Follow Alex on Twitter at @akbarjenkins.
Ryan Reft (Senior Editor Emeritus, 2009-2016) completed his PhD in Urban History at the University of California at San Diego in June 2014. Prior to his graduate studies, Ryan taught for nine years in the New York public school system. During this period he participated and appeared in the PBS documentary Starting from Behind: The Success Story of Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day H.S. (8/13/2004). His research deals with the history of militarization, war and society, housing, homeownership, metropolitan America, gender/sexuality and the politics of race and class in the twentieth century US. His work has appeared in the The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture, Planning Perspectives, the journal Souls, California History, Journal of Urban History and Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black America’s New Leadership. He writes the Intersections column for SoCal’s KCET. He is the 20th century specialist at the Library of Congress in its Manuscript Division. Any views expressed here are those of Ryan and do not reflect those of the Library. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanreft.
Romeo Guzman is an assistant professor in History at California State University, Fresno. He is an award-winning public historian and the founder and director of Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative: Preserving our Stories, and South El Monte Arts Posse’s East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in South El Monte and El Monte. His research follows Mexican migrant families and Mexican American youth across the U.S.-Mexico border and explores transnational citizenship, agency, and belonging. He has published in the History of the Family, Iconic Mexico, and in popular outlets such as Artbound, KCET Departures, and LetrasLibras. In 2019 he became (along with Carribean Fragoza) co-editor of the academic publication Boom: A Journal of California. He is also a co-editor of edited collection East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte, 1700-2017, which was published by Rutgers University Press as part of its Latinidad series in 2020. Follow him on Twitter at @pochogreatermx.
Joel Suarez is an assistant professor of History in the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies in New York. He received his BA from the University of Texas at Austin, MA from Columbia University, and PhD in History from Princeton University. His research interests include the history of morality, the history of political thought, and cultural and intellectual history. Joel is currently working on a book about work and freedom in the United States since abolition.
Courtney Rawlings is a PhD candidate in Art History at Emory University. Her studies are largely concerned with art, architecture, and design in Europe and America from the interwar to the mid-century. Currently, her research is focused on the rise of public and low-cost housing in the United States, especially in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @__acadame.
Digital Content Coordinator
Will Greer is a PhD student in history at Georgia State University, specializing in memory and modern Europe. He holds a master’s degree in public history, for which he built a digital exhibit for GSU’s Special Collections about the Millard Farmer Papers and the “Dawson Five” trial of 1977. He also holds a Master’s degree in German history from the University of Alabama. Though he is an Atlanta native, Will only recently returned to the city after living in Washington, DC, Alabama, and Florida. Follow him on Twitter at @willvgreer.
Casey Baskin is a writer and feminist scholar based in Batavia, Ohio. She is working on a book about tropes of masculinity and femininity and ideas about the pliability of gender identity in fan fiction and online sex stories since the 1990s.
H. Robert Baker is an associate professor of History at Georgia State University and the author of The Rescue of Joshua Glover: A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War (Ohio University Press, 2007) and Prigg v. Pennsylvania: Slavery, the Supreme Court, and the Ambivalent Constitution (University Press of Kansas, 2012). His current research explores the influence of historical consciousness on constitutional thinking, as well as the nature of constitutional change over time. Follow him on Twitter at @fugitiveprof.
Carribean Fragoza is a writer and artist from South El Monte, CA. She has published fiction and poetry in publications such as Palabra Literary Magazine, Emohippus, BOMB Magazine, and Huizache Magazine. Her arts/culture reviews and essays have been published in online national and international magazines such as Letras Libres, Culture Strike, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a graduate of UCLA and CalArts’ MFA Writing Program. She is founder and co-director of the South El Monte Art Posse (SEMAP), a multi-disciplinary arts collective. Follow her on Twitter at @carrifragoza.
Adam E. Gallagher is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. His writing on U.S. politics, foreign policy, international relations, global elections, books, sports and more has appeared in the Washington Post, The Hill, The National Interest, World Politics Review, the American Prospect, Small Wars Journal, The Diplomat, Huffington Post, The Progressive, International Policy Digest, Capital and Class and for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Urban History Association, among other outlets. As an editor, he has worked on everything from mystery novels to academic journal articles to foreign policy writing. He has a BA in political science and philosophy from Ohio Northern University and a MA in international relations from George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter at @aegallagher10.
Keith Orejel is an assistant professor of History at Wilmington College in Ohio. He received his BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley and PhD in History at Columbia University, where he earned the Bancroft Dissertation Award for his project on the political economy of post-World War II rural America. His research interests include the history of American conservatism, deindustrialization, Republican Party politics, the Civil Rights Movements, and the American South.
Jason Tebbe earned his PhD in History from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has successfully escaped academia and is now a private school teacher in New York City. Jason lives in New Jersey with his family. He is the author of the blog Notes from the Ironbound. Follow him on Twitter at @jason_tebbe.
Stan Thangaraj earned his PhD in socio-cultural Anthropology and is an Assistant Professor at the City College of New York. His passion is for research and activism that looks at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. His book, Desi Hoop Dreams (New York University Press, 2015), looks at the ways that South Asian Americans in Atlanta, mostly Pakistani Muslim Americans, managed their marginalization from the national fabric post-9/11 through the quintessential American sport of basketball. He is now working on two new book projects. One looks at the politics of femininity, Islamophobia, US empire, and the everyday lives of Kurdish refugees in the United States. His second book project interrogates the presence and expansion of civil rights museums as a way to tell us about the confinement and delimiting of the Civil Rights narrative and how cities appropriate that narrative for gentrification. Follow him on Twitter at @mangoilango.
Lauren MacIvor Thompson is a visiting assistant professor at Kennesaw State University, having completed her PhD in History at Georgia State University in 2016. Her dissertation focuses on the influence of eugenics, spiritualism and the law on the Progressive Era women’s movement. Her work has appeared in the University of Virginia’s Essays in History and the Southern Historian. Follow her on Twitter at @lmacthompson1.
Inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and submissions are always welcome.