Mon 6.30.14 | Torture, Ethically Speaking

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Is torture ever morally permissible? For what purposes does the US government practice torture? And what should we make of the oft-repeated ticking time bomb scenario? Rebecca Gordon contends that examining torture through the lens of virtue ethics helps us understand what torture does in relation to its targets, its practitioners, and society at large.

Wed 6.25.14 | Africa's Land Rush

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In Africa, corporations and nation-states are acquiring vast amounts of land, in a move reminiscent of classical imperialism. Sociologist Fouad Makki discusses the enclosure, or privatization, of land in countries like Ethiopia, with terrible social and ecological consequences. He traces the land rush to the global financial crisis, rising food prices, and the inner dynamics of capitalism itself.

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.)

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