Theatre of the Oppressed


Augusto Boal - 1977
    Twice exiled, Boal is 'at home' now wherever he finds himself to be. He makes a skeptical, comic, inquisitive and finally optimistic theatre involving spectators and performers in the search for community and integrity. This is a good book to be used even more than to be read." - Richard Schechner"Augusto Boal's achievement is so remarkable, so original and so groundbreaking that I have no hesitation in describing the book as the most important theoretical work in the theatre in modern times - a statement I make with having suffered any memory lapse with respect to Stanislavsky, Artaud or Grotowski." - Goerge E. WellwarthOriginally basing himself at the Arena Stage in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Augusto Boal developed a series of imaginative theatre exercises which promote awareness of one's social situation and its limitations, individual attitudes, and even how our bodies are bound by tradition. Boal is continued his explorations in Paris, where he directed Le CEDITADE (Centre d'Etude et de Diffusion des Techniques Actives d'Expression - Methode Boal), in addition to traveling and lecturing extensively in other countries. On May 2, 2009, Boal died at age 78 in Rio de Janeiro.

Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain


Stuart Hall - 1976
    Looking in detail at the wide range of post-war youth subcultures, from teds, mods and skinheads to black Rastafarians, Resistance through Rituals considers how youth culture reflects and reacts to cultural change. This text represents the collective understanding of the leading centre for contemporary culture, and serves to situate some of the most important cultural work of the twentieth century in the new millennium.

The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation


Leo R. Chavez - 2008
    In The Latino Threat, Leo R. Chavez critically investigates the media stories about and recent experiences of immigrants to show how prejudices and stereotypes have been used to malign an entire immigrant population—and to define what it means to be an American.Pundits—and the media at large—nurture and perpetuate the notion that Latinos, particularly Mexicans, are an invading force bent on reconquering land once considered their own. Through a perceived refusal to learn English and an "out of control" birthrate, many say that Latinos are destroying the American way of life. But Chavez questions these assumptions and offers facts to counter the myth that Latinos are a threat to the security and prosperity of our nation.His breakdown of the "Latino threat" contests this myth's basic tenets, challenging such well-known authors as Samuel Huntington, Pat Buchanan, and Peter Brimelow. Chavez concludes that citizenship is not just about legal definitions, but about participation in society. Deeply resonant in today's atmosphere of exclusion, Chavez's insights offer an alternative and optimistic view of the vitality and future of our country.

The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle


T.V. Reed - 2005
    Or, more difficult yet, imagine an America unaffected by the cultural expressions and forms of the twentieth-century social movements that have shaped our nation. The first broad overview of social movements and the distinctive cultural forms that express and helped shape them, The Art of Protest shows the vital importance of these movements to American culture. In comparative accounts of movements beginning with the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and running through the Internet-driven movement for global justice ("Will the revolution be cybercast?") of the twenty-first century, T. V. Reed enriches our understanding of protest and its cultural expression. Reed explores the street drama of the Black Panthers, the revolutionary murals of the Chicano movement, the American Indian Movement's use of film and video, rock music and the struggles against famine and apartheid, ACT UP's use of visual art in the campaign against AIDS, and the literature of environmental justice. Throughout, Reed employs the concept of culture in three interrelated ways: by examining social movements as sub- or countercultures; by looking at poetry, painting, music, murals, film, and fiction in and around social movements; and by considering the ways in which the cultural texts generated by resistance movements have reshaped the contours of the wider American culture. The United States is a nation that began with a protest. Through the kaleidoscopic lens of artistic and cultural expression, Reed reveals how activism continues to remake our world.

