commodorified: On a plain pink background the words "Canadian Problem number 61: being a very bored gay rights activist" (canadian queer)
[personal profile] commodorified
One of my very favourite cousins is starting his PhD in education. One of his long-term goals is to help improve how LGBT issues are handled in the Ontario and Canadian school systems.

We talk about this stuff, some, and we talk a lot about the broader education of a queer activist. About racism, and poverty/classism, and feminism, and sex education, and reproductive justice, and disability, and what I came up calling 'linked oppressions' and is now referred to as intersectionality ...

And then again about vulnerability and shame and addiction and trauma and how they can echo down the generations of a marginalised subculture as they do down the generations of a family, and about building community and sometimes about psychology and sociology and anthropology and history and art ...

At one point I was tossing a bunch of books and names at him and suggested that I ought to make him a bibliography, and then, on further pondering, that maybe I should crowdsource it a bit, because while in some ways he and I are different enough for me to be useful to him - I'm a woman, I'm twice his age, my activist and academic experiences and preoccupations are different - at heart we're just a couple of white semirural Protestant SW Ontario kids not that far off the farm or the railroad.

Plus, it might be useful to people other than him.

So, here's my invitation/request: if you identify as an academic—formally or otherwise—and/or as an activist, tell me (him, us) about the books and essays and writers/artists and works that changed you, informed you, showed you aspects of yourself and the world that changed you and changed how you went to work. Your touchstones, as it were.

Everything is welcome: Movies. Music. Poetry, prose, fiction, academic works, famous or obscure, any field, any era. I'm particularly interested in works outside your own usual interests that turned out to be extremely important to you.


1) You don't need to explain why you're recommending something, but you are very welcome to. You also don't need to provide links, but they will be appreciated.

2) All works will be assumed to be both luminous and flawed, which is to say, do not challenge other commenters on their choices, or post dispargements/anti-recs. Those can be very valuable, but not here and now.

If you're reccing something that you consider problematic but still really valuable—or even valuable because it illuminates a really problematic mindset—you're welcome to say so, absolutely. Footnoting other people's recs is not so helpful here. If you know a better work on a topic, just rec it, okay? The goal here is the broadest possible net, and we won't get that if this turns into "your fave is problematic."

3) You can make as many recs as you like, or only one. Pick things that have lasted for you, things that have held up over the years, things that you're profoundly grateful not to have missed.

4) Feel free to link this, but I'd much rather it be linked to individuals or small groups who will be very interested than to larger groups who will be largely indifferent.

ETA: also, please don't reply to comments, as I'd like people to be able to come back and edit their comments (or add to them themselves if they can't edit for whatever reason), plus it makes everything easier to read.

Date: 2016-03-10 12:14 am (UTC)
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
  • Discworld (how to care about making things better while knowing and owning that people are kind of crap, often hurt one another, aren't very noble or empathetic or etc, but that doesn't actually matter or make them less deserving of basic justice and kindness; how to be at peace with the fundamentally futile nature of existence in the long term while valuing effort and creation here and now; how just because something was the right thing to do in Situation X doesn't mean that something that looks like that thing is the right thing to do in Situation Y; how people change; how people can be more than one thing at the same time and neither thing 'cancels out' the other)
    --> there are very definite times that Sir Pterry demonstrates that his personal social position leaves him with Blind Spots (my go-to example is Tawnee and his apparent lack of awareness of how terrifyingly vulnerable and at risk she is). Cf your note on luminous and flawed

    CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters --> there are so many qualifiers on this one, starting with "so not my god" and following into CSL's total . . . I don't even know what to call his ignorance about women, but there are some fundamental things about people in it that I think are so, so important and that he saw very clearly - his contrast of "unselfishness" with actual generosity, his observations on self-deception and the self-serving ways that we get involved in things like causes that aren't about actually helping so much as they're about our egoes and our damage and how to watch for that.

    I feel like there should be more here. *SCOWL*

    Ugh I'll think later.
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