about ToM

Tropics of Meta aims to offer a fresh perspective on history, current events, popular culture, and issues in the academic world. Founded in 2010, ToM has published over 700 essays by historians, social scientists, artists, filmmakers, and creative writers both within and outside the academy, giving voice to communities across the United States and the world.  

Unlike many academic blogs, we do not focus on a particular subdiscipline or regional or thematic specialization. Rather, our platform is open to a broad and inclusive discussion of issues ranging from cities to technology, from music, food, and film to gender, race, and sexuality. We are particularly interested in urban history, legal history, media studies, oral history, and public history. Our pieces have been republished in a wide array of outlets, including Quartz, n+1, KCET, Nursing Clio, and many others.  We hope Tropics of Meta can serve as a sounding board for new ideas and new research, as well as a clearinghouse for innovative projects in digital arts and humanities.

Senior Editors

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Alex Sayf Cummings is an associate professor of History at Georgia State University.  His work deals with media, law, and the political culture of the modern United States.  He has previously received a Consortium for Faculty Diversity fellowship, an ACLS-Mellon postdoctoral fellowship, and the American Baptist Historical Society’s Torbet Prize, among other awards. His work has appeared in Salon, the Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of American HistoryTechnology and Culture, HNN, Pop Matters, OUP Blog, Al Jazeera America and the edited volume Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction from the University of Pennsylvania Press. His first book, Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.


34343_718831643462_7476796_nRyan Reft (Senior Editor Emeritus, 2009-2016) completed his PhD in Urban History at the University of California at San Diego in June 2014.  Prior to his graduate studies, Ryan taught for nine years in the New York public school system. During this period he participated and appeared in the PBS documentary Starting from Behind: The Success Story of Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day H.S. (8/13/2004). His research deals with the history of militarization, war and society, housing, homeownership, metropolitan America, gender/sexuality and the politics of race and class in the twentieth century US.  His work has appeared in the The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture, Planning Perspectives, the journal Souls, California History, Journal of Urban History and Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black America’s New Leadership. He writes the Intersections column for SoCal’s KCET.  He is the 20th century specialist at the Library of Congress in its Manuscript Division. Any views expressed here are those of Ryan and do not reflect those of the Library.


Associate Editors

GuzmanRomeo Guzman is an assistant professor in History at California State University, Fresno. He is an award-winning public historian and the founder and director of Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative: Preserving our Stories, and South El Monte Arts Posse’s East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in South El Monte and El Monte. His research follows Mexican migrant families and Mexican American youth across the U.S.-Mexico border and explores transnational citizenship, agency, and belonging. He has published in the History of the Family, Iconic Mexico, Boom: A Journal of California and in popular outlets such as Artbound,KCET Departures, and LetrasLibras. He is currently working on the edited collection East of East: A New Suburban History with Carribean Fragoza, Ryan Reft, and Alex Cummings.

Joel Suarez is a doctoral candidate in History at Princeton University. He received his BA from the University of Texas at Austin and his MA from Columbia University.  His research interests include the history of morality, the history of political thought, and cultural and intellectual history.

Digital Content Coordinator

William Greer is a Master’s student in public history at Georgia State University. He is currently building a digital exhibit for GSU’s Special Collections about the Millard Farmer Papers and the “Dawson Five” trial of 1977. He also volunteers for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic site, where he has added new research to the interpretive guide for Historic Fire Station Number Six, and developed a facilitated dialogue for Ebenezer Baptist Church. He also holds a Master’s degree in German history from the University of Alabama. Though he is an Atlanta native, Will only recently returned to the city after living in Washington, DC, Alabama, and Florida.

Senior Writers

Adam E. Gallagher is an independent media analyst and writer focusing on U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He has an MA in International Relations from George Mason University and a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Ohio Northern University. His research interests largely focus on critical approaches to the study of international relations, U.S. foreign policy, social movements, nonviolent civil resistance, and philosophy in literature. His work has appeared in Capital & Class and Speckled Axe, among other publications, and he has written and spoken on Middle Eastern affairs for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Jerusalem Fund’s Palestine Center respectively. He can be followed on Twitter.

Cherie Braden is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received her B.A. in Philosophy and English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She sometimes teaches logic at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her interests include epistemology, logic, chess, mechanical puzzles and puzzle-solving in general, cycling, choral singing, and experimental explanatory poetry. Cherie has a website.

Clement Lime is ToM’s senior political correspondent. A writer based in Cincinnati, he once spent time in an elite graduate history program with aspirations of becoming an academic, but doesn’t want to talk about it.

H. Robert Baker is an associate professor of History at Georgia State University and the author of The Rescue of Joshua Glover: A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War (Ohio University Press, 2007) and Prigg v. Pennsylvania: Slavery, the Supreme Court, and the Ambivalent Constitution (University Press of Kansas, 2012).  His current research explores the influence of historical consciousness on constitutional thinking, as well as the nature of constitutional change over time.

Keith Orejel is a postdoctoral fellow in History at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He received his BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley and PhD in History at Columbia University, where he earned the Bancroft Dissertation Award for his project on the political economy of post-World War II rural America. His research interests include the history of American conservatism, deindustrialization, Republican Party politics, the Civil Rights Movements, and the American South. His article “Violence in Behalf of Civil Rights: The Federal Government’s Response to the Murder of Medgar Evers,” is forthcoming from Southern Quarterly. 

Lauren MacIvor Thompson is a visiting assistant professor at Kennesaw State University, having completed her PhD in History at Georgia State University in 2016. Her dissertation focuses on the influence of eugenics, spiritualism and the law on the Progressive Era women’s movement. Her work has appeared in the University of Virginia’s Essays in History and the Southern Historian.

Amy Heishman is an adjunct professor at Durham Technical Community College and a writing coach with the Emily Krzyzewski Center.  She received her BA in American Literature and History from Belmont Abbey College and MA in Contemporary American Literature from NC State University.  She is a contributing editor for the Triangle Free Press (Durham, NC) and freelances for several local publications.  Her research interests include digital media, subversive art, alternative histories, responsible agriculture, sustainable lifestyles and gender politics.  She spends most her time immersed in culture studies in hopes of one day subverting her own third world country.

Contributing Writers

Kevin BakerH. Robert BakerYesenia Barragan, Casey BaskinMark BrayMoses Casual, Wendy ChengMindy CleggBen Coates, Maryann Dabkowski, Andrew David EdwardsCarribean Fragoza, Eric Frith, Adam Goodman, Larry GrubbsRomeo GuzmanNathan Hartle, Bradlee Hicks, Brian Ingrassia, Jimmy Jenkins, Maria JohnNick Juravich, Mookie Kideckel, Michelle Lacoss, Jeffrey LawrenceClement Lime, Will Moore, Nina Morrison, Kenneth MaffittAdam David Morton, Jennifer RenteriaJason Resnikoff, Mark SholdiceJohn Southard, Lela UrquhartVickie Vértiz, David A. Walsh, Jerry WatkinsJude Webre, Amanda Wood

Inquiries should be directed to tropicsofmeta@gmail.com, and submissions are always welcome.

6 thoughts

  1. Hellow “Tropics of Meta”
    Just wondering if you give attribution anywhere for where the name “Tropics of Meta” comes from?
    I’m thinking of Hayden White…his great “Metahistory” followed by his “Tropics of Discourse”?
    I love how you put them together, very poetic, tropological move toward historical justice!

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