Megan's Reviews > Women, Culture, and Politics

Women, Culture, and Politics by Angela Y. Davis
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Mar 06, 2009

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bookshelves: activism, short-form-essays-and-stories, gender, non-fiction, politics, race
Read in March, 2009

For anyone wanting an overview of Davis' work, I would recommend the Angela Davis Reader over this collection (and the Reader contains some of the best pieces from here).
Still, it was interesting to read these essays - mostly written in the '80s during Reagan's second term - right after the last eight years of the Bush administration. So many of the issues are the same: increased privatization of public infrastructure (so much of what I grew up to assume were naturally private institutions were once public); blows to workers' rights and to the health and quality of life of the expanding lower classes; a continuously expanding military budget; and the list goes on.
And every time I read political writings from this time, the sense of impending disaster is so clear. And I've begun to recognize in this constant fear of human self-destruction through nuclear weapons the same type of fear that that looms in the back of my mind, dull but always present, about climate change, environmental destruction, and industrial collapse. And in some ways this gives me hope - unexpected (quasi)resolutions do happen, and we move on to solve new problems. But it also makes me wonder about how a sense of dread seems to be such an integral part of human experience today, or at least especially so for those working for social change. How do we reclaim and allow joy to permeate through our thought and work, not simply dread?
Of course, I may be wrong to say this is somehow new in today's world... people of all political persuasions have been predicting the collapse of society and the end of the world since we've been around, it seems. Perhaps the current status of the (faultering?) corporate nation-state has nothing to do with it.
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