In solidarity

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This edition of Next Page is a departure from our usual question and answer format with a featured campus reader.  Instead, we asked speakers who participated in the College’s recent Student Solidarity Rally (March 1, 2017) to recommend readings that might further our understanding of the topics on which they spoke.

Climate Change and the EPA

Student Solidarity Rally
Salma Monani, Environmental Studies
  • How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew J. Hoffman
    The author examines what causes people to accept or reject the scientific consensus on climate change drawing from the fields of sociology, psychology, and political science.
  • Chasing Ice by Jeff Orlowski
    Global warming and the effects of climate change are at the center of James Balog’s documentary film about the receding Solheim glacier in Iceland. In order to gather source material for this film he placed multiple cameras on the glacier and set them to take one photograph every hour for three years.
Sarah Principato, Environmental Studies
  • A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack
    This is the story of global warming told through the lens of shrinking mountain glaciers.  The author looks at the calamitous effect on agriculture and suggests what might occur when we lose our permafrost and Arctic sea ice.
  • The Madhouse Effect by Michael Mann and Tom Toles
    The subtitle of this book summarizes it well, “How climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy.” The book is informative and entertaining at the same time. You have likely heard of both authors. Michael Mann is a famous scientist—a professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State;  Tom Toles is the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist from the Washington Post. It is a quick and compelling read, and easy for non-scientists to comprehend.

Changes in the Department of Education

David Powell, Education
  • The Teacher Wars:  A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein
    A great book that covers at least some of the ground I tried to traverse in our session is Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars. She doesn’t discuss all the policy issues I tried to talk about but she does do a really nice job of contextualizing the war on teachers and providing thoughtful solutions to the problems we face in public education.  Also, I write a regular blog for Education Week that addresses many of the issues I discussed at the teach-in. I would love for more folks around here to read it! We now have institutional access to EdWeek thanks to the library, so this makes reading it even better. One of the last posts I wrote specifically addressed the experience of participating in the teach-in and shared my advice for moving forward.
Brent Talbot, Sunderman Conservatory of Music
  • “Critically Assessing Forms of Resistance in Music Education” by Brent C. Talbot & Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams
    This book chapter draws upon critical pedagogy (as described by Freire, Giroux, and Hooks) for the expressed purpose of cultivating a climate for conscientization.  Paulo Freire described conscientization as “learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality.” Consciousness-raising is a journey we pursue with our students, together interrogating injustices in our communities and the world in order to transform the conditions that inform them. Learning to perceive the social, political, and economic contradictions in our worlds often leads to multiple forms of resistance in and out of the classroom. In this chapter, we explore what forms of assessment might look like in classrooms that use critical pedagogy and embrace resistance to foster conscientization.  Anyone interested in a copy of our manuscript may contact us.

Congressional Politics and Economics

Charles Weise, Economics
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein
    This book is a history of Richard Nixon’s rise to power in the 1960’s to his fall in 1974.  It argues that Nixon succeeded by creating the myth that there are two types of Americans: law-abiding, God-fearing, patriotic Americans on the one hand, and liberal, lawless, secular, blame-America-first people on the other.  Nixon’s themes defined the partisan divide ever since, through Reagan and the Moral Majority, the “culture wars” of the 1990’s, all the way to Donald Trump’s angry campaign against globalists and liberal elites.
Bruce Larson, Political Science and Public Policy
  • Congress and Policy Making in the 21st Century by Jeffrey A. Jenkins and Eric M. Patashnik
    The U.S. Congress is our national lawmaking institution. But as an institution developed in the late 18th century, it is far from clear that it has the capacity to deal effectively with complex policy challenges confronting the nation in the 21st century. This edited volume provides chapters on a range of important policy issues—including immigration, health care, and income inequality—that illuminate the difficulties Congress has in formulating fair and effective policy responses to complex problems. Importantly, a few of the chapters highlight recent congressional policy successes, which tend to get noticed less by those who observe Congress.  All in all, the book will leave you with two things: a better understanding of Congress’s policymaking capacities and more anxiety than optimism about our government’s ability to solve difficult pressing policy problems.


