Podcast for Social Research, Episode 61: Narrating Black Life—Joseph Earl Thomas’s “Sink”
In episode 61 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live at BISR Central, BISR faculty Joseph Earl Thomas and Paige Sweet sit down for an intimate conversation about the peculiar and often unsparing perceptions children have of adult worlds and the writerly innovations at play in the endeavor of representing their experience of it. Their wide-ranging talk touches on everything from strategies of self-narration to means of soliciting a reader’s agency, how to tell a life-story out of order, whether animals can understand us, flat versus hyperbolic language (and their differential effects when narrating Black life in particular), comprehending things in bits (as opposed to the epiphanic moment), whether the norms to which adults acquiescence are in fact inevitable, plus an extremely capacious (materially and emotionally) kitchen sink. Before the discussion, Joseph reads an excerpt from his aptly and provocatively titled coming-of-age memoir Sink, a much-lauded and vividly told story of need, desire, imagination, and the manifold objects of adolescent attachment.
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