Catalyst : A Social Justice Forum
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2160-1844
Published by U of Tennessee, Knoxville [4 journals]
- Prefigurative Politics vs. Party-Building in the Post-Soviet Context:
Ideology and Resource Mobilization in Left-Radical Groups in Ukraine
Authors: Volodymyr Ishenko
Abstract: I wrote this paper 10 years ago based on my MA thesis. Many things have changed since that time. The leftgroups mentioned in the article do not exist anymore. Some of their activists are still active politically but many arenot part of radical left politics any more. In addition, now I am more skeptical of the postmodern theories ofideology I tried to use in the paper. If I were writing a similar analysis now, I would try to develop a morematerialist and a more complex approach to ideologies and their effects on practical politics. However, the paperseems to be pointing to a much wider question than merely the problems of two small Kiev-based radical leftgroups. The radical left movement in Ukraine is slightly larger now, involving hundreds, not dozens, of activists, butit still lacks any strong organization and remains completely marginal politically. But it is not just a matter of theUkrainian left. The recent waves of popular struggles in Europe and in Arab countries persuasively showed howanarchist suspicion of disciplined organizations and strategy politically disarms the movements. If lacking strongpolitical organizations even massive mobilizations are at best able only to overthrow the old elite, while allowingthe seizing of power by traditional "opposition" parties, which in reality block any prospects for fundamentalpolitical and social change. SYRIZA in Greece and Podemos in Spain may push progressive movements into anunderstanding of the need for political representation. Of course, these new left parties will need not just electoralbut also political successes in implementing their programs in order to fix a shift in the contemporary radical lefttoward organized political strategy and away from an obsession with horizontal prefiguration.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:36:08 PDT
- ‘Capitalism A Nuh’ Wi Frien’. The formatting of farming into an
asset, from financial speculation to international aid
Authors: Luigi Russi et al.
Abstract: This paper deciphers the formatting of farming into an asset by tracking the modalities by which financial calculation is enabled across different sites of agency.The first focus of our analysis are commodity futures markets, which have witnessed a double spike in prices in 2008 and in 2012. In the paper, we look at these hikes as the outcome of endogenous dynamics, caused by the changing makeup of market participants after 2000, which turned futures markets into resources for hedging commodity index-linked derivative products.We subsequently analyse the increasing reliance on financial actors placed by public development agencies that channel funds through private equity initiatives to acquire and invest in farmland.To complete our analysis, we finally set our contribution alongside the alternative represented by food-sovereignty, which offers the promise of heeding to the needs engendered from within the peasant milieu, as opposed to subjugating it to extrinsic quantitative metrics.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:36:05 PDT
- Praxis with Self-Advocates: Exploring Participatory Video as Radical
Authors: Kathleen C. Sitter et al.
Abstract: In this article, the authors report selected findings from a larger study where self-advocates from the disability rights movement created a series of short videos as part of a participatory research project. Self-advocates subsequently integrated these videos into a greater community organizing initiative. While the research process of this study has been published elsewhere, this piece will explore the idea of bridging participatory video, a collaborative research methodology, with community-based advocacy initiatives. The authors contend that this presents an opportunity for radical incrementalism in which to create a praxis driven predominantly by the voices on the margins versus the academic elite. In this article, a link to one of the videos is also included alongside participant reflections on the research process.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:36:03 PDT
- The Liberal As An Enemy Of Queer Justice
Authors: Craig Schamel
Abstract: AbstractLiberalism as a historical mode of the political is the context in which the movement and ensuing struggle for queer justice emerged in most Western countries. The terminology, practices, tendencies, beliefs, ethics, laws, and patterns of political and social life which have been determined by this mode of the political, it is argued, are inimical to queer justice and render its achievement impossible. Liberalism as a mode of the political is approached from below, from knowledge gained in practical experience in queer groups which considered themselves revolutionary at least to some degree, and from the effects on such groups and on the lives of queer persons of liberal tropes and processes. The liberal mode of justice is contrasted to the revolutionary mode across five elements of the liberal idiom of