Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
No matter how much you fight against it, dust pervades everything. It gathers in even layers, adapting to the contours of things and marking the passage of time. In itself, it is also a gathering place, a random community of what has been and what is yet to be, a catalog of traces and a set of promises: dead skin cells and plant pollen, hair and paper fibers, not to mention dust mites who make it their home. And so, dust blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead, plant and animal matter, the inside and the outside, you and the world (“for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”). This book treats one of the most mundane and familiar phenomena, showing how it can provide a key to thinking about existence, community, and justice today.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.