CSWS Research Matters Fall 2016: Sharon Luk’s “The Life of Paper, a Poetics”

2016, Fall: CSWS Research Matters

“The Life of Paper, a Poetics: Letters and Mass Incarceration in Global California,” by Sharon Luk, Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Department of English

Sharon Luk discusses the content of her book, now under review and scheduled for publication in 2018. This book aims not only to denaturalize the geographic borders, political-economic laws, and civic norms that expose people to state-sanctioned violence but, more critically, to privilege a sense of the activities and worldviews of disenfranchised populations who struggle to transform existing conditions.

From the article:

1016_research-matters_lukWriting and rewriting my book has been a slow burn—as the case may be, too, for those who will kindly read it. On the one hand, to myself and to those who have shared their stories with me (and probably also to others still holding their stories close to themselves), the central argument of my research is obvious, almost too obvious to necessitate book-length explanation: this is, simply, that letters can mean the world to the people attached to them, and distinctively so for communities ripped apart by incarceration. In the first and final instance, this is a formulation of “the life of paper” that you must accept at face value in its plenitude, a plenitude that is all but better represented by understatement rather than long-winded analysis. If one does not accept, chances are that no amount of research could effect otherwise because the problem would not have been a matter of fact, even if it becomes so profoundly one of logic.

For the full article: 2016, Fall: CSWS Research Matters