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Stay Woke: 20 Free Books on race, gender, sexuality, and class

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire “Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Portuguese: Pedagogia do Oprimido), written by educator Paulo Freire, proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher,...
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    • Pedagogy_of_the_oppressedThe Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire “Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Portuguese: Pedagogia do Oprimido), written by educator Paulo Freire, proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society. It was first published in Portuguese in 1968, and was translated by Myra Ramos into English and published in 1970.[1] The book is considered one of the foundational texts of critical pedagogy.Dedicated to what is called “the oppressed” and based on his own experience helping Brazilian adults to read and write, Freire includes a detailed Marxist class analysis in his exploration of the relationship between what he calls “the colonizer” and “the colonized”.In the book Freire calls traditional pedagogy the “banking model” because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, like a piggy bank. However, he argues for pedagogy to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge.” via Wikipedia
    • are-prisons-obsoleteAre Prisons Obsolete? – Angela Y. Davis
      “With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly, the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for “decarceration,” and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.” via Seven Stories Press
    • Race, Women, and Class – Angela Y. Davis Race, Women, and Class – Angela Y. DavisLongtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women’s movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women’s suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women’s movement have divided its own membership. Davis’ message is clear: If we ever want equality, we’re gonna have to fight for it together. via Amazon.
    • The Communist Manifesto – Marx and Engels communist_manifesto_-_cover_pictureThe Communist Manifesto (originally Manifesto of the Communist Party) is an 1848 political pamphlet by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Commissioned by the Communist League and originally published in London (in the German language as Manifest der kommunistischen Partei) just as the revolutions of 1848 began to erupt, the Manifesto was later recognised as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and then-present) and the problems of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, rather than a prediction of communism’s potential future forms.The Communist Manifesto summarises Marx and Engels’ theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. It also briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism, and then finally communism.via Wikipedia
    • Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf ThreeGuineasAlthough Three Guineas is a work of non-fiction, it was initially conceived as a “novel-essay” which would tie up the loose ends left in her earlier work, A Room of One’s Own.[1] The book was to alternate between fictive narrative chapters and non-fiction essay chapters, demonstrating Woolf’s views on war and women in both types of writing at once. This unfinished manuscript was published in 1937 as The Pargiters.When Woolf realised the idea of a “novel-essay” wasn’t working, she separated the two parts. The non-fiction portion became Three Guineas. The fiction portion became Woolf’s most popular novel during her lifetime, The Years, which charts social change from 1880 to the time of publication through the lives of the Pargiter family. It was so popular, in fact, that pocket-sized editions of the novel were published for soldiers as leisure reading during World War II.via Wikipedia
    • Feminism is for Everybody – bell hooks rsz_feminism_is_for_everybody_bell_hooksFeminism Is for Everybody – Passionate Politics by author bell hooks (prefers that her name be spelled in all lower case letters) lives up to its title. It is a passionate account of the struggles and challenges faced by the feminist movement. The account also makes a strong case for the inclusion of men within the movement. One of the arguments that hooks makes throughout the book is that feminism—creating a world free of sexism—is only possible if men and women both believe in and fight for the feminist cause.The patriarchal society is based on the power of man over women; of boss over underling; of lesbian lover over partner; and, of parent over child. Relationships built on this uneven turf are doomed to fail. In order to achieve societal transformation, everyone must learn to think in a non-sexist fashion. Activist hooks repeatedly makes the point that little boys and little girls need to receive an equal education on sexism. They will therefore be able to naturally develop the ability to think in an anti-sexist manner. By creating a society in which women and men are truly equals, the potential for honest, full, committed relationships for everyone will be the reward.Author hooks provides a history of the feminist movement—its successes, failures, disappointments and readjustments. The reader is told in the first section that the basic goal of feminism is the replacement of the patriarchal system existing in the society with one free of male dominance and sexism. She readily points out the many benefits for all.Within that large framework, hooks takes each sub-category of the feminist platform and explains its progress toward the end goal. Each of the sub-categories must succeed in order to reach the ultimate goal of an equal society for both genders. Issues such as racism and classism are elements that intersect very closely with feminism. The eradication of racist, classist and sexist thinking and behavior is essential in achieving the feminist agenda.