A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls


Eve Ensler - 2007
    These diverse voices rise up in a collective roar to break open, expose, and examine the insidiousness of brutality, neglect, a punch, or a put-down. Here is Edward Albee on S&M; Maya Angelou on women’s work; Michael Cunningham on self-mutilation; Dave Eggers on a Sudanese abduction; Carol Gilligan on a daughter witnessing her mother being hit; Susan Miller on raising a son as a single mother; and Sharon Olds on a bra.These writings are inspired, funny, angry, heartfelt, tragic, and beautiful. But above all, together they create a true and profound portrait of this issue’s effect on every one of us. With information on how to organize an “Until the Violence Stops” event in your community, A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer is a call to the world to demand an end to violence against women.“In the current era, it takes some brain racking to think of anyone else doing anything quite like Ensler. She’s a countercultural consciousness-raiser, an empowering figure, a truth-teller.”–Chicago Tribune

Ordinary Affects


Kathleen Stewart - 2007
    Known for her focus on the poetics and politics of language and landscape, the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart ponders how ordinary impacts create the subject as a capacity to affect and be affected. In a series of brief vignettes combining storytelling, close ethnographic detail, and critical analysis, Stewart relates the intensities and banalities of common experiences and strange encounters, half-spied scenes and the lingering resonance of passing events. While most of the instances rendered are from Stewart’s own life, she writes in the third person in order to reflect on how intimate experiences of emotion, the body, other people, and time inextricably link us to the outside world.Stewart refrains from positing an overarching system—whether it’s called globalization or neoliberalism or capitalism—to describe the ways that economic, political, and social forces shape individual lives. Instead, she begins with the disparate, fragmented, and seemingly inconsequential experiences of everyday life to bring attention to the ordinary as an integral site of cultural politics. Ordinary affect, she insists, is registered in its particularities, yet it connects people and creates common experiences that shape public feeling. Through this anecdotal history—one that poetically ponders the extremes of the ordinary and portrays the dense network of social and personal connections that constitute a life—Stewart asserts the necessity of attending to the fleeting and changeable aspects of existence in order to recognize the complex personal and social dynamics of the political world.

Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope


bell hooks - 2002
    Now comes Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope - a powerful, visionary work that will enrich our teaching and our lives. Combining critical thinking about education with autobiographical narratives, hooks invites readers to extend the discourse of race, gender, class and nationality beyond the classroom into everyday situations of learning. bell hooks writes candidly about her own experiences. Teaching, she explains, can happen anywhere, any time - not just in college classrooms but in churches, in bookstores, in homes where people get together to share ideas that affect their daily lives.In Teaching Community bell hooks seeks to theorize from the place of the positive, looking at what works. Writing about struggles to end racism and white supremacy, she makes the useful point that "No one is born a racist. Everyone makes a choice." Teaching Community tells us how we can choose to end racism and create a beloved community. hooks looks at many issues-among them, spirituality in the classroom, white people looking to end racism, and erotic relationships between professors and students. Spirit, struggle, service, love, the ideals of shared knowledge and shared learning - these values motivate progressive social change.Teachers of vision know that democratic education can never be confined to a classroom. Teaching - so often undervalued in our society -- can be a joyous and inclusive activity. bell hooks shows the way. "When teachers teach with love, combining care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust, we are often able to enter the classroom and go straight to the heart of the matter, which is knowing what to do on any given day to create the best climate for learning."

Sense and Non-Sense


Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1948
    They summarize his previous insights and exhibit their widest range of application-in aesthetics, ethics, politics, and the sciences of man. Each essay opens new perspectives to man's search for reason. The first part of Sense and Non-Sense, "Arts," is concerned with Merleau-Ponty's concepts of perception, which were advanced in his major philosophical treatise, Phenomenology of Perception. Here the analysis is focused and enriched in descriptions of the perceptual world of Cezanne, the encounter with the Other as expressed in the novels of Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, and the gestalt quality of experience brought out in the film art form. In the second part, "Ideas," Merleau-Ponty shows how the categories of the phenomenology of perception can be understood as an outgrowth of the behavioral sciences and how a model of existence based on perception sensitizes us to the insights and limitations of previous philosophies and suggests constructive criticisms of contemporary philosophy. The third part, "Politics," clarifies the political dilemmas facing intellectuals in postwar France.

