Alisse Waterston and Charlotte Corden, "Light in Dark Times: The Human Search for Meaning" (U Toronto Press, 2020)


Today I spoke to anthropologist Alisse Waterston and artist Charlotte Corden to ask them questions, such as: What will become of us in these trying times? How will we pass the time that we have on earth? These questions draw on their gorgeously rendered graphic form book, Light in Dark Times: The Human Search for Meaning (University of Toronto Press, 2020), which invites readers to explore the political catastrophes and moral disasters of the past and present, to reveal issues that beg to be studied, understood, confronted, and resisted.

A profound work of anthropology and art, this book is for anyone yearning to understand the darkness and hoping to hold onto the light. It is a powerful story of encounters with writers, philosophers, activists, and anthropologists whose words are as meaningful today as they were during the times in which they were written. This book is at once a lament over the darkness of our times, an affirmation of the value of knowledge and introspection, and a consideration of truth, lies, and the dangers of the trivial. In a time when many of us struggle with the feeling that we cannot do enough to change the course of the future, this book is a call to action, asking us to envision and create an alternative world from the one in which we now live.

Light in Dark Times is beautiful to look at and to hold – an exquisite work of art that is lively, informative, enlightening, deeply moving, and inspiring.

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Suvi Rautio

Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.

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