Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“U of T Teaching Assistants Reject Deal and Go on Strike,” by Gerard Di Trolio. rankandfile.ca, February 28, 2015.
On March 2, 6,000 graduate student Teaching Assistants at University of Toronto went on strike after voting overwhelmingly to reject a tentative agreement.On Tuesday, York University TAs also went on strike, shutting down classes. The strikes are the latest in a wave of contingent academic worker organizing, which has seen adjunct walkouts and grad student unionizing in the last month alone.
Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
“It’s Not Just the Drug War,” by Marie Gottschalk. Jacobin, March 5, 2015.
Mass incarceration provokes a lot of outrage, but few understand its root causes and what’s needed to overhaul the system, say political scientists Marie Gottschalk. In this wide-ranging interview, she carefully traces the history of the prison system and emphasizes that mass incarceration can’t be solved by just ending the War on Drugs.
Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
“A Few Words on Russell Tovey and Why If It Weren’t for My Father, I Wouldn’t Be a Faggot,” by Noah Michelson. The Huffington Post, March, 3, 2015.
Russell Tovey’s recent remarks on effeminacy have provided much fodder for the ever-relevant discussion of femmephobia among gay men. Are we shocked that this kind of language is commonplace in the LGBT community or does it mean something different coming from an actor starring in thegay TV show of the moment? Using his own life experience as “an extremely effeminate boy,” Michelson bravely unpacks Tovey’s comments, by locating him in a gay culture where masculinity is the new frontier.
Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
“Closing the TV-Guest Gender Gap.” by Steven I. Weiss. The Atlantic, March 3, 2015.
On his quest to close the TV-guest gender gap at his Manhattan-based studio, a host found that the challenge isn't a lack of female intellectuals; it's about how public industries and social institutions are set up in favor of men. While the host in question was able to achieve a level of gender parity, the fact remains that “women occupy just 15 percent of editorial pages, corporate boards, and congressional seats,” and the ratios are similar in “almost every major literary journal and intellectual magazine.” Who knew achieving gender equality could be this difficult in the bastion of feminism?
Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
“ECB bond buying: the devil’s in the detail,” by Lindsay Whipp. Financial Times, March 5, 2015.
Mario Draghi held a press conference recently to talk about the European Central Bank's new bond-buying program. The event was held in Cyprus and protested vehemently by Cypriot citizens opposed to the austerity policies that the ECB and IMF have forced on Cyprus. At the conference, Draghi confirmed that the ECB won't buy Greek or Cypriot government bonds under the quantitative easing program; he said Greece could get in on the bond-buying, but only if the country agrees to the austerity measures imposed by the ECB's bailout program.
Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
“This Changes Something,” by Dru Oja Jay. Briarpatch Magazine. January 2, 2015.
In this review of Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything, Dru Oja Jay, like Klein, paints a sober picture of the effectiveness of environmental NGOs. Though Klein critiques how “Big Greens” are often in cahoots with the corporate sector leaving them “embedded within the neoliberal status quo,” Oja Jay pushes this assessment further by illustrating the pitfalls of foundation funding in climate justice organizing. Overall, Klein’s book is portrayed as a useful tool for continued resistance against fossil fuel giants, but we need a few extra steps to really change everything.
James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
“The Republican Discovery of the Poor,” by Thomas B. Edsall. The New York Times, February 11, 2015.
Possibly foreshadowing the rhetoric of 2016, some conservatives are incorporating populist notions of class antagonism into their political vernacular. Because the corporate agenda of the Republican Party rejects policy initiatives that actually improve the lives of the working class, the authenticity of their claims is obviously questionable. However, because our political discourse is so dominated by the emotional bond with certain values, this turn is potentially dangerous for the Democrats.
Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
“Data is the new '___': Industrial Metaphors of Big Data,” by Sara M. Watson. DIS Magazine, February 17, 2015.
Big data is like oil, gold, the ocean, smog, breadcrumbs, the new bacon, the new black…the list of metaphors for big data is, like big data, seemingly endless. These metaphors influence our understanding of data as an abstract, industrial, trendy and impersonal process. But of course, if those who control language control the world, and those who control data also control the world, we’d be wise to invent some new metaphors––ones drawing on agency, embodiment, and personal identity—–before we lose track of ourselves in the tsunami of oily gold.
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
“Labor and Letters.” N+1, Winter 2015.
When should academics, editors, artists, leftists, and white collar workers unionize—and when should they sacrifice greater pay for the “higher cause”? Who loses out when white collar workers prefer to avoid confrontation with their bosses? At small and low-budget magazines like Dissent or Harper’s there does not seem to be one answer to the question—it is a matter of constant negotiation with a tight budget and constant accommodations to the ebbs and flows of an external capitalist environment.
Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
“How I Learned To Be OK With Feeling Sad,” by Mac McClelland. Buzzfeed, February 20, 2015.
Accompanying the release of her new book, Irritable Hearts, McClelland’s long-form essay details life with PTSD and coming to terms with the feeling of sadness. She recounts her challenges in settling into her sadness and the keen observation that in a world where “it takes a big man to cry,” “it takes a bigger woman still, to feel the strength of a sob, without apology or shame.”