So, here's something Stevens wrote: "First, mortals are conscious of being born from another mortal's body. Second, half are conscious that anatomy de...moreSo, here's something Stevens wrote: "First, mortals are conscious of being born from another mortal's body. Second, half are conscious that anatomy denies them the ability to similarly give birth. Envying the ability to reproduce children from their own bodies, men compensate by presiding over entire reproductive units, political societies they create by law. A political society's kinship rules for creating families to repopulate the larger hereditary group derive from men's desire to control by law intergenerational attachments available at birth only to mothers, meaning those who give birth" (3).
I just cannot get with a book that basically begins from some Freudian theory of male death-obsession and then proceeds from there. I'm sure that Stevens has interesting things to say somewhere in this book. But I can't get past the Freudian pseudo-psychological basis and the essentialist claims about male desires that ground this book. It's gross.(less)
This is a fantastic introduction to an important social movement. There are chapters written by many of the famous ecofeminists, like Starhawk. There...moreThis is a fantastic introduction to an important social movement. There are chapters written by many of the famous ecofeminists, like Starhawk. There are also a couple of chapters comparing and contrasting the ecofeminist movement with the deep ecology movement. This book would be fantastically useful for both social movement classes and introduction to feminist studies courses. (less)
Radical Homemakers is an excellent book. In it, the author argues that returning to domesticity can make you happier, is better for the Earth, and can...moreRadical Homemakers is an excellent book. In it, the author argues that returning to domesticity can make you happier, is better for the Earth, and can help extricate you from the exploitative, extractive capitalist economy. She argues for a homegrown, handmade life--the life of a citizen rather than a consumer. After a few chapters in which she explains the reasons people opt out of the extractive economy, there are many chapters in which she presents findings from her interviews of radical homemakers.
In the interview responses, I heard people express the concerns that I have about consumerism and the desires I have about being self-sufficient and living a sustainable life. The ideas here weren't new to me. But it was so fantastic to read about people who have been able to reorder their lives to better reflect the values I hold. It was inspiring for me to read their stories. And it reinvigorated my desire to gain more domestic skills. Such a great book!(less)
None of the information in this book seemed especially surprising. But it's a fantastic resource for reminding myself how I want to conduct myself in...moreNone of the information in this book seemed especially surprising. But it's a fantastic resource for reminding myself how I want to conduct myself in the classroom. It's so easy to get caught up in the material and "getting through everything." This book reminds me to focus on asking questions, cultivating my students' confidence, and communicating high standards and my belief that they can succeed. I'll come back to this book again and again.(less)
I'm not sure what the point of this book was. There are some interviews in which the interviewers seem very preoccupied with the anarchist element of...moreI'm not sure what the point of this book was. There are some interviews in which the interviewers seem very preoccupied with the anarchist element of Occupy. There are two speeches about Howard Zinn. The first is awkward and seems like there are segments of the talk missing. The second is much better.(less)
Gitlin's introduction to Occupy is fantastic in that it captures the hopeful, angry, and yet utopian spirit of Occupy. He offers an unflinching accoun...moreGitlin's introduction to Occupy is fantastic in that it captures the hopeful, angry, and yet utopian spirit of Occupy. He offers an unflinching account of the strengths and challenges that face the movement. A very useful introductory account in that Gitlin compares Occupy to other social movements that readers may be more familiar with and that are more recognizable in their structure and goals. Overall, a very useful book for teachers.(less)
A very well-written first hand account of a journalist's experiences during the Egyptian revolution. Will definitely use this book when I teach social...moreA very well-written first hand account of a journalist's experiences during the Egyptian revolution. Will definitely use this book when I teach social movements in the spring.(less)
I just recently finished reading The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram a while ago. I really took my time with this book. Not only because it was d...moreI just recently finished reading The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram a while ago. I really took my time with this book. Not only because it was dense and complex and full of interesting and varied ideas that made meaningful progress slow, but also because I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wanted to live in its world as long as I could, to envelop myself in it completely.
In The Spell of the Sensuous, Abram brings together his academic knowledge of continental philosophy (and more specifically, phenomenology), insights derived from his familiarity with oral, indigenous cultures, and descriptions of his own personal, spiritual connection with the Earth. He claims that we have become disconnected from the Earth. We have come to view ourself as the only significant agents in the world, whose actions take place upon a stage of the inanimate world we inhabit. He argues that this way of viewing the world as a static place that only has meaning insofar as it provides the context over (not truly in) which our actions can take place inhibits our ability to understand our world and our place in it. Part of this he attributes to the decline of oral cultures and the rise of alphabetic writing. Part of this he attributes to the fact that we spend most of our lives in thoroughly human-designed and human-referencing places. We no longer experience the Earth as she naturally exists without our coercion and direction. And all of this, he argues, contributes to our willingness to degrade the Earth and kill off any of the other non-human life forms that get in the way of our destructive and misguided human goals.
The book is beautifully written. It is a triumph. He makes even Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty seem clear and accessible. Anyone whose read those philosophers will know what an achievement that is! Abrams book was not only clearly written, but also deeply inspiring. I loved it. And I mean that I loved it in the Simon May sense of the word love: it made me feel at home in the world.
One of my favorite passages was this: “Ecologically considered, it is not primarily our verbal statements that are “true” or “false,” but rather the kind of relations that we sustain with the rest of nature. A human community that lives in a mutually beneficial relation with the surrounding earth is a community, we might say, that lives in truth. The ways of speaking common to that community—the claims and beliefs that enable such reciprocity to perpetuate itself—are, in this important sense, true. They are in accord with a right relation between these people and their world. Statements and beliefs, meanwhile, that foster violence toward the land, ways of speaking that enable the impairment or ruination of the surrounding field of beings, can be described as false ways of speaking—ways that encourage an unsustainable relation with the encompassing earth. A civilization that relentlessly destroys the living land it inhabits is not well acquainted with truth, regardless of how many supported facts it has amassed regarding the calculable properties of its world.”
I think everyone should read this book. But I think it is especially enjoyable and meaningful, probably, for Pagans of the pantheist, animist, and naturalist persuasion.(less)
Written for elementary school teachers. It would be very useful, I'd imagine, for getting elementary school teachers to think about Foucault's ideas w...moreWritten for elementary school teachers. It would be very useful, I'd imagine, for getting elementary school teachers to think about Foucault's ideas without necessarily having read him. Perhaps it would stimulate some interest. If you've read a lot of Foucault and have a pretty good working-knowledge of his concepts and theories, this probably won't be very enlightening for you. It's pretty much a summary of Foucault's main points about education, extracted from his larger body of work.(less)