Tues 4.01.14 | Global Climate Crisis in the 17th Century

Geoffrey Parker, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century Yale U. Press, 2013






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The effects of climate change are here and serious, as the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has laid out in stark terms. While it may seem like uncharted waters in the modern era, our ancestors in the 1600s faced a global climate crisis in a century wracked by wars, famines, and social unrest. Historian Geoffrey Parker discusses the lessons of the 17th century, where elites -- with the exception of Tokugawa Japan -- responded to the "Little Ice Age" with wars and scapegoating.

Mon 3.31.14 | Linebaugh on Paine

Peter Linebaugh, Stop, Thief! The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance PM Press, 2014

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man and Common Sense (with an introduction by Peter Linebaugh) Verso, 2009


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Peter Linebaugh, best known for tracing the history of the commons and of commoning practices, calls Thomas Paine "a planetary revolutionary.” He has found in Paine's lesser-known works radical critiques of inequality and authoritarianism and even the system of money wages. Many lessons for our time, Linebaugh argues, can be drawn from Paine's writings and his extraordinary life.

Wed 3.26.14 | Shortening the Work Week, Moving Beyond Work

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More than a century ago, the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, called for the four-hour workday.  Should we be considering something similar now? Kathi Weeks explores why radicals should envision a world where work is not central to our existence. She also discusses cutting the work week, without a cut in pay, and a basic guaranteed income.

Tues 3.25.14 | Vietnam, Katrina, and Afro-Asian Relations

Joshi & Desai, eds., Asian Americans in Dixie: Race and Migration in the South U. of Illinois Press, 2013




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Focusing squarely on the Black and Vietnamese American communities in New Orleans, Marguerite Nguyen tells a story of interracial tension and panethnic solidarity in the context of US imperialism, natural and human-made disasters, model-minority rhetoric, and government neglect and abandonment.

Mon 3.24.14 | French Intellectuals and Maoism

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Womens' liberation, immigrants' and prisoners' rights, gay liberation and queer studies -- they're part of the enduring legacy of the 1960s and '70s. And as Richard Wolin argues, they're partially the inheritance of Maoism in France. Wolin explores the rise of Maoism in that country following the upheavals of 1968 and its impact on the thinking of intellectuals like Sartre and Foucault. (Encore presentation.)

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.

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