Tuesday, September 13, 2022

ENG 101/102 Resources: September 13, 2022

Biagetti, Samuel. "China, pt. 2 -- Water and Music: Early Chinese Philosophy." Historiansplaining (August 30, 2022) ["We consider how the crisis of legitimacy and breakdown of order following the downfall of the Zhou dynasty spurred on a flowering of philosophy, as various scholars and sages sought new principles to guide life and achieve harmony, giving rise to the enduring teachings of Taoism and Confucianism, as well as other long-forgotten sects ranging from draconian legalists to humanitarian pacifists."]

Biltsted, Tauno. "Black Sheep of all Classes: Fifty Years of Consensus Politics in Christiania."  The Institute for Anarchist Studies (August 4, 2022) ["Anyone who has been involved in a group project that strives for consensus knows that working shit out together is hard. It’s challenging to collectively do the work of assessing options, making decisions, and executing plans that sometimes carry real individual and collective risks, even when members of a group are aligned through culture, ideology, issue, place, or common interests. And it sometimes feels impossible when there are cleavages along lines of race, gender, class, experiences of trauma, generational differences, and other differences within a group. And where even one person has shifting moods and states of mind, any group of people contains a confounding palette of shifting unconscious drives, implicit biases, and personal idiosyncrasies that can harden into a clash of personalities or factionalism that has sunk many a revolutionary project, cooperative, band, collective, or community gardening group. The Freetown of Christiania, in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been practicing a form of medium-scale consensus democracy for half a century. This look at Christiania’s system of direct democracy is written with the hope that considering some of the social and political qualities that contribute to the durability of Christiania’s sustained experiment in direct democracy might be useful to other groups and places practicing their own forms of horizontal self-governance."]

Carlsson, Chris. "Who’s Processing Whom? Digital Commons, Digital Blinders, and a Fraught Social Future." The Institute for Anarchist Studies (August 16, 2022) ["By the mid-1990s, a so-called New Economy based on the Internet was becoming visible. A Gold Rush mentality quickly took over with a frenzy of frothing investments in vaporware and cyber-fantasies of all sorts. A few got very, very rich before the storied bust of 2001. Public policy further exacerbated the concentration of wealth and the rise of dire poverty. The “miracle” of computer riches hovered over the Bay Area, even while the vast majority of the population struggled on in the same jobs with the same wages, if they had work at all. But the inflation of housing costs thanks to the tidal wave of new wealth that poured into real estate radically disrupted the daily lives of millions. During the early years of the century, few of us knew that a whole new model of wealth accumulation was being developed behind the shiny noise of the New Economy. Surveillance capitalism was born in the advertising trenches, primarily at Google, but was soon expanded upon by the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and other behemoths. As Shoshana Zuboff aptly analyzes it in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, the tech giants had turned our everyday lives into the objectified raw material from which it extracted the data that it sold to advertisers. As she notes, “[Google] thus created out of thin air and at zero marginal cost an asset class of vital raw materials derived from users’ nonmarket online behavior.” To a real extent, this represented a peculiar new form of capitalist enclosure, but this time, rather than being focused on land, it was ingeniously applied to everything we do."]

Ehrenreich, Barbara. "RIP Barbara Ehrenreich: Exposed Inequality in “Nickel and Dimed,” Opposed Health-Industrial Complex." Democracy Now (September 5, 2022) ["We remember the author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich, who has died at the age of 81 after a career exposing inequality and the struggles of regular people in the United States. In a brief interview, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González recalls working with Ehrenreich as part of the Young Lords and says she was instrumental for the movement against the American health-industrial complex. “She’s really one of the towering figures of the radical and progressive movement in America, and it’s a tremendous loss, not only to her family but to all who knew her and benefited from her work,” he says. We also air part of a 2011 interview with Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! upon the re-release of her landmark book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. “Jobs that don’t pay enough to live on do not cure poverty. They condemn you, in fact, to a life of low-wage labor and extreme insecurity,” she said." Ehrenreich is also the author of Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream ]

Enns, Peter. The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs. Harper Collins, 2016. ["The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy. With compelling and often humorous stories from his own life, Bible scholar Peter Enns offers a fresh look at how Christian life truly works, answering questions that cannot be addressed by the idealized traditional doctrine of “once for all delivered to the saints.” Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide. Combining Enns’ reflections of his own spiritual journey with an examination of Scripture, The Sin of Certainty models an acceptance of mystery and paradox that all believers can follow and why God prefers this path because it is only this way by which we can become mature disciples who truly trust God. It gives Christians who have known only the demand for certainty permission to view faith on their own flawed, uncertain, yet heartfelt, terms."]