The University in Ruins


Bill Readings - 1996
    The structure of the contemporary University is changing rapidly, and we have yet to understand what precisely these changes will mean. Is a new age dawning for the University, the renaissance of higher education under way? Or is the University in the twilight of its social function, the demise of higher education fast approaching? We can answer such questions only if we look carefully at the different roles the University has played historically and then imagine how it might be possible to live, and to think, amid the ruins of the University.Tracing the roots of the modern American University in German philosophy and in the work of British thinkers such as Newman and Arnold, Bill Readings argues that historically the integrity of the modern University has been linked to the nation-state, which it has served by promoting and protecting the idea of a national culture. But now the nation-state is in decline, and national culture no longer needs to be either promoted or protected. Increasingly, universities are turning into transnational corporations, and the idea of culture is being replaced by the discourse of "excellence." On the surface, this does not seem particularly pernicious.The author cautions, however, that we should not embrace this techno-bureaucratic appeal too quickly. The new University of Excellence is a corporation driven by market forces, and, as such, is more interested in profit margins than in thought. Readings urges us to imagine how to think, without concession to corporate excellence or recourse to romantic nostalgia within an institution in ruins. The result is a passionate appeal for a new community of thinkers.

Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts


Bill Ashcroft - 1998
    Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction


Thomas Lemke - 2011
    While the notion of "biopolitics" has been linked to everything from rational decision-making and the democratic organization of social life to eugenics and racism, Thomas Lemke offers the very first systematic overview of the history of the notion of biopolitics, exploring its relevance in contemporary theoretical debates and providing a much needed primer on the topic.Lemke explains that life has become an independent, objective and measurable factor as well as a collective reality that can be separated from concrete living beings and the singularity of individual experience. He shows how our understanding of the processes of life, the organizing of populations and the need to "govern" individuals and collectives lead to practices of correction, exclusion, normalization, and disciplining. In this lucidly written book, Lemke outlines the stakes and the debates surrounding biopolitics, providing a systematic overview of the history of the notion and making clear its relevance for sociological and contemporary theoretical debates.

The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea & Heart of the Earth: A Popul Vuh Story


Cherríe L. Moraga - 2001
    Drawing from the Greek Medea and the myth of La Llorona, she portrays a woman gone mad between her longing for another woman and for the Indian nation which is denied her.In Heart of the Earth, a feminist revisioning of the Quichi Maya Popul Vuh story, Moraga creates an allegory for contemporary Chicanismo in which the enemy is white, patriarchal, and greedy for hearts, both female and fecund. Through humor and inventive tale twisting, Moraga brings her vatos locos home from the deadly underworld to reveal that the real power of creation is found in the masa Grandma is grinding up in her metate. The script, a collaboration with master puppet maker Ralph Lee, was created for the premiere production of the play at The Public Theater in New York in 1994.In an afterword to this edition, Moraga comments on her concerns about nationhood, indigenism, queer sexuality, and gender information.

White: Essays on Race and Culture


Richard Dyer - 1997
    Racial imagery and racial representation are central to the organisation of the contemporary world but, while there are many studies of images of black and Asian people, whiteness is an invisible racial position. At the level of racial representation, whites are not of a certain race. They are just the human race, a 'colour' against which other ethnicities are always examined.In White, Richard Dyer looks beyond the apparent unremarkability of whiteness and argues for the importance of analysing images of white people. Dyer traces the representation of whiteness by whites in Western visual culture, focusing on the mass media of photography, advertising, fine art, cinema and television.Dyer examines the representation of whiteness and the white body in the contexts of Christianity, 'race' and colonialism. In a series of absorbing case studies, he discusses the representations of whiteness in muscle-man action cinema, from Italian 'peplum' movies to the Tarzan and Rambo series; shows the construction of whiteness in photography and cinema in the lighting of white and black faces, and analyses the representation of white women in end-of-empire fictions such as The Jewel in the Crown, and traces the disturbing association of whiteness with death, in vampire narratives and dystopian films such as Blade Runner and the Aliens trilogy.

The Theatre of the Absurd


Martin Esslin - 1961
    Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, and others—shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters’ inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin gave a name to the phenomenon in his groundbreaking study of these playwrights who dramatized the absurdity at the core of the human condition.Over four decades after its initial publication, Esslin’s landmark book has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett’s tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.

The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader


Amiri Baraka - 1991
    The Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader provides the most comprehensive selection of Baraka's work to date, spanning almost 40 years of a brilliant, prolific, and controversial career, in which he has produced more than 12 books of poetry, 26 plays, eight collections of essays and speeches, and two books of fiction. This updated edition contains over 50 pages of previously unpublished work, as well as a chronology and full bibliography.