      Author hooks also dedicates ample space to what feminism is not. It is not fighting to allow only a few privileged, upper-class women to succeed; rather, its struggles focuses on the betterment of all women and men. Feminism is not synonymous with lesbianism. Removing the negativity of the patriarchal system will provide a better life for gay and straight and man and woman.

      For the future of feminism which has declined recently in popularity and public relevance, radical visionary feminism urges each woman to examine her own life to better understand her position within the framework of the patriarchal society. In its impending renewal, feminism must take strength from the great strides that women and men have towards gender equality. Feminism is for everybody.

      via bookrags.com

    • Faces at the Bottom of the Well – Derrick Bellfaces-at-the-bottom-wellImagine America on the first day of the 21st century. At the break of dawn, a thousand space ships descend from the sky, landing on the shores of the East Coast, bearing treasures of gold, safe nuclear power and detoxifying agents that could pay all debts and save the earth’s environment. In exchange for these goods, guaranteed to rescue America from the excesses of its past, the Space Traders want just one thing — to take all African Americans back to their home star.
      What would our leaders do? White Americans were once capable of rationalizing Black slavery; would they be capable of justifying the trade of all African Americans to space, to improve their own lot on earth?The situation is a chilling fantasy. But for Derrick Bell, the prominent civil rights activist and former Harvard Law School Professor, the danger is very real. In “Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism,” Bell uses allegory and historical example to argue that racism has always been an integral, permanent and indestructible component of American society.”A starkly existentialist vision . . . chilling. . . . The stories challenge old assumptions and then linger in the mind.”–New York Times Book Review
    • I am Your Sister – Audre Lorde i-am-your-sister-audre-lordeAudre Lorde was not only a famous poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past century. Her writings and speeches grappled with an impressive broad list of topics, including sexuality, race, gender, class, disease, the arts, parenting, and resistance, and they have served as a transformative and important foundation for theorists and activists in considering questions of power and social justice. Lorde embraced difference, and at each turn she emphasized the importance of using it to build shared strength among marginalized communities.I Am Your Sister is a collection of Lorde’s non-fiction prose, written between 1976 and 1990, and it introduces new perspectives on the depth and range of Lorde’s intellectual interests and her commitments to progressive social change. Presented here, for the first time in print, is a major body of Lorde’s speeches and essays, along with the complete text of A Burst of Light and Lorde’s landmark prose works Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals. Together, these writings reveal Lorde’s commitment to a radical course of thought and action, situating her works within the women’s, gay and lesbian, and African American Civil Rights movements. They also place her within a continuum of black feminists, from Sojourner Truth, to Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Lorraine Hansberry, and Patricia Hill Collins. I Am Your Sister concludes with personal reflections from Alice Walker, Gloria Joseph, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and bell hooks on Lorde’s political and social commitments and the indelibility of her writings for all who are committed to a more equitable society.via Buffalo Library
    • Black Feminist Thought – Patricia Hill Collins black-feminist-thoughtBlack feminist thought consists of ideas produced by Black women that clarify a standpoint of and for Black women. Several assumptions underlie this working definition. First, the definition suggests that it is impossible to separate the structure and thematic content of thought from the historical and material conditions shaping the lives of its producers (Berger and Luckmann 1966; Mannheim 1936). Therefore, while Black feminist thought may be recorded by others, it is produced by Black women. Second, the definition assumes that Black women possess a unique standpoint on, or perspective of, their experiences and that there will be certain commonalities of perception shared by Black women as a group. Third, while