Welcome to the THE DRIP! The Drip is a podcast where four academics of color (spoilers) sit around and talk about great books. Each episode features a free-flowing discussion about one book that leads us into a broader conversation about race, culture, and politics -- all the things that keep us gabbing when we're hanging out in coffee shops, tea houses, or any where else we happen to find ourselves. If you've ever secretly listened in on an interesting conversation while sipping a latte in your local caffeine spot, then The Drip is for you! (As pictured above from left to right: Crystal Moten, Adriana Estill, Todd Lawrence, and Anita Chikkatur)
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Carleton College, Northfield, MN. I was born in Bangalore, India, where my mom nurtured my and my brother’s love of reading by bringing home books from the library of the elementary school where she taught. When I got older, I read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books along with my brother. I moved to the U.S. with my family when I was 10. The first book I remember falling in love with is S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which my brother was reading for school. Though the story centers on a group of White, working-class boys, I felt like Ponyboy’s take on the world described my experiences as a young Indian immigrant girl so well! And like Todd, I also read lots of age-inappropriate material as a teen (including Sidney Sheldon!) since my parents never censored what I read. I attended public middle and high schools in New York City and identify deeply as a New Yorker. I moved to Minnesota in 2008 to teach at Carleton College. My teaching and research broadly focuses on diversity and difference in educational institutions. My most recent research projects involved collaborating with a high school teacher and Carleton students. I’m currently part of a research team working on developing a participatory action research project at Faribault High School, Faribault, MN.
I teach African-American literature and culture, folklore studies, and American cultural studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. My research and teaching areas include the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, African-American genre fiction, speculative black writing, folklore studies, and ethnographic writing. My book, When They Blew the Levee: Race, Politics and Community in Pinhook, Mo (2018), co-authored with Elaine Lawless, is an ethnographic project done in collaboration with residents of Pinhook, Missouri, an African American town destroyed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the Birds Point-New Madrid levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. I’m currently working on two new projects – one on epistemology and racial passing, and one on black manhood and toxic masculinity. I’ve been reading ever since I first spirited a book-of-the-month-club selection off my mom’s bookshelf as a little kid. Not surprisingly, my first obsessions were Sidney Sheldon, Thomas Tryon, Leon Uris, Robert Ludlum, and Stephen King. Now I love Victor LaValle, Percival Everett, Jesmyn Ward, and Nnedi Okorafor. There are many more authors out there who I love, and I hope we’ll be talking about them all on THE DRIP really soon!
Originally from the south side of Chicago, I now reside in Washington, DC and work for a museum. I get to help the museum think about narratives of African American History, work and social justice. Ever since I can remember I have always loved to read. I consider books to be my best friends and libraries have always been an intellectual refuge for me. My earliest memories of reading begin with Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in my elementary school years. In elementary school, I was also exposed to African American poets such as Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Naomi Long Madgett whose poem, “Midway,” is still a favorite I have mostly memorized. By the time I was in high school, I was reading my grandmother’s copies of most of Terry McMillan’s novels, which I still have. My favorite genre right now is memoir/autobiography. Audre Lorde, Janet Mock, and Patrisse Khan-Cullorrs have written some of my favorite memoirs. (A legal note: everything I say on the podcast is my own personal opinion and are not the views of my employer!)
I teach American Studies and Latinx Studies at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I’m invested in questions of place, embodiment, and belonging, so my teaching ranges from introductions to Latinx literature to classes like “Beauty and Race in America,” “Imagining the Borderlands,” and “Producing Latinidad.” My research focuses increasingly on Latinidad in the televisual; I’m working on a book that situates the telenovela as a genre that, as it crosses borders into U.S. economic and cultural spaces, becomes a racializing genre. Family lore tells me that I could read at age four; many of my pivotal, core memories involve me huddling in a corner, devouring a book while others around me try to get me to talk. I grew up thinking that no one’s experiences matched mine (Mexican mother, U.S.-American father, grew up living in both Richmond, California and Guadalajara, Jalisco), so I still remember the thrill when, in my last trimester of college, I took a Chicana literature class–including the supreme Lorna Dee Cervantes–and felt something in me shift as I absorbed this new language that “fit.” I love our conversations for The Drip; I think we all stretch towards other voices/experiences/languages while also helping each other stretch towards the ones with which we feel more kinship.