Calls for Contributors

Call for Contributors for September 2017 Issue on “Poverty”

The Activist History Review invites proposals for articles that address the theme of “poverty” to be featured in the September issue.

The Activist History Review invites proposals for articles that address the theme of “poverty” to be featured in the September issue.

U.S. cultural norms have long justified the striking inequities of American capitalism as the result of differing individual work ethics, determination, and chutzpah. When future historians write the history of 2017, we hope that one of its defining characteristics will be a rejection of poverty as normative. Tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy have been the defining feature of the Republican legislative agenda under President Trump. And while voters may flock to embrace what they see as “austerity for others,” blaming poor folk for their plight, the number of people involved means that most of us can only escape the problem for so long. Indeed, this is a key reason why GOP efforts to repeal the ACA have been so difficult. Most Americans realize that repeal would leave them significantly worse off.

income inequality graph
American household income by percentile. Income inequality is a significant problem that can’t be solved by blaming the poor or minority groups. Courtesy Inequality.org.

Today, we see poverty illustrated in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s through the euphemistic “working class” Trump voter, the “undeserving” fast-food worker, the “lazy” SNAP beneficiary, or the “thug.” We’re taught to see poverty as individual, except for the (white) “working class,” and as the result of personal failure.

People Living in Miserable Poverty
Photo captioned “People Living in Miserable Poverty.” White poverty has often been depicted through a uniquely sympathetic lens. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Yet American poverty in the 21st century is entangled with race, class, sex, gender and age. It is at once the Appalachian Trump voter and the families in Flint; the millennial coping with student debt and the retiree with dwindling Social Security benefits. TAHR seeks essays that examine the historical roots of these expressions of poverty.

Human poverty amidst Nature's Wealth
Image of a Puerto Rican man titled “Human Poverty Amid Nature’s Wealth,” meant as a slight on racialized minorities’ work ethic. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Proposals should be no more than 250 words for articles from 1250-2000 words, and should be emailed to William Horne by Friday, August 18th at 11:59 PM. Please also include a short bio of no more than 100 words.

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