living life as Black women may produce certain commonalities of outlook, the diversity of class, region, age, and sexual orientation shaping individual Black women’s lives has resulted in different expressions of these common themes. Thus, universal themes included in the Black women’s standpoint may be experienced and expressed differently by distinct groups of Afro-American women. Finally, the definition assumes that, while a Black women’s standpoint exists, its contours may not be clear to Black women themselves. Therefore, one role for Black female intellectuals is to produce facts and theories about the Black female experience that will clarify a Black woman’s standpoint for Black women. In other words, Black feminist thought contains observations and interpretations about Afro-American womanhood that describe and explain different expressions of common themes.Black women’s insistence on self-definition, self-valuation, and the necessity for a Black female-centered analysis is significant for two reasons. First, defining and valuing one’s consciousness of one’s own self-defined standpoint in the face of images that foster a self-definition as the objectified “other” is an important way of resisting the dehumanization essential to systems of domination. The status of being the “other” implies being “other than” or different from the assumed norm of white male behavior. In this model, powerful white males define themselves as subjects, the true actors, and classify people of color and white women in terms of their position vis-a-vis this white male hub. Since Black women have been denied the authority to challenge these definitions, this model consists of images that define Black women as a negative other, the virtual antithesis of positive white male images. Moreover, as Britain and Maynard (1984:199) point out, “domination always involves the objectification of the dominated; all forms of oppression imply the devaluation of the subjectivity of the oppressed.”via Wikipedia
    • Gender Trouble – Judith Butlergender-troubleButler begins Gender Trouble with an attack on one of the central assumptions of feminist theory: the supposition that there exists an identity and a subject that requires representation in politics and language. For Butler, “women” and “woman” are fraught categories, complicated by class, ethnicity, sexuality, and other facets of identity. Moreover, the universality presumed by these terms parallels the assumed universality of the patriarchy, and erases the particularity of oppression in distinct times and places. Butler thus eschews identity politics in favor of a new, coalitional feminism that critiques the basis of identity and gender.She begins her critique of identity and gender by challenging her readers’ assumptions about the distinction often made between sex and gender. (In this distinction, sex is biological while gender is culturally constructed.) In the first place, Butler argues, this distinction introduces a split into the supposedly unified subject of feminism, and in the second place, the distinction proves false. Sexed bodies cannot signify without gender, and the apparent existence of sex prior to discourse and cultural imposition is merely an effect of the functioning of gender. That is, both sex and gender are constructed.Butler next examines the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray in order to explore the relationship between power and categories of sex and gender. For Beauvoir, women constitute a lack against which men establish their identity; for Irigaray, this dialectic belongs to a “signifying economy” that excludes the representation of women altogether because it employs phallocentric language. However, as Butler notes, both Beauvoir and Irigaray assume that there exists a female “self-identical being” in need of representation, and their arguments hide the impossibility of “being” a gender at all.Instead, in her introduction of the central idea of Gender Trouble, Butler argues that gender is performative: no identity exists behind the acts that supposedly “express” gender, and these acts constitute—rather than express—the illusion of the stable gender identity. Furthermore, if the appearance of “being” a gender is thus an effect of culturally influenced acts, then there exists no solid, universal gender: constituted through the practice of performance, the gender “woman” (like the gender “man”) remains contingent and open to interpretation and “resignification.” In this way, Butler provides an opening for subversive action. She calls for gender trouble, for people to trouble the categories of gender through performance.