gay and lesbian justice which have found their way into the thought and nomenclature of much of the gay leadership of the U.S., and even into queer organizations that purport to be radical or revolutionary. These idiomatic elements are, the liberal-religious idea of nonviolence as a means to justice, the idea that gay and lesbian persons have made great progress since 1969, the idea that academic liberalism in its various forms serves queer justice, the discourse of 'hate', and the discourse of rights. In this examination, elements of a specifically queer revolutionism are brought forth. The essay argues that queer persons must take up the revolutionary mode of justice as our political template, and it adopts a revolutionary style of conveyance of ideas which repudiates, in its rhetorical character and out of necessity, the disastrously false civility and false objectivity of liberal discourse, adopting the revolutionarily appropriate character of a manifesto.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:36:01 PDT
- Queering the Reform/Revolution Dyad: A Spatiotemporal Dialectic
Authors: Raihan Sharif
Abstract: All ages deal with the debate between reform and revolution in the contexts of theirdistinctive challenges, problems, and prospects. While reflecting on today’s sociopoliticalrealities in the U.S., this paper identifies a theoretical stagnancy in academiathat deters any radical praxis for revolution. Addressing some key theoretical stanceswithin the reform/revolution dyad, the paper argues that any criticism of “revolution ina linear future” is no easy approval for “reform in a static present” either. Also,replacing the “apocalyptic future” with the “here and now” of the progressive presentis perhaps inadequate without critically reflecting on the “quality” of the “present”.This paper does not recommend any specific prescriptive means but outlines aspeculative prospect of “here and now” for revolution. It critiques theoretical stancesof a number of postcolonial and poststructuralist thinkers and argues that thesestances eventually get appropriated within the hegemonic reform-based justiceunderpinning neoliberalism. It argues that using the work of Henry Lefebvre, DavidHarvey, and Doreen Massey, a spatiotemporal dialectic for revolution can bedeveloped which in turn also embraces revolutionary visions of Alain Badiou. Thepaper explains how this dialectic reveals an inadequacy in the politics of reform andadjustment within theories of James C Scott, Michel de Certeau, Homi K Bhabha,Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. It shows how liberal justice discourses thatroutinely promote reform in an attempt to misguide revolutionary potentials manage to find a comfort zone in the politics of difference. Specifically, the paper invests in theinterstice between two types of theories to queer the longstanding reform-revolutiondyad.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:35:59 PDT
- Terror in the French Republic: Competing Performances of Social Justice
Authors: adam yaghi
Abstract: Major news anchors reported the action second by second. They replayed video footage of twohooded gunmen executing a French police officer followed by reports of other connected attacks andimages of deployed French counter-terrorism units. The unfolding drama quickly created an atmosphereof panic, even in places far away from where the incident of Charlie Hebdo took place. The sequence ofevents also gave birth to a global support movement. Among the vast crowds coming out in French cities,international state high officials marched alongside President François Hollande ostensibly to defendfreedom of speech, express their unity in the fight against Islamic radicalism and demonstrate readiness tocrack down on global jihad. This fast-paced sequence of events left little room for reason or reflectivethinking in France and other locations in Europe. Emotions, understandably, were riding high. After all,the hideous attacks sought more than just reaping the lives of the cartoonists for lampooning Islam,mocking its symbols, and ridiculing its followers. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo meant to execute amemorable “performance of terror,” to send a strong message to the French Republic and the Judeo-Christian Western world. Convinced that they, righteous and pious, are ordained by God to rid the worldof the blasphemous West, the attackers understood their own struggle in global and religious terms, aclash of civilizations and a war between good and evil.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:35:58 PDT
- Editor's Introduction
Authors: Craig R. Schamel
Abstract: When the theme for this issue of Catalyst was conceived, it was imagined that contributions mightpresent both defenses and critiques of liberal justice, that is, one might say, that these contributions wouldeither promote reformist or revolutionary modes of justice. Instead, all of the submissions took a fairlydecisive position of critique of liberal modes of justice, though they are not necessarily in agreementabout what constitutes a revolutionary mode of social justice, and they do not always adopt the term'revolution' itself as a description of the critique they present and the direction in which they point.
