Tues 10.27.15 | Nature, Capitalism, Crisis

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Humans seem to be at war with nature -- epitomized by the system of capitalism, which plunders as it grows. But what if we understood the realm of Nature as not separate from the human realm of Society? Radical scholar Jason Moore suggests that we need to embed our critique of capitalism within the web of life on earth – so as best to oppose it.


Mon 10.26.15 | Losers and Winners in the Sharing Economy

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Uber, Airbnb, and other high-profile enterprises in the so-called sharing economy are fundamentally transforming the economic landscape. Should we welcome these changes, or are they doing more harm than good? Keally McBride examines what the rise of the sharing economy has meant for workers, for institutions, and for the digital platforms on which its participants depend.

Wed 10.21.15 | Industrialized Agriculture in the Soviet Union

Jenny Leigh Smith, Works in Progress: Plans and Realities on Soviet Farms, 1930-1963 Yale U. Press, 2014





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Agriculture in the Soviet Union had some colossal disasters -- not the least of which was the near-destruction of the Aral Sea -- and some significant successes as well. But most of the analysis of that experience has been through a Cold War lens. Historian Jenny Leigh Smith has taken a second look at Soviet agriculture. She argues that it compares decently to other mid-century industrialized agricultural systems, including that of the United States -- which may not be saying much.

Tues 10.20.15 | White Women's Roles in Slavery

Stephanie Jones-Rogers






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Although white women have been largely excluded from histories of the domestic U.S. slave trade, they were in fact active participants in the buying and selling of enslaved Blacks. So argues Stephanie Jones-Rogers; she also elucidates the power slave owners had under federal and state law to go into so-called free states to reclaim runaway slaves.

Mon 10.19.15 | Commodifying the Oceans

Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen, and Brett Clark, The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Rutgers U. Press, 2015



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The oceans are in turmoil, but unfortunately most of it is out of sight and therefore out of mind. Environmental sociologist Stefano Longo explores the multiple threats to the oceans, from overfishing to coral reef collapse to ocean acidification. He weighs in on whether the notion of the “tragedy of the commons” is sufficient to explain the roots of the crisis.

Wed 10.14.15 | At Once Iranian and American

Siamak Vossoughi, Better Than War U. of Georgia Press, 2015

William Grier and Price Cobbs, Black Rage Basic, 1992 (second ed.)




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If Iran is (still) viewed as the enemy, how then must Iranian Americans conduct themselves? What kinds of concerns and anxieties do they harbor, and how do they go about forging identities and cross-cultural understanding? Siamak Vossoughi has written a collection of short stories that examine the Iranian American experience. Also: comments by Price Cobbs on what he called black rage.

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