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‘Pacific Standard,’ November/December 2016

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Pacific Standard, November/December 2016. (Photo: Yadid Levy)


The PS Interview: Cinematic Justice
Ava DuVernay took an unconventional road from indie upstart to Hollywood powerhouse—aiming not only to change Hollywood but the culture at large.
By Kathleen Sharp

Sidebar: The Many Milestones of Ava DuVernay
A life in firsts.
By Katie Kilkenny & Kathleen Sharp

Photo Essay: The Buffalo’s Burden
Earlier this year, the bison was named our national mammal, but due to a conflict with Western ranchers, the beasts are anything but wild and free.
By Christopher Ketcham | Photographs by Michelle McCarron

Born Identity
One soldier’s story of transition.
By Deni Ellis Béchard

The Battle for the Great Apes
With several incremental victories behind them, animal-rights advocates are making their biggest push yet: to expand the definition of a person.
By George Johnson


Letter From the Editor: The End of Captivity
By Nicholas Jackson

Seven Things You Would Have Learned If You Read

The Conversation

Since We Last Spoke: Dangerous Waters
By Francie Diep

Since We Last Spoke: Fighting Terrorism
By Elena Gooray

Since We Last Spoke: Killer Mosquitoes
By Madeleine Thomas

The Small Stuff: There’s a Name for That: Proteus Effect
By Peter C. Baker


A version of this story first appeared in the

November/December 2016 issue

of Pacific Standard.

Buy this issue now


The Small Stuff: Quick Study: The Downside of an ADHD Diagnosis
By Tom Jacobs

The Small Stuff: Research Gone Wild: Stem Cell Therapies: Hope or Hype?
By Michael R. Fitzgerald

The Small Stuff: Overheard

The Small Stuff: Quick Study: No Sodas at School? Mom to the Rescue
By Tom Jacobs

Know It All: Disability Heads to the Polls
As tens of millions of people who care about disability issues prepare to vote, and new movements emerge to help get them organized, here are some of their major concerns.
By David M. Perry

Subculture: Street Ambassador
Paul Scott, 49, church minister, Durham, North Carolina
As Told to Elena Gooray

In the Picture: More Cowbell
Athens, Ohio


Sutherland, Chile
Photo by Tomás Munita

Permanent Displacement
By Jacob Kushner

Champasak Province, Laos
Photo by David Guttenfelder

Death From Above
By Matt Skenazy

The Night Minister
By Jeremy Lybarger

San Salvador, El Salvador
Photo by Tomás Munita


Return to Malheur
Months after the Bundy insurrection rocked Harney County, Oregon, a group of local residents is trying to heal the community and overcome the American West’s long history of land-use conflict. Their secret: Bring cowboys and conservationists together.
By Jimmy Tobias

The Ministers of Minimalism
How a small group of optimists is revolutionizing consumer choice.
By James McWilliams

Sidebar: The Things They Kept
While the Minimalists insist that there is “absolutely nothing” they would have any difficulty parting with, other members of the movement to reject consumer culture aren’t as extreme. Here are the five personal items Christopher Wharton wouldn’t go without.

Sidebar: The Power of Possessions
Does being surrounded by stuff make us happy? Here’s what the science says.
By Elena Gooray


Culture Features: The Miseducation of Frank Waln
On and off the reservation, American schools tend to whitewash the stories of Native Americans. Frank Waln, a Lakota hip-hop artist from He Dog, South Dakota, is endeavoring to change that—with music that champions his heritage while demolishing Native American stereotypes.
By Tony Rehagen

Pacific Standard Picks: Loving
By Alissa Wilkinson

Scenes: Mapping People Back Into History
How one organization is using Google Maps to save history in the Middle East.
By Ross Ufberg

Scenes: A High-Concept Architect Takes on Low-Income Housing
In Rancagua, Chile, you’ll find innovative architecture where you least expect it—in low-cost housing.
By David Huber

Guest Programmer: Alexander Chee
As Told to Katie Kilkenny

Shelf Help: Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans
By Peter C. Baker

Book Reviews: Back in the Hole
A new book teaches the alarming lesson that all attempts at reforming solitary confinement have merely enabled the practice to continue.
By Peter C. Baker

Shelf Help: Future Sex
By Peter C. Baker

One Last Thing: Hostile Architecture
By Michael R. Fitzgerald