Mon 8.01.11| Murdoch and the British State

Iain Boal






While revelations about the unsavory methods of Rupert Murdoch's media empire fill the newspapers, his role in supporting the neoliberal transformation of the UK -- first under Margaret Thatcher, then Labour's Tony Blair, and now under David Cameron -- is perhaps more scandalous. Social historian Iain Boal discusses media, labor, and austerity in Britain, as well as the gutting of higher education.

Wed 7.27.11| Snapshot of America

Homelessness, domestic violence, Superfund sites, unemployment, and poverty -- while they afflict all states in the US, they don't do so equally. Scholars Cynthia Enloe and Joni Seager have mapped the geographic and racial and gender divisions that fragment the generalities made about American life in the headlines. While some results are easy to predict, others are quite surprising.

Tues 7.26.11| Academic Labor & Higher Ed in Crisis

William Deresiewicz at The Nation

William Deresiewicz, A Jane Austen Education Penguin, 2011




"A self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class." In the eyes of Bill Deresiewicz, that describes not just the US economy as a whole but also the troubled landscape of higher education. Deresiewicz discusses the plight of academic labor and other trends within the academy. He also evaluates calls for the abolition of tenure and for technology-based and market-driven reforms.

Mon 7.25.11| Acts of Solidarity

Lisa Dodson, The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy New Press, 2011

Maureen Murphy, "Criminalizing Palestinian Solidarity" Al Jazeera 

Giving free medical treatment to those without insurance, or covering for a coworker against the rules so she can care for a sick child. According to sociologist Lisa Dodson, these are just a few examples of acts of solidarity and mutual aid that Americans frequently provide each other, often in violation of the law.  Attorney Michael Deutsch talks about another form of solidarity, highlighted by the case of 23 Palestine and Colombia solidarity activists subpoenaed to testify in front of a Chicago grand jury.

Wed 7.20.11| US Freethinkers; Blacks in California

Susan Jacoby, Freethinkers: A History of American SecularismMetropolitan, 2005

Susan Jacoby's blog The Spirited Atheist

Aparajita Nanda, ed., Black California: A Literary Anthology Heyday/Santa Clara U., 2011

Freethinkers have worked tirelessly to keep government out of religion and religion out of government. While many conservatives have denied or played down this nation's secularist tradition, in which people like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll have played prominent roles, Susan Jacoby is working hard to revive it. And Aparajita Nanda has edited a new anthology about the experience of Blacks in, and in relation to, California.

Tues 7.19.11| The 75th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution

Few attempts at radical social transformation are as inspiring as the Spanish Revolution, which was launched in response to a fascist coup in 1936. Yet it fell apart tragically. Anarchist writer Stuart Christie, who was imprisoned for attempting to assassinate the dictator Francisco Franco, discusses the social forces at play in the Spanish Revolution, its disintegration, and anarchist resistance to Franco in its aftermath.

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