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Globalism’s ascendance was supposed to send tribalism the way of the dodo. Yet from Waziristan to Williamsburg, tribal affiliations still dictate social order. There may now be more societal fluidity, but finding one’s tribe within nomadic urban cultures has never felt more urgent. And the tales told within ancient or temporary tribes shape and define these societal organizations. In this issue we turn to our favorite storytellers and poets, hoping to arrest time long enough for them to show us what life is like in our contemporary tribes. There are Julia Elliott’s cavemen and cavewomen wannabes in her story “Caveman Diet” and Alice Sola Kim’s teenage Korean American adoptees trying to find their place in the suburban jungles of “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying.” Roxane Gay looks at the complicated way her Haitian American family handles the consumption of food from both countries. We asked five very different writers—Stacey D’Erasmo, Tayari Jones, David Shields, Zak Smith, and Molly Ringwald—to give us short takes on moments of belonging (or not). The poets, including Tony Hoagland, Cate Marvin, and Eavan Boland, naturally cut to the emotional core of what it means to claim or to be claimed by a tightly bound group.Whatever your other tribes, because you have read these words, we now consider you part of the Tin House tribe. No initiation rituals or signifying tattoos necessary, just please enjoy the issue.
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