Tues 6.17.14 | Nurture, Not Nature?

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It's an argument widely accepted within, and forcefully promoted by, feminist and queer circles: Gender and sexuality are socially constructed; they are the product of only socialization and social norms. Julia Serano believes this crucially ignores the role played by biology. She forwards what she calls a holistic model of gender and sexuality. (Encore presentation.)

Mon 6.16.14 | The Radical Philosophy of Alternative Public Education

Ira Rabois' blog

Lehman Alternative Community School





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Critical thinking, democracy, and student-centered learning -- these themes are the basis of alternative education. Ira Rabois reflects on his own experience teaching philosophy and english at a public alternative school in upstate New York, and why developing inner motivation for learning is preferable to relying on grades and external discipline. He also discusses the attacks that all public education, including alternative schooling, face today.  

Wed 6.11.14 | The Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil Penguin Classics

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World Yale U. Press



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As the political theorist Hannah Arendt watched the Nazi official Adolf Eichmann give testimony in front of the District Court of Jerusalem in 1961, she came up with a notion of evil that generated enormous controversy. Peter Burdon shares his understanding of what Arendt mean by "the banality of evil," and discusses the contemporary relevance of Arendt's ideas.

Tues 6.10.14 | Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strike

Denis O'Hearn, Nothing But an Unfinished Song: The Life and Times of Bobby Sands Nation Books, 2005





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He died over three decades ago, but remains a symbol -- albeit a controversial one -- of prison resistance in countries like the U.S. and Turkey where prisoners are held under increasingly harsh circumstances. Sociologist Denis O'Hearn has written extensively about Bobby Sands and the Irish hunger strikers who inspired Nelson Mandela and, in recent years, prisoners in Ohio and California. He discusses their struggle and the politics of prison hunger strikes.

Mon 6.09.14 | Financialization's Reach

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The financial sector of the US economy is incredibly powerful and influential, but its impact on our social and cultural lives is rarely examined or acknowledged. Max Haiven contends that financialization has, in a certain sense, colonized our attitudes, our beliefs, and our sense of the future. Haiven believes we need to chart a very different path forward, both imaginatively and practically.

Wed 6.04.14 | Thomas Piketty on Wealth Inequality

Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century Harvard U. Press, 2014







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It's an unlikely book to take America by storm: a 700-page work of economic history by a French academic. But Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century has proved to be a book for our times, explaining the extreme inequality that characterizes our world, and drawing some bold and empirically backed arguments about the inherent tendencies of the capitalist system. Piketty, in a rare US radio interview, discusses the roots of wealth inequality in the global North and South, war and revolution, and the current economic crisis.

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