      via Wikipedia

    • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurstontheir-eyes-were-watching-godTheir Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel and the best known work by African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. The novel narrates main character Janie Crawford’s “ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.”Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel was initially poorly received for its rejection of racial uplift literary prescriptions. Today, it has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African-American literature and women’s literature.[2] TIME included the novel in its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.via Wikipedia
    • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present Harriet Washingtonmedical-apartheidMedical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is a 2007 book by Harriet A. Washington. It is a history of medical experimentation on African Americans. From the era of slavery to the present day, this book presents the first full account of black America’s mistreatment as unwitting subjects of medical experimentation.[1][2]Medical Apartheid traces the convoluted history of medical experimentation on Black Americans in the United States since the middle of the eighteenth century. Harriet Washington argues that “diverse forms of racial discrimination have shaped both the relationship between white physicians and black patients and the attitude of the latter towards modern medicine in general”.[3]The book is divided into three parts: the first is about the cultural memory of medical experimentation; the second examines recent cases of medical abuse and research; while the last addresses the complex relationship between racism and medicine. Some topics discussed are well-known, such as the ‘Tuskegee Syphilis Study’ (1932–72), in which African Americans suffering from the disease were prevented from receiving the necessary medication by the US Public Health Service so that the evolution of the disease could be observed, but other episodes are less well known to the general public.[3] The book also mentions cases of Medical Experimentation in Africa and their links to African-American cases.Medical Apartheid won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Harriet Washington has been a fellow in ethics at the Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University.

      via Wikipedia

    • Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory  – edited by Michael Warner
      fear-of-a-queer-planetMichael Warner is a literary critic, social theorist, and Seymour H. Knox Professor of English Literature and American Studies at Yale University. He also writes for Art Forum, The Nation, The Advocate, and The Village Voice. He is the author of Publics and Counterpublics, The Trouble With Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life, The English Literatures of America, 1500-1800, Fear of a Queer Planet, and The Letters of the Republic. He also edited The Portable Walt Whitman and American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, Jr.via Wikipedia
    • Colonialism/Postcolonialism – Ania Loomba colnialism-postcolonialism
      ‘Colonialism/Postcolonialism is both a crystal-clear and authoritative introduction to the field and a cogently-argued defence of the field’s radical potential. It’s exactly the sort of book teachers want their students to read.’ – Peter Hulme, Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex, UK’Loomba is a keen and canny critic of ever-shifting geopolitical realities, and Colonialism/Postcolonialism remains a primer for the academic and common reader alike.’ – Antoinette Burton, Department of History, University of Illinois, USA’It is rare to come across a book that can engage both student and specialist. Loomba simultaneously maps a field and contributes provocatively to key debates within it. Situated comparatively across disciplines and cultural contexts, this book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in postcolonial studies.’ – Priyamvada Gopal, Faculty of English, Cambridge University, USA’Colonialism/Postcolonialism moves adroitly between the general and the particular, the conceptual and the contextual, the local and the global, and between texts and material processes. Distrustful of established and self-perpetuating assumptions, foci and canonical texts which threaten to fossilize postcolonial studies as a discipline, Loomba’s magisterial study raises many crucial issues pertaining to social structure and identity; engaging with different modes of theory and social explanation in the process. There is no doubt that this book remains the best general introduction to the field.’ – Kelwyn Sole Professor, English Department, University of Cape Town

      ‘Lucid and incisive this is a wonderful introduction to the contentious yet vibrant field of post-colonial studies. With consummate ease Loomba maps the field, unravels the many strands of the debate and provides a considered critique. She shows how post colonial theory forces us to reconsider some of our founding ideas, reorient our frames of enquiry, and rethink the very notion of colonialism. A must-read for everyone.’ – Neeladri Bhattacharya, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

