Denise Milstein Series Ed., with contributions by Alejandra Cueto Piazza, Dante Barber, Kea V. Saper, Sam Donahue, and Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya
New York, NY, INCITE Press, 2019
Pages: 62 plus many loose inserts
Dimensions: 6.5 in X 9 in
Binding: staplebound (double binding) with many printed inserts in inside front and back cover pockets
Color: Color cover with black insides
Edition size: 500
We had the pleasure of meeting Dispatches from the Field series editor Denise Milstein at the NY Art Book Fair, which is where we first learned of this fascinating publishing project. It functions as both a serious contribution to sociology, as well as a compelling artist book-like publication with an unusual and poetic structure. We're always eager to learn about new approaches to publishing that aren't easy to categorize or pigeonhole, and it's a pleasure to distribute some copies of this journal.
From the publisher's website:
Dispatches from the Field is a collaborative project that involves sociology MA students at Columbia University in reading, writing, and editing primary source material to produce a series of chapbooks designed to engage readers directly with qualitative research data. The publication itself challenges traditional journal formats, opening the way for non-linear approaches to reading and interpreting. Much as ethnographers encounter their data, Dispatches, encourages readers to make their own paths through the publication, critically piecing together disparate voices.
This year’s edition includes a series of reflections that refer to the American Dream, or rather, a set of differing American Dreams and their elusive promises. In one interview, a retired textile worker reminisces about community life during the heyday of the former company town in which she has lived for six decades. A college student who works full-time as a waitress draws a tongue-in-cheek version of her American dream, which includes unlimited access to perfect avocados. An immigrant street vendor describes the joy of working independently. In a piece that interweaves interviews and poems, a young African-American man recently released from prison reflects on racism and the criminal justice system.