A very important book for all people-- not just LGBT activists-- to read, giving a brief, critical history of the roots of LGBT oppression, the birthA very important book for all people-- not just LGBT activists-- to read, giving a brief, critical history of the roots of LGBT oppression, the birth of an LGBT identity, a critique of post-modernist de-mobilization which divides rather than unites, and ultimately a history of the triumphs and solidarity which has involved LGBT activism. Many of the issues Sherry brings up I am confronting first-hand in attempting to bring together a viable, grassroots coalition of LGBT activists after the National Equality March. While Sherry makes a few mistakes in her writings, but these are of no consequence to her overarching point. Written in every-day, accessible language (as always with Haymarket publications), Sexuality and Socialism was a pleasure to read, and it's a pleasure to have Sherry Wolf as a comrade. ...more
Too often academics extend recent developments into the realm of history. Furthermore, they confuse what is created with what is inevitable, what is nToo often academics extend recent developments into the realm of history. Furthermore, they confuse what is created with what is inevitable, what is nurtured with what is natural, and they fail to recognize the relationships between these processes, how they impact one another (many of these things shouldn't be thought of as 'opposing,' nature and nurture both affect a person, for instance), and how material forces impact humans. Thankfully, astute scholars such as Leacock exist to point out mistakes, challenge findings, and steer the science of anthropology in a more empirical direction. Leacock lays out many critiques. Ultimately, her aim is to disprove the notion that men have always been and dominance in comparison to women and the many manifestations of this erroneous notion: from the horribly mechanical fields of biopsychology to post-structuralist musings about 'the exchange' of women ala Levi-Strauss. Myths of Male Dominance is full of evidence and analysis to the contrary, featuring Leacock's critiques of others' works, and their responses! I must say that I didn't quite expect the book to be so full of other people's works (instead I expected the book to document various pre-class societies, which it did, extensively in one people's case!) and her criticisms of them, so I had difficulty reading about 1/3 of the book. Nevertheless, the criticism is an important tool, especially for anthropology students (for whom this book was written) so I can't fault her for including it. The thing I appreciated most was her outline of general historical developments, and how they impacted women's status. I was already familiar with the material-historical roots of women's oppression, but only in general, Leacock provides an illuminating amount of detail *and* explanations for societies which kept intact their matrilineal/matriarchal roots, something I'd always wondered about. Because this book is very academically oriented, it isn't very easily to get through (this was my third attempt!). Those who do will be rewarded with a greater understanding of the many ways in which women's oppression, as it related to racism, colonialism and imperialism, manifests itself. Moreover, Leacock's book is written in such a way that individual chapters and even sections of chapters are instructive (for those of you who are interested in a particular subject).
It is sad that Leacock has passed on, I'm sure she'd have a great deal to say about silly "scientific" claims which still stunt the women's movement today. Fortunately, most of what she contented in Myths of Male Dominance can easily be adapted to the laughable claims of evolutionary psychologists...more
Essential reading for any Marxist-Leninist, especially in an era when Lenin is, even by leftists, regarded as a power-hungry evil genius. Given the geEssential reading for any Marxist-Leninist, especially in an era when Lenin is, even by leftists, regarded as a power-hungry evil genius. Given the general consensus about Lenin, I was very surprised (and almost underwhelmed*) that what Lenin advocates in this writing isn't a coup, or terrorism (in fact, he very deftly critiques terrorism) but a centralized newspaper which activists can use to agitate and inform and the creation of a political party composed of particularly talented activists to help lead the struggle. It's important to remember the era in which this work was written-- during extreme political repression. Nevertheless, What is to Be Done is a classic which stands the test of time.
* Not that I actually wanted Lenin to advocate a coup or terrorism, I just thought his conclusion would urge for something bigger and more significant than a newspaper. (It makes sense when you think about it, and perhaps my writing-off of newspapers is the result of my living during a time in which newspapers are going under.)...more