      via Amazon

    • Discipline and Punish – Michel Foucaulfoucaultt
      This book is a genealogy of the modern soul and the power to judge. It follows four general rules: one) to regard punishment as a complex social function; two) to regard punishment as a political tactic; three) to see whether the history of penal law and of the human sciences are linked; four) to try to find in changes in penal techniques a political technology of the body and a general history of changing power relations. We need to situate punishment within systems of production and the political economy of the body. Historians have yet to consider the body as a subject of political power or power relations. The body is subjected to a body of knowledge; this is the political technology of the body. A “micro-physics” of power operates; power is a strategy, and we need to decipher it in a system of relations that can be called political anatomy. Power is not a property but a strategy evident in the relations between people. Power relations operate and exist through people. They go right down into society. We need to realize that power and knowledge are related. We should think of the body politic as a series of routes and weapons by which power operates.A history of the micro-physics of power is an element in the genealogy of the modern soul. Upon the idea of the “soul”, concepts of the psyche, personality and consciousness are created, as well as scientific techniques and claims. This is not a substitution of the soul for the real man; now, the soul is the prison of the body. Foucault ends by relating his commitment to modern prisoners, and to writing a history of the present.via Spark Notes
    • The Gloria Anzaldua Reader 
      gloria-anazalduaBorn in the Río Grande Valley of south Texas, independent scholar and creative writer Gloria Anzaldúa was an internationally acclaimed cultural theorist. As the author of Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Anzaldúa played a major role in shaping contemporary Chicano/a and lesbian/queer theories and identities. As an editor of three anthologies, including the groundbreaking This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, she played an equally vital role in developing an inclusionary, multicultural feminist movement.A versatile author, Anzaldúa published poetry, theoretical essays, short stories, autobiographical narratives, interviews, and children’s books. Her work, which has been included in more than 100 anthologies to date, has helped to transform academic fields including American, Chicano/a, composition, ethnic, literary, and women’s studies.This reader—which provides a representative sample of the poetry, prose, fiction, and experimental autobiographical writing that Anzaldúa produced during her thirty-year career—demonstrates the breadth and philosophical depth of her work. While the reader contains much of Anzaldúa’s published writing (including several pieces now out of print), more than half the material has never before been published. This newly available work offers fresh insights into crucial aspects of Anzaldúa’s life and career, including her upbringing, education, teaching experiences, writing practice and aesthetics, lifelong health struggles, and interest in visual art, as well as her theories of disability, multiculturalism, pedagogy, and spiritual activism.The pieces are arranged chronologically; each one is preceded by a brief introduction. The collection includes a glossary of Anzaldúa’s key terms and concepts, a timeline of her life, primary and secondary bibliographies, and a detailed index.

      via Duke Press

    • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa
      this-bridge-called-my-backThis Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color is a feminist anthology edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa. The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.[1] The book was out in its third edition, published by Third Woman Press, until 2008, when its contract with Third Woman Press expired and it went out of print. In 2015, the fourth edition was published by State University of New York Press, Albany.[2][3]This Bridge centered the experiences of women of color and emphasized the points of intersectionality within their multiple identities,[4] offering a serious challenge to white feminists who made claims to solidarity based on sisterhood.[5] Writings in the anthology, along with works by other prominent feminists of color, call for a greater prominence within feminism for race-related subjectivities, and ultimately laid the foundation for third wave feminism. This Bridge has become “one of the most cited books in feminist theorizing” (emphasis in original).via Wikipedia
    • What is Cultural Studies? – John Storey 
      what-is-cultural-studiesThe subject of cultural studies has not yet been fully defined, since it is a relatively new and still-evolving area, although various schools of thought have sought to claim it as their own. This book is designed as a pedagogic resource which offers a variety of answers to the question it poses. It brings together some major writers in the international field, and introduces the student to debates about the
      evolution of cultural studies, discusses various different strands within the subject, and considers future directions. Via Bloomsbury
    • Cultural Theory and Popular Culture by John Storey
      cultural-theoryThe new 4th edition of John Storey’s successful reader in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture is a companion volume to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, now in its 5th edition. The Reader offers students the opportunity to experience at first hand the theorists and critics discussed in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. It can be used both in conjunction with and independently of the textbook.Taken as a whole, the reader provides a theoretical, analytical and historical introduction to the study of popular culture and provides key primary coverage of fundamental issues in cultural studies.via Amazon
    • The Disability Studies Reader disabilities-reader
      The Fourth Edition of the Disability Studies Reader breaks new ground by emphasizing the global, transgender, homonational, and posthuman conceptions of disability. Including physical disabilities, but exploring issues around pain, mental disability, and invisible disabilities, this edition explores more varieties of bodily and mental experience. New histories of the legal, social, and cultural give a broader picture of disability than ever before.via Amazon
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