Tues 6.24.14 | Reclaiming Communism

Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon Verso, 2012

Jodi Dean's blog





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It's a dead idea, or so we're told, now discarded in the dustbin of history. But political theorist and media scholar Jodi Dean believes communism remains a powerful ideological force; she argues that the left should claim the term without apology. Dean also discusses the successes and limitations of Occupy Wall Street, and advocates revamping the party as an organizational form.

Mon 6.23.14 | US and European Empire

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After World War II, the US pushed the European imperial powers to abandon their colonies; it also adopted an anticolonial stance based on its democratic, anti-imperial values and principles. That's the conventional narrative -- but is it correct? Julian Go confronts the widely propagated notion of American exceptionalism and discusses the postwar rise of US global power. (Encore presentation.)

Wed 6.18.14 | Mapping the Golden State

Richard A. Walker and Suresh K. Lodha, The Atlas of California: Mapping the Challenge of a New Era UC Press, 2013




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What do California's myriad social and environmental issues tell us about capitalism itself? Quite a bit, according to Richard Walker. In a new altlas, the Marxist geographer explores the contours of the Golden State, from the dispossession of the native populations to today's extremes of wealth and poverty. He discusses some of the crucial themes of the book, as well as the limitations of mapping.

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.

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