Erica Rand, Professor of Art and Visual Culture, Bates College
In The Small Book of Hip Checks Erica Rand uses multiple meanings of hip check—including an athlete using their hip to throw an opponent off-balance and the inspection of racialized gender—to consider the workings of queer gender, race, and writing. Explicitly attending to processes of writing and revising, Rand pursues interruption, rethinking, and redirection to challenge standard methods of argumentation and traditional markers of heft and fluff. She writes about topics including a trans shout-out in a Super Bowl ad, the heyday of lavender dildos, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, the criticism received by figure skater Debi Thomas and tennis great Serena Williams for competing in bodysuits while Black, and the gendering involved in identifying the remains of people who die trying to cross into the United States south of Tucson, Arizona. Along the way, Rand encourages making muscle memory of experimentation and developing an openness to being conceptually knocked sideways. In other words, to be hip-checked.