I just wanted to check in quickly and share a reading list from one of my classes. School is going well, and I am definitely being challenged — especially in my theory course — I’ve always had a difficult time wrapping my mind around some of the things these ‘DWM’ ( Dead White Men) are saying. But I do appreciate that this class is taught in a way that completely decenters whiteness and works to decolonize the discipline — hence where I learned from the professor how they, too, refer to these ‘fathers of anthropology’ — DWM.
The other day while sitting through lecture in a medical anthropology course, where I am a TA, I leaned over to my fellow TA/cohort and told her that ‘This class is definitely taught by a Woman of Color!‘ — And in this case a Black woman. And she makes sure she calls out exploitation perpetuated by the discipline that has been advanced by whiteness and all the People of Color who have been ‘on display’ and rendered ‘Other’ by a mainstream anthropological gaze. This is definitely unlike my other classes, where the white professors almost never (if ever) questioned this racism and objectification. I am overjoyed by this discourse.
Quite a number of times over the past few years I have felt extremely lonely and have struggled to find like-minded decolonial anthropologists near me, and found myself all by myself for some time. The other day I was mentioning that I think I will really enjoy this journey — that isn’t even about a degree, but about increasing my knowledge and skills in order to ‘work my angle’ in Black breastfeeding support. I’m thankful for all of the new information I am learning, that will help me construct a larger framework in my work, and make me much more effective. And I’m super thankful that this is all happening in this type of environment. I know that many folks oftentimes find themselves at odds or feeling silenced and out of place with their faculty, committee, and others inside of the academy, so I know how fortunate I am.
Below is the reading list from of my classes (that just so happens to be taught by the same WOC from medical anth) — Anthropology and the Politics of Reproduction — and it’s taught from a feminist angle.
If you know me then you understand that I not a clinical person at all, and am not really interested in mechanics, so I appreciate these titles. Of course I’m no stranger to bell hooks, but I’m just now introduced to the others. As you will see my professor doesn’t let up on the reading she assigns, but that’s just alrighty. I’m a sucker for this type of stuff anyway. This is the stuff that grabs me.
- The Space Between Us: A Novel – Thrity Umrigar
- Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body, and Primitive Accumulation – Silvia Federici
- Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics – bell hooks
- The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction – Emily Martin
- Reproduction, Globalization, and the State: New Theoretical and Ethnographic Perspectives – Carole H. Browner
- Fixing Men: Sex, Birth Control, and AIDS in Mexico – Matthew Gutmann
- Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India – Cecilia Van Hollen
- Birth as an American Rite of Passage: Second Edition – Robbie E. Davis-Floyd
- You’re Not from Around Here, Are You?: A Lesbian in Small-Town America (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog) – Louise Blum
- Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel (California Series in Public Anthropology) – Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Hanan Ashrawi
- Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Paso por Sus Labios – Cherrie L. Moraga
This week, we’re reading Caliban and the Witch, so I posted the video by the author below. I’ve also put in the ‘abstract’ from amazon because it sounds just too good, and I want you to know about it if you didn’t already. Have you read this book, or any of the others?
‘CALIBAN AND THE WITCH is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and the conflict between body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization. “It is both a passionate work of memory recovered and a hammer of humanity’s agenda.’