Wed 3.19.14 | Ethical Truth

Zuidervaart et al., eds., Truth Matters: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics, Religion McGill-Queen's U. Press, 2013




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Compared to objective truth, truth of the subjective kind may appear shaky, unreliable, even arbitrary. But Jay Gupta, drawing from Kierkegaard, contends that subjective truth is key to ethical understanding and action. To illustrate the point, Gupta examines how war and the horrific toll it takes are reported in the media.

Tues 3.18.14 | The Rise and Fall of Regions

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We may take for granted that some regions do well economically -- perhaps it's the pleasant weather that attracts skilled workers to them -- and that others do poorly. But history shows that regions rise and fall.  Economic geographer Michael Storper reflects on the differing fates of regions, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.

Mon 3.17.14 | A People's History of Baseball

Mitchell Nathanson, A People's History of Baseball U. of Illinois Press, 2012

Mitchell Nathanson, The Fall of the 1977 Phillies McFarland, 2008



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Has the game of baseball developed independently of social and political forces and movements in this country? Certainly not, says Mitchell Nathanson. He traces the impact of class-based concerns, racial dynamics, labor struggles, and 1960s protest mobilizations on baseball's origins and development. Nathanson also considers the oft-propagated story of baseball as America. (Encore presentation.)

Wed 3.12.14 | Courts, Fines, Cops

San Francisco Bar Association's free Legal Advice and Referral Clinic






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Shorter hours, higher fines, fines that compound astronomically if you don't pay them quickly -- just part of the picture of a court system that doesn't appear to serve poor people. Criminal defense attorney and activist Sherry Gendelman discusses whether the courts, both civil and criminal, are functioning as a revenue-generating machine -- as a regressive tax, in effect -- rather than a forum for justice.

Tues 3.11.14 | Nonviolence Before Gandhi

Amster & Ndura, eds., Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice Syracuse U. Press, 2013




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We usually associate nonviolent protest with Gandhi and Dr. King; some might go back further, to Tolstoy and Thoreau. According to Micah Alpaugh, the Parisian masses who propelled the French Revolution are also part of that grand and influential tradition. Alpaugh describes as well what popular sovereignty and democracy meant to the French protesters.

Mon 3.10.14 | Piven on Social Movements

Frances Fox Piven, Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven? New Press, 2011






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Are we living through a “movement cycle” – a period where social movements will keep springing up, whether it's Occupy or labor struggles or some form of organizing that we haven't yet anticipated?  That's an argument put forth by Frances Fox Piven. The social movement scholar discusses conditions for the rise of leftwing movements, their relationship to electoral politics, as well as questions of organization and labor.

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