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.

Rules:

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.

Question?

Date: 2016-03-09 05:42 pm (UTC)
cxcvi: Red cubes, sitting on a reflective surface, with a white background (Default)
From: [personal profile] cxcvi
So, just to make sure that I'm understanding what you're asking (since I'm having one of those "what is this language thing that people keep talking about?" days), you're looking for stuff that helped people understand who they are? I kinda feel awkward for asking, but would rather understand than miss the ball...

Date: 2016-03-09 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] indywind
Partial list, perhaps more to follow as my brain percolates.

Patrick Califia, particularly Public Sex and Sex Changes
Minne Bruce Pratt, particularly S/he
Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues and Transgender Warriors (though the scholarship is insufficiently critical and rigorous for my taste in the latter, it was the first, and as far as I know is yet the only of such breadth breadth, account of gender variance through history and across multiple cultures.
Loren Rex Cameron, Body Alchemy
writings of Audre Lorde
Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George
Nobody's Family is going to Change, Louise Fitzhugh
Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Simmons and Chabris and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely for illustrating the fallibility of "obvious, common-sense" choices and conclusions
a bunch of popular articles on Adverse Childhood Experiences and complex/cumulative trauma and re/building resiliency (I'll see if I can find links for some of the better ones) and neuroplasticity
Starhawk, mostly Truth or Dare and The Fifth Sacred Thing
writings by Temple Grandin, but mostly short sections not entire works
The asynchronous development theory of giftedness, and learning and development theories generally, in overview
Nickel and Dimed: on not getting by in America, Barbara Eherenreich
Indigo Girls' first 10 albums and Amy Ray's first 2, Ani DiFranco
Edited (fix markup, add stuff) Date: 2016-03-10 05:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-03-09 11:06 pm (UTC)
kinetikatrue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kinetikatrue
[This is something of an odd list, so far, because the vast majority of my library is currently in storage, so I can't just walk over to the bookshelves to double-check titles and be reminded of other things. Same with music and movies.]

Farley Mowat - works, pretty much, but most specifically his living amongst people and animals writing and stuff about the environment (Never Cry Wolf, People of the Deer/A Desperate People/Walking on the Land, Sea of Slaughter, etc)

Tom Stoppard - Arcadia, but also Rock and Roll

Terry Pratchett - Discworld/Tiffany Aching

Sherman Alexie

Zora Neale Hurston

Florence King - Confessions of A Failed Southern Lady/Southern Ladies and Gentlemen

Nancy Friday - My Secret Garden/Forbidden Flowers/Women on Top series

Curtis Sittenfield - Prep

Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time/A Wind in the Door/A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Kevin Bales - Disposable People

[here's a whole list of stuff on the subject of labor history and related topics that I might whittle down or not - they just all work together is the thing]

Trouble in Mind : Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow - Leon F Litwack
No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States Since 1880 - Allan M. Brandt
Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York - Kathy Preiss
RIVETHEAD: Tales from the Assembly Line - Ben Hamper
Strike! - Jeremy Brecher
Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement - William E. Forbath
Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans - Ronald Takaki
The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture - Neil Foley
Hard Work: The Making of Labor History - Melvyn Dubofsky
Labor Embattled: History, Power, Rights - David Brody
On the Line: Essays in the History of Auto Work - Nelson Lichtenstein
Workers Control In America - David Montgomery

Movies: My Beautiful Laundrette, Pride, Amelie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Shelter, The Weekend, The Wedding Banquet, The Opposite of Love

Music: Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Josh Ritter, Mountain Goats, Weakerthans, Janelle Monae, Steel Train, Anna Fritz, Emma's Revolution, Evalyn Parry
Edited Date: 2016-03-10 01:55 am (UTC)

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.
  • Date: 2016-03-10 02:43 pm (UTC)
    doolabug: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] doolabug
    In my field (archaeology), in which I have read an astounding number of academic works, probably the one I most come back to and recommend to students is:
    Macaulay, David
    1979 Motel of the Mysteries. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
    (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/108831.Motel_of_the_Mysteries)

    It is a short, tongue-in-cheek book about a future archaeologist who finds and excavates a 1970s-era motel. It's presented in the style of Carter's discovery of Tut's tomb and all the interpretations of objects are hysterically wrong - the TV is the Great Altar, the ice bucket is clearly meant to serve the purpose of canopic jars, etc. It's a study in how all our clever and carefully researched conclusions, while perfectly aligning with our observations, can be oh so wrong, and is a warning about jumping to conclusions about other cultures and people using preconceived ideas and inadequate information. It works for archaeology and it works for life.

    Date: 2016-03-14 04:08 am (UTC)
    amazon_syren: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] amazon_syren
    Brazen Femme (For the femme, but also for the sexwork and the intersectionality, and for finally finding some writing that centred femme as an identity in and of itself rather than something that only existed in relation to butch. It does get described as "a bit performance arty", which is not inaccurate).

    (Also, if you look under "lesbian" at the Arsenal Pulp site, you will find a LOT of good stuff, including: I am a Red Dress, How Poetry Saved My Life (and all of Amber Dawn's other work, for that matter), and Dirty River)

    Sex Change, Social Change

    Whipping Girl

    Fem(me): Feminists, Lesbians, & Bad Girls and A Woman Like That more because they were the first Gay Lady books I ever bought, and it took me years to get up the guts to take them off the shelf and bring them home.

    Stone Butch Blues (not so much for me, but for a lot of the trans folks I know)

    Inward Towards the Bones (this is, effectively, Georgia O'Keefe/Emily Carr femslash in poetry form)

    Longing At Least Is Constant (Bi-Poly-Femme poetry by Kathryn Payne - yes, the obnoxious one in Raynedaze's poetry class a zillion years ago. I carried that book around like a talisman during my divorce. It was like I could finally see my own face).

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