PubDate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:35:56 PDT
- Roads To Reconciliation: Volume 2, Issue 1 - Full Issue for download
Authors: Rachael E. Gabriel
Abstract: When the theme for this issue of Catalyst was conceived, it was imagined that contributions might present both defenses and critiques of liberal justice, that is, one might say, that these contributions would either promote reformist or revolutionary modes of justice. Instead, all of the submissions took a fairly decisive position of critique of liberal modes of justice, though they are not necessarily in agreement about what constitutes a revolutionary mode of social justice, and they do not always adopt the term 'revolution' itself as a description of the critique they present and the direction in which they point. Not only did the spirit and letter of the submissions for this issue effectively endorse revolutionary modes of social justice, but these works hit the ground running, with most immediately moving into attempts to describe and help create a strategy of practice for a social justice which could be called revolutionary, and which rather decisively rejects liberalism and in some fundamental ways, conveying in spirit a sense of impatience even with justice as it is conceived and carried out by liberal systems. It is this spirit of the authors of these works and the feeling of eagerness to describe and participate in the effectuation of a revolutionary praxis which they convey, and also on the idea of liberalism as an ideology, on which I focus briefly in this introduction.
PubDate: Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:10:49 PDT
- SOCIAL JUSTICE IN EDUCATION: JUST ANOTHER BUZZ WORD OR A TRUE DAILY
Authors: Todd Sloan Cherner et al.
Abstract: Editor's Welcome
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:30 PST
- A NEOLIBERAL CRITIQUE: CONCEPTUALIZING THE PURPOSE OF SCHOOL
Authors: Jennifer DeSaxe
Abstract: Throughout this manuscript, I discuss the current trend of neoliberalism, privatization, and deregulation within our educational communities and public schools. Throughout this analysis, I examine the ways in which many neoliberal policies aim to takeover public education through such consequences as false meritocracy, high stakes testing, and drastic funding inequities. I argue that we must seek to understand and challenge such policies in order to speak out against ideologies and “reform” movements that frame the purpose of schooling in ways that go against conceptualizing and actualizing it in a democratic and just manner.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:28 PST
- WHAT I SHOULDA, COULDA, WOULDA LEARNED IN SCIENCE CLASS”: BLACK AMERICAN
BOYS’ NARRATIVES OF PAST SCIENCE TEACHERS AND VISIONS FOR A CULTURALLY
RESPONSIVE SCIENCE TEACHER
Authors: Althea Hoard
Abstract: This study follows three Black American, high school boys who participated in a “Men in STEM” book club in an urban school in New York City. Through narrative analysis, the boys describe their vision for a culturally responsive science teacher and connections are made between the boys’ experiences with science teachers and interest in STEM careers. 20 10th grade Black American boys joined the “Men in STEM” book club and three participants are highlighted due to their differing interests in pursuing a STEM major in college. By triangulation of semi-structured interviews, two open-ended questionnaires, and researcher field notes, four themes emerged. Black American boys in this study call for S4 teachers - science teachers who:
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:27 PST
- REFLECTIONS ON MY WHITE PRIVILEGE AND UNDERSTANDING IT: THOUGHTS FROM A
Authors: Todd Sloan Cherner
Abstract: The topic of White Privilege continually appears in a variety of contexts. As one of those contexts is teacher education, the author reflects on how he came to understand his White Privilege in this article. To frame his reflection, the author first unpacks the term “White Privilege” by drawing from other scholarly works and then explains how he came to understand its meaning. The author put forward his reflections as a way of sharing his experiences, in hopes they may help other White educators become aware of their own White Privilege and begin living socially conscious lives.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:26 PST
- MOVING TOWARD A MORE SOCIALLY JUST CLASSROOM THROUGH TEACHER PREPARATION
Authors: Grace Blum et al.
