In her groundbreaking Affective Intellectuals and the Space of Catastrophe in the Americas, Judith Sierra-Rivera studies five different contexts of crisis: natural disasters in Mexico, forced displacements between Central America and the United States, a whitewashed transition to democracy in Chile, colonialism and wars in Puerto Rico, and racism and patriarchy in Cuba. All of these scenarios share the common ground of the neoliberal space of catastrophe, which also generates new groups and forms of resistance. Affective Intellectuals argues that a new kind of intellectual emerges from these contemporary configurations to speak and act guided by the stories and desires of those who have been systematically pushed out of the public sphere: indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, immigrants, LGBTQ sexualities, and inhabitants of poverty.
Pursuing this argument, Sierra-Rivera examines print, radio, and web materials by authors whose emotional discourses have also had a measurable impact on the formation of communities that demand their full political inclusion in society. This book therefore fills a significant gap in the study of the relationship between materiality (space and bodies), emotions, and the political imagination. Affective Intellectuals demonstrates that writers and intellectuals themselves are vital in reshaping their communities and fighting for social justice in the Hemispheric Americas.
Affirmative action programs have significantly changed American medicine for the better, not only in medical school admissions and access to postgraduate training but also in bringing a higher quality of health care to all people. James L. Curtis approaches this important transition from historical, statistical, and personal perspectives. He tells how over the course of his medical education and career as a psychiatrist and professor--often as the first or only African American in his cohort--the status of minorities in the medical professions grew from a tiny percentage to a far more equitable representation of the American population.
Advancing arguments from his earlier book, Blacks, Medical Schools, and Society, Curtis evaluates the outcomes of affirmative action efforts over the past thirty years. He describes formidable barriers to minority access to medical-education opportunities and the resulting problems faced by minority patients in receiving medical treatment. His progress report includes a review of two thousand minority students admitted to U.S. medical schools in 1969, following them through graduation and their careers, comparing them with the careers of two thousand of their nonminority peers. These samples provide an important look at medical schools that, while heralding dramatic progress in physician education and training opportunity, indicates much room for further improvement.
A basic hurdle continues to face African Americans and other minorities who are still confined to segregated neighborhoods and inferior school systems that stifle full scholastic development. Curtis urges us as a nation to develop all our human resources through an expansion of affirmative action programs, thus improving health care for everyone.
James L. Curtis is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Archives and Justice
Verne Harris Society of American Archivists, 2007 Library of Congress CD2451.H36 2007 | Dewey Decimal 027.0968
ARCHIVES AND JUSTICE: A SOUTH AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE is collection of Verne Harris's best writing during the first decade of South Africa's post-apartheid democracy. Harris is the project director of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg. While South Africa is his immediate context, Harris always engages wider geographical and conceptual worlds.
The volume is organized into five sections. "Discourses" illuminates Harris's engagement with writings and discussions related to archives. "Narratives," the second section, "explores the stories that archivists tell in certain domains of professional work-appraisal, electronic recordmaking, and arrangement and description." The third and fourth sections, "Politics and Ethics" and "Pasts and Secrets," recount and reflect on events and issues with which Harris has wrestled as a South African archivist. The op-eds contained in the final section, "Actualities," provide evidence of Harris's "deliberate endeavors to bring awareness of archive to popular debates in South Africa."
Drawing on the energies of Derridean deconstruction, Harris suggests an ethics, and a politics, expressed in the maxim "memory for justice." And he portrays the work of archives as a work of critical importance to the building of democracy.
In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective.
Robert L. Green, a friend and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., served as education director for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference during a crucial period in Civil Rights history, and—as a consultant for many of the nation’s largest school districts—he continues to fight for social justice and educational equity today.
This memoir relates previously untold stories about major Civil Rights campaigns that helped put an end to voting rights violations and Jim Crow education; explains how Green has helped urban school districts improve academic achievement levels; and explains why this history should inform our choices as we attempt to reform and improve American education. Green’s quest began when he helped the Kennedy Administration resolve a catastrophic education-related impasse and has continued through his service as one of the participants at an Obama administration summit on a current academic crisis.
It is commonly said that education is the new Civil Rights battlefield. Green’s memoir, At the Crossroads of Fear and Freedom: The Fight for Social and Educational Justice, helps us understand that educational equity has always been a central objective of the Civil Rights movement.
The story of Ava Helen Pauling—her rich career as an activist first for civil rights and liberties, then against nuclear testing, and finally for peace, feminism, and environmental stewardship—is best told in the context of her enduring partnership with her famous husband, Linus Pauling. In this long-awaited first biography of Ava Helen Pauling, Mina Carson reveals the complex and fascinating history behind one of the great love stories of the twentieth century.
Though she began her public career in the shadow of her spouse, Ava Helen soon found herself tugged between her ardor to support Linus in his career and her desire that he embrace the social and political causes she felt passionate about. She believed it was her destiny to accept duties as a mother and homemaker, but neither of those roles was fully satisfying. Her more complete identity emerged over decades, as she evolved as an influential activist.
Ava Helen Pauling’s story is significant because so many aspects of it were shared with countless American women of her generation and the generations surrounding her. They had new educational opportunities but were expected to conform to the same limited social roles dictated by the gender ideology of the nineteenth century. When second wave feminism erupted in the 1960s, its force did not come solely from the young women rebelling against their elders’ rules and limitations, but also from the frustrated dreams of those elders themselves.
Ava Helen did not experience overt oppression by her husband or community; she even asserted some very non-feminist positions as a young woman. This, combined with a structural lack of opportunity, contributed to the strength and persistence of role expectations in her life. At the same time, she was feisty and willful. Her personality both created her marital loyalty and eventually took her down an openly feminist path.
Ava Helen Pauling: Partner, Activist, Visionary is an important complement to writings about Linus Pauling and a welcome addition to the literature on women’s and family history. It will also appeal to students and scholars of peace and reform movements and the social history of science.
The election of America’s first black president has led many to believe that race is no longer a real obstacle to success and that remaining racial inequality stems largely from the failure of minority groups to take personal responsibility for seeking out opportunities. Often this argument is made in the name of the long tradition of self-reliance and American individualism. In Awakening to Race, Jack Turner upends this view, arguing that it expresses not a deep commitment to the values of individualism, but a narrow understanding of them.
Drawing on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, Turner offers an original reconstruction of democratic individualism in American thought. All these thinkers, he shows, held that personal responsibility entails a refusal to be complicit in injustice and a duty to combat the conditions and structures that support it. At a time when individualism is invoked as a reason for inaction, Turner makes the individualist tradition the basis of a bold and impassioned case for race consciousness—consciousness of the ways that race continues to constrain opportunity in America. Turner’s “new individualism” becomes the grounds for concerted public action against racial injustice.