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.

Mon 7.18.11| Antiqueer Violence and "Overkill"

According to Eric Stanley, brutal murders of LGBT people, many of which involve the mutilation or dismemberment of the victim's body, are not aberrations and should not be dismissed as the products of individual pathology. Instead, Stanley argues, these forms of violence are central to the reproduction of liberal democracy in the US.

Wed 7.13.11| Early Walter Benjamin

Howard Eiland, ed., Walter Benjamin's Early Writings (1910-1917) Harvard U. Press, 2011




Human consciousness, creativity, development, and organization: So many facets of the human condition interested Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), whose insights into the big questions of modern existence continue to resonate. A new volume of Benjamin's early writings, in which the German philosopher-critic holds forth on topics like education, creativity, history, and the search for truth, is edited by Howard Eiland.

Tues 7.12.11| New Words, Big Ideas

Jonathon Keats, Virtual Words: Language on the Edge of Science and Technology Oxford U. Press, 2010



In the world of science and technology, new words are coined, and some of them stick, and the words themselves lead interesting lives and have surprising effects -- technical, social, even political. In his book Virtual Words Jonathon Keats explores the origins, uses, and impact of terms like microbiome, copyleft, Panglish, and singularity.

Mon 7.11.11| Race and Gender in Hemingway

Does black feminist literary study have any business examining the canonical works of dead white male authors? Ann duCille thinks it does. A short story by Ernest Hemingway, although set in Africa, is dominated by the actions and thoughts of three white characters. DuCille offers a critique of that story, "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber," bringing to the fore considerations of race, gender, and class.

All user-submitted comments owned by the Poster. All other content © Against the Grain, a program of KPFA Radio, 94.1fm Berkeley CA and online at Against the Grain logo designed by Lise Dahms. A.T.G.'s theme music is by Dhamaal.