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In-Store Reading: Karen Eva Carr
Annie Bloom's welcomes Portland author Karen Eva Carr for a reading from her new book, Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming.
This in-store reading is first come, first served. Please be mindful of any store health policies that might be in effect on the night of the reading.
Signed and personalized copies are available for pre-order! Please, please, please include the name for personalization in the order notes; all orders without a name specified in the order notes will be signed only.
About Shifting Currents:
A deep dive into the history of aquatics that exposes centuries-old tensions of race, gender, and power at the root of many contemporary swimming controversies. Shifting Currents is an original and comprehensive history of swimming. It examines the tension that arose when non-swimming northerners met African and Southeast Asian swimmers. Using archaeological, textual, and art-historical sources, Karen Eva Carr shows how the water simultaneously attracted and repelled these northerners—swimming seemed uncanny, related to witchcraft and sin. Europeans used Africans’ and Native Americans’ swimming skills to justify enslaving them, but northerners also wanted to claim water’s power for themselves. They imagined that swimming would bring them health and demonstrate their scientific modernity. As Carr reveals, this unresolved tension still sexualizes women’s swimming and marginalizes Black and Indigenous swimmers today. Thus, the history of swimming offers a new lens through which to gain a clearer view of race, gender, and power on a centuries-long scale.
Karen Eva Carr is associate professor emerita in the Department of History at Portland State University. Her books include Vandals to Visigoths: Rural Settlement Patterns in Early Medieval Spain.