Gershman, Samuel J. "On Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." Writ Large (September 8, 2002) ["In 1962, American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn was struck by Aristotle’s beliefs about motion. Actually, he thought that those theories didn’t make any sense. But he also knew that Aristotle was one of the smartest philosophers of the ancient world. Kuhn realized that if Aristotle was stuck within his own way of seeing the world, then so are we. His ideas about scientific revolutions changed the way we perceive and teach science. Samuel J. Gershman is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His research focuses on environmental knowledge and adaptive behavior, memory, and computational neuroscience."]

Mangual, Rafael. "America's Failed Criminal Justice Experiment." Conversations with Coleman (August 22, 2022) ["Rafael is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Head of Research at their policing and public safety initiative. His new book is called Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most. In this episode, we discuss the nationwide push for defunding and de-policing starting in the summer of 2020. We talk about the so-called root causes of crime. We talk about Ava DuVernay's documentary "13th" and Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow. We discuss the causes of mass incarceration. We talk about cash bail and bail reform. We also go on to talk about legalizing weed and much more."]

Nolan, Amy. "The Sunken Place and the 'Electronic Elsewhere' of Jordan Peele’s Get Out." Supernatural Studies 7.2 (2022) ["One of the most compelling uses of analog technology in
contemporary horror thus far is Jordan Peele’s use of the television as reflection of and portal to the Sunken Place in Get Out (2017). From the time that the television was invented, the combination of sound and image has magnified the ghostly possibilities of reproduction. According to Jeffrey Sconce, “the paradox of visible, seemingly material worlds trapped in a box in the living room and yet conjured out of nothing more than electricity and air, [wherein] the ‘electronic elsewhere’ generated by television was thus more palpable and yet every bit as phantasmic the occult empires of previous media’” (126). Peele shows us the “electronic elsewhere” by connecting the Sunken Place to the analog television set as a signifier of protagonist Chris Washington’s repressed memory of his mother’s death. The television becomes an extension of the national nightmare and personal trauma that overshadow Chris’s adult life. Get Out is a distinctive, twenty-first century story, yet it draws from earlier horror films that focus on humanity’s relationship with technology."]

Sweedler, Milo. "Art, activism, sales calls, and slave labor: Dialectics in Sorry to Bother You." Jump Cut #61 (Fall 2022) ["Boots Riley’s debut film, Sorry to Bother You (2018), is one of the great anti-capitalist films of the early twenty-first century. Although Riley characterizes the movie as “an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction,” which it is, the film also provides one of the most clear-sighted accounts of grassroots class struggle to appear in mainstream North American narrative cinema in decades (“Beautiful Clutter”). As witty, playful, and delightfully quirky as it is, Riley’s tale of an ethically compromised telemarketer, his artist-activist girlfriend, and the labor organizer that unionizes their workplace sheds brilliant light on the class struggle today. I analyze here two different kinds of dialectics that Riley uses in telling his story of class conflict in an alternate present-day Oakland, California. One the one hand, a narrative technique used repeatedly in the film is dialectical in the Ancient Greek sense of staging a debate between interlocutors holding different points of view. On the other hand, numerous scenes in the film set up a contradiction that the movie momentarily resolves, often in unexpected ways, before introducing a new element that complicates the resolved contradiction. If, as Karl Marx argued more than 150 years ago, “What constitutes dialectical movement is the coexistence of two contradictory sides, their conflict and their fusion,” Sorry to Bother You is dialectical in this way, too (Poverty of Philosophy 108). This article examines how these two dialectics shape Riley’s class-conscious film."]

Zadra, Antonio. "Why and How Do We Dream." The Joy of Why (August 24, 2022) ["Dreams are so personal, subjective and fleeting, they might seem impossible to study directly and with scientific objectivity. But in recent decades, laboratories around the world have developed sophisticated techniques for getting into the minds of people while they are dreaming. In the process, they are learning more about why we need these strange nightly experiences and how our brains generate them. In this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with sleep researcher Antonio Zadra of the University of Montreal about how new experimental methods have changed our understanding of dreams."]

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