Law and Order Administration and the Movement for Black Lives

Scott Hancock, History and Africana Studies
  • 13th directed by Ava DuVernay
    I’d recommend the documentary 13th.  It constructs an argument that 20th and 21st century emphasis on ‘law and order’ have combined politics and business to produce a system of punishment for profit, which has unsurprisingly targeted the most vulnerable people in society.
McKinley Melton, English
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
    Alexander offers a thoughtful and thorough analysis of the relationship between race-based policing, generations of narratives of criminal black bodies, and the modern day criminal justice system.  I would also recommend that people check out the 2016 Netflix documentary, 13th, which offers an engaging presentation on the relationship between America’s history of slavery and the criminal justice system, pivoting around the 13th Amendment’s clause that slavery and involuntary servitude shall not exist in this country, “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”  When we have discussions about “law and order” in this country, these are the narratives, and policies, and histories, that are always a part of the conversation.


Standing Rock is Still Happening

David Walsh, Religious Studies
  • Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria Jr.
    I would recommend a book by Vine Deloria Jr., a Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. He is one of the most influential Native American scholars, writing on subjects ranging from tribal sovereignty to traditional religion. His book Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto speaks to many of the issues raised by the Standing Rock #NoDAPL movement and is a must read for anyone interested in an indigenous perspective on what has led to this current moment in history.

Title IX Imperiled

Jennifer McCary, Associate Dean for Violence Prevention & Resolution, Title IX Coordinator and Director of the Women’s Center
Kristina G. Chamberlin ’17, co-president of Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA)

The current state of our society feels grim and foreboding for targets and survivors of sexually- and relationship-based violence and harassment. Sexual assault is still a pervasive problem on college campuses; according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, on average, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college. As we said in our remarks, more than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do no report the assault.

Likewise, very little attention is being dedicated to issues of intersectionality; today, little is addressed regarding those with disabilities, those who are LGBTQ, or those of various races and ethnic backgrounds. Sadly, the political climate does not seem to support potential and current victims of sexual violence and harassment.

Instead, our society appears to promote complacency and tolerance for sexually based offenses. For example, Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University, served just 3 months in prison for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Casey Affleck, a man accused of sexual harassment by numerous women, was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor.  Donald Trump claimed you can just grab women “by the pussy” and has been accused by numerous victims of sexual assault. He has been elected to the highest position in our country. These are just a few examples highlighting the pervasive and damaging nature of rape culture in America.

In addition to these links in the text above, here are articles we would suggest to become more informed on this topic:

Here are the actual letters that these articles referenced:

  • Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students written by Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education and Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Dear Colleague Letter by Sandra Battle, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education and E.E. Wheeler, II, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice

The National Sexual Violence Research Center is a good place to find statistics on this topic.

Here is link to the video we shared on the meaning of consent: Consent, It’s as Simple as Tea and SASA’s Call to Action Against Sexual Violence.


Teach-in General Themes

Student Solidarity Organizing Committee
  • From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
    Taylor describes the contemporary Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) as a creative retaliation to state-sanctioned violence as well as the misleadership of the Congressional Black Caucus. The book’s analysis follows from rapper Tef Poe’s claim that “This ain’t your grandparents’ civil rights movement.” Taylor lays out the differences between the Civil Rights Movement and today’s protests.  This book is great for anyone who wants to understand BlackLivesMatter and contemporary protest culture and its relationship with party politics.
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky
    The authors put forward the propaganda model of communication.  In short, media networks of the United States “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion.” Despite being nearly 30 years old, the propaganda model of communication is an effective lens through which to study the media in this era of fake news.
  • Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith
    Smith’s book demonstrates how White European settler colonialism brutalized Indigenous communities in the past and present, focusing on sexual violence as an imperial tool. It is useful in helping understand the ongoing struggle at Standing Rock.

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