Program Archives

Tues 1.25.11| Cancerous Rhetorics?

Metzl & Kirkland, eds., Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality NYU Press, 2010

S. Lochlann Jain, Injury: The Politics of Product Design and Safety Law in the United States Princeton U. Press, 2006


Clichés about hope and individual responsibility pervade popular-culture narratives about cancer in the US. Lochlann Jain critiques what she calls "the cultural management of cancer terror" and suggests alternative, more politically conscious ways of discussing disease. She also relates prevailing cancer rhetorics to notions of time, progress, and accumulation under capitalism.

Mon 1.24.11| Ecological Failure

Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed Viking Press, 2007



Why do some civilizations endure, while others implode? What role might the environment play in their survival or demise? Jared Diamond argues that much can be learned about our own future by looking at the trajectories of past societies and their relationship with nature. The controversial scholar has been criticized for environmental determinism, but his work is nothing if not thought-provoking.

Wed 1.19.11| Feminisms Apart

Van Dyke & McCammon, eds., Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements U. of Minnesota Press, 2010

Benita Roth, Separate Roads to Feminism Cambridge U. Press, 2003

Richard Lichtman's course at OLLI

US feminists in the 1960s and 70s did not build coalitions across racial and ethnic lines. Was that because women of color were put off by white feminist racism? Benita Roth rejects this argument; she contends that second wave feminists' adoption of a New Left ethos of "organizing one's own" militated against the formation of cross-racial coalitions.

Tues 1.18.11| Whither Egypt?

Mona El-Ghobashy, "The Liquidation of Egypt's Illiberal Experiment" Middle East Report




Protests against austerity and corruption have toppled Tunisia's government, but what about the pivotal country of North Africa, Egypt, the second biggest recipient of US military and economic aid? Political scientist Mona El-Ghabashy discusses Egypt's recent rigged parliamentary elections and considers the forces that may ultimately imperil Egypt's longstanding authoritarian regime, including the strongest labor movement in that country since the 1940s.

Mon 1.17.11| Incarceration As Social Control

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness New Press, 2010



While racial justice advocates focus on affirmative action, millions of African Americans have lost their basic civil rights -- the right to vote, to have access to housing and education -- through the penal system. In a powerful new book, litigator Michelle Alexander argues that the mass incarceration of people of color in this country is a system of social control, similar to Jim Crow segregation, and that a widespread movement is needed to overturn it. (Encore presentation.)

Wed 1.12.11| The Supermax Phenomenon

Keramet Reiter calls supermax prisons "the black hole" in this nation's system of incarceration: So little is known about them, and yet inmates in those facilities endure the most extreme form of punishment short of the death penalty. Reiter has investigated the rise of supermaxes, the conditions and terms of confinement, and the impact of such confinement on prisoners and society.
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