California Ideology Reading Group
Organized by Sanjana Iyer and Joseph Lubitz
7:15 pm–9 pm
Sunday, September 15th
Tuesday, September 24th
Sunday, September 29th
Tuesday, October 8th
Free and open to the public
To register or see reading list, please email email@example.com
The 1995 essay “The Californian Ideology” by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, argued that "the social liberalism of New Left and the economic liberalism of New Right have converged into an ambiguous dream of a hi-tech ‘Jeffersonian democracy’ with roots as old as Slavery. Radical transformations of the terms and conditions of life, work, and sociality have been and continue to propagate in Silicon Valley. Beyond privileging the biographical mystique of the entrepreneur, or even the legends of the Silicon Valley ideology proper, we understand these shifts as continuous with longer historical processes of industrialization, colonialism, and migration. From Mountain View to Bangalore to Israel, there are many and multiplying uncanny silicon valleys—specific places that are