Summer reading: Feminism for the 99%

“The division between profit-making and people-making points to a deep-seated tension at the heart of capitalist society. While capital strives systemically to increase profits, working-class people strive, conversely, to lead decent and meaningful lives as social beings.  These are fundamentally irreconcilable goals, for capital’s share of accumulation can only increase at the expense of our share in the life of society. Social practices that nourish our lives at home, and social services that nurture our lives outside of it, constantly threaten to cut into profits. Thus, a financial drive to reduce those costs and an ideological drive to undermine such labors are endemic to the system as a whole”

- Arruzza, Bhattacharya, and Fraser, Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto, page 71

Daisy with 99%.jpeg

Winter academic reading

My spring semester is about to start, but I had some time to delve into some great books about Eastern Europe and the politics of knowledge production during the Cold War. I wrote review of Birth of Democratic Citizenship and To See Paris and Die, I read Know Your Enemy for the first time and it inspired me to go back and reread Laura Nader’s and Noam Chomsky’s essays in The Cold War & The University.

Books.jpeg

A Fun Conversation with Illana Novick at TruthDig

Seeing an interview in print is always a bit of a surprise. You speak on the phone with someone for an hour or so, and you never know what they are going to pull out to include in the final interview. I am very pleased with this conversation, although “these technological studies“ was mis-transcribed. It should have been “these sexological studies.”

Thanks to Autostraddle.com for including me on the list of the 50 best feminist books of 2018!

I am so delighted to be included among these amazing books!

“Beyond the pithy (but important!) title, this book promises an exploration of the ways capitalism works with sexist power structures to harm women in specific ways — from relationships to family to career, Ghodsee outlines the ways that ‘unregulated capitalism disproportionately harms women, and that we should learn from the past.’”

https://www.autostraddle.com/50-of-the-best-feminist-books-of-2018-442742/

Autostraddle 2.jpg

Summer Reading: Natural Causes

A friend recommended this book, and I devoured it in one sitting.  I have always loved Ehrenreich's writing and for many years I taught her book, Nickel and Dimed.  Because I also learned so much from Bait and Switch and Brightsided, I was eager to read her take on the hyper-medicalization of aging in the United States. She did not disappoint. It is so refreshing to read about someone who is growing old with grace and who is not afraid of the inevitable.  Highly recommended for anyone over 40. 

natural-causes-barbara-ehrenreich.jpg

Summer Reading: Talking to My Daughter About the Economy.

Because I was traveling, I actually read this book on my e-reader. This is a great introductory primer for young people that Varoufakis originally wrote in Greek to his own child, Xenia. He has a lively voice and it is a very fast read, with lots of pop culture references. I think the most useful discussion is his exploration of the difference between exchange value and experiential value, and his call for radical democratization of the economy. 

Varoufakis.jpg

Summer Reading: The Cold War: A World History

A sweeping history of the Cold War, but Westad doesn't have much to say about women. So far, I've found only one relevant paragraph which segues immediately into a discussion of militarism. 

A perfect book for Bassett hounds and history buffs.

A perfect book for Bassett hounds and history buffs.

One of the biggest changes throughout the Communist world was in the position of women. All over eastern Europe and eastern Asia the position of women had been governed by patriarchal traditions that gave them little say over resources, work, or family affairs. In areas that had had a taste of capitalism, new opportunities for women were mixed with increased social and economic exploitation. The Communist parties set out to change this sorry state of affairs, and at first many women were able to benefit from the new policies. Access to education, work, and child care improved dramatically in many places. So did women’s control over their own lives. The right to divorce and availability of birth control made for big changes in gender relations. But women were still kept out of political leadership positions, and as the regimes wanted to increase their populations, many women found themselves increasingly caught between work and duties to their families. The dual burden on women turned out to be as troublesome in societies that called themselves socialist as they were in the capitalist countries, and the on-going conflict between progressive ideas and traditional norms at least as intense.
— Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History, New York: Basic Books, 2017: page 190.