Abstract: The current literature in teacher education for social justice fails to adequately address issues of disability within the equity discourse. In this paper, the authors advocate for a model of social justice teacher education that includes disability as part of the definition of marginalized groups by proposing the use of Response to Intervention (RTI) as a method for promoting inclusion into the social justice-oriented teacher preparation context.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:25 PST
- WHITE PRIVILEGE AND SOCIAL STUDIES PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS
Authors: Kristal Curry
Abstract: This article explores the dynamic of the Silenced Dialogue within a graduate-level, teacher preparation diversity course by analyzing student-created reflections about Peggy McIntosh’s article regarding White privilege. The paper compares themes that emerged in White vs. Black student reflections, male vs. female student reflections, and those of students preparing to teach social studies compared to those preparing to teach in other disciplines available in the program. Social studies candidates had complex responses to race. They seemed to feel comfortable with the topic, but were also world-weary and likely to dismiss current racism as being less than it used to be, and therefore, not much of a current issue. As compared to candidates in other disciplines who were surprised by the readings on White Privilege and felt challenged to act on their new understandings, social studies candidates were more likely to place current race relations in a historical context and emphasize the improvements made in recent decades, rather than changes that may still need to be made. This paper concludes with the problematic implications of social studies teachers who see racism as real, but largely a problem of the past.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:24 PST
- COMMUNITY TEACHERS AND THE PREPARATION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS: A
Authors: John Delport et al.
Abstract: The current context of special education classrooms across America is that of an increasing demographic complexity. There is a disproportionate representation of historically marginalized groups (HMGs) in special education that (re)emphasizes a disconnect between those students, their families, and schools. Coupled with a predominantly White middle-class teaching force not being prepared to effectively teach these students, it furthers the marginalization of HMG special education students. Using a feminist-standpoint theoretical framework, the authors put forward a rationale for special education teacher preparation programs to partner with community teachers working in community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve HMGs. The authors contend that this type of partnership results in pre-service teachers being better prepared to address both the demographic complexities and the disconnect between families and schools.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:22 PST
- A CASE FOR COMMUNITY-BASED TEACHER EDUCATION: THE CRITICAL SPACE BETWEEN
SOCIAL JUSTICE-ORIENTED TEACHING AND LEARNING
Authors: Jacob Hackett et al.
Abstract: A case-study analysis is used to examine the relationship between community partners and in-service public high school teachers who co-constructed a culturally responsive informal learning experience. An analysis of a summer literacy and character development camp for adolescent males of color provides a supportive argument for developing the Community-Based Teacher (Murrell, 2001). Culturally responsive informal learning experiences of public school students are the centerpiece of this case study as well as the shared experiential education instruction provided by community partners. Implications for teacher education programs, both traditional and Alternative Routes to Certification (ARCs) that purport mission statements integrating social justice are discussed. Community partners are integral practice of community-based teachers and the case study is used to reinforce this idea as well as claim the importance of community partners in the development of a pre-service community-based teacher.
PubDate: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:17:21 PST
- BIOTHRILLER FILMS AND CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT: A VIEWER’S GUIDE TO OUTBREAK,
CONTAGION, AND FATAL CONTACT
Authors: Robert A. DeLeo
Abstract: According to University of Hannover Professor Ruth Mayer (2007), biothrillers have long been an important pathway into the American “political unconscious,” as the diseases they depict often serve as “metaphors” for some of the nation’s greatest fears—terrorism, social disintegration, immigration. Beyond their metaphorical qualities, biothrillers, which are often based on real diseases, also expose Americans to the political, scientific, and social dynamics of public health preparedness and response efforts. Wolfgang Peterson’s 1995 film Outbreak, Richard Pierce’s 2006 film Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America, and Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film Contagion are all struck from this creative mold, providing largely realistic portrayals of disease transmission, the preparedness cycle, government institutions, and, in some cases, the role of citizen participation in the procurement of public health services. The following viewer’s guide can be used in conjunction with these three films. Questions highlight themes associated with each film while encouraging viewers to compare and contrast Outbreak, Fatal Contact, and Contagion.
PubDate: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:31:04 PDT
- PROTEST THROUGH REIFICATION OF THE SYSTEM IN CONTEMPORARY HEALTH POLICY
Authors: David A. Rochefort Ph.D.
Abstract: “Issue novels” employ a variety of writing devices to inform and to persuade readers about the nature of social problems and their impacts. One distinctive means by which contemporary health care has been portrayed within fiction is through a reification of the “system.” In effect, the system itself becomes a main character within the narrative, one whose motivations, stratagems, values, and behavioral patterns create fateful consequences for all other actors. It is the “personality” of this system that defines the source of disadvantage and oppression for those subject to its whims, as well as the challenges to be overcome by any meaningful process of reform. In March of 2010, near the height of the national debate over the Affordable Care Act, Lionel Shriver published So Much for That (2010), an anguished exploration of the plight of a woman dually stricken with terminal mesothelioma and inadequate health insurance benefits. In painful detail, Shriver traces the relentless progress of her character’s disease as she and her family endure the added strain of coverage denials, excessively ambitious treatments, a threat of bankruptcy, and over-medicalization of the process of dying. Shriver made an impression with her story of medical and financial distress, gaining positive reviews in the New York Times and other major publications as well as a National Book Award nomination. The purpose of this paper will be to analyze the technique of “reification of the system” as illustrated in So Much for That and to compare and contrast it with an earlier work of fiction, 72 Hour Hold (2004) by Bebe Moore Campbell, which provides a critical perspective on the operation of America’s mental health system. A concluding section situates this discussion within a broader context of the literary genre of the social problem novel while underscoring the potential cultural and political resonance of fiction of this type in raising a voice of protest “from below” against hegemonic social institutions and practices.
PubDate: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:26:12 PDT
- INDIGENOUS HEALTH’S GODLIKE NEMESIS: MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS AS
VECTOR FOR THE “HEALTH” OF THE RICH AND POWERFUL
Authors: Woods Nash
Abstract: Mountains Beyond Mountains is Tracy Kidder’s chronicle of the first two decades of Dr. Paul Farmer’s health-related work in Haiti and elsewhere. Through a close reading of that book, this essay contends that Mountains portrays Farmer as a Christ-like figure. In doing so, Kidder’s book bolsters a dominant doctrine that—by analogy with the Christian belief that salvation comes “from above”—might be called “health from above.” According to that rampant creed, wealthy and powerful individuals, organizations, institutions, and governments possess the sole prerogative to define and manage “health” for everyone on the planet. By consigning Farmer’s Haitian colleagues and patients largely to an anonymous, background status, Mountains prevents readers from wondering what indigenous ideas and systems of health might look like, for Haitians and hundreds of millions of others worldwide, were they less constrained by the reigning myopia of health from above. This critique concludes by asking whether unique ideas and systems of health could still emerge from disadvantaged persons—whether “health from below” remains possible, that is—in a media-saturated world.
PubDate: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:26:10 PDT
- DEMOCRATIZING PUBLIC HEALTH: CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH THE BIOTHRILLER
Authors: Robert A. DeLeo
Abstract: Preparedness—the process of readying for emerging threats—is central to contemporary public health, which strives to anticipate potential problems instead of reacting to medical disasters. However, this concept resonates little outside of elite policymaker circles. Instead, many Americans assume policymaking is an inherently reactive process that rewards politicians for “fixing” existing problems. For example, while the prospect of a pandemic influenza outbreak represents one of American’s most pressing concerns, surveys report pervasive public ignorance about many aspects of preparedness and public health, including disease transmission, prevention practices, and the relationship between zoological and human diseases. For many Americans, it seems, exposure to such issues comes not through first-hand experience or even governmental education efforts, but through the fictional world of “biothrillers.” Biothrillers are a distinct genre of movies, novels, and television shows that depict humankind’s efforts to survive novel and extraordinarily dangerous diseases. Because an informed citizenry is vital to a healthy functioning democracy, this paper considers the capacity of biothrillers to democratize public health by educating citizens about preparedness as well as the risks associated with the emerging diseases. To what extent do biothrillers empower citizens to draw informed conclusions and make informed decisions about contemporary public health practices and health risks? Can biothrillers compensate for scant government education efforts, thereby helping to close the knowledge gap between medical and political elites and the public writ large? This paper examines three prominent biothrillers, Wolfgang Peterson’s 1995 film Outbreak, Richard Pierce’s 2006 film Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America, and Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film Contagion. It finds that although biothrillers vary in the extent to which they present accurate depictions of the risks associated with emerging diseases as well as the general practice of public health, most of these films fail to empower citizens to become active participants in the procurement of public health. This shortcoming is largely a testament to the films’ portrayal of citizens as helpless and passive victims. The one exception to this rule is Fatal Contact, which depicts the efforts of neighborhood groups to form ad-hoc influenza monitoring and response programs.
PubDate: Sun, 06 Jul 2014 16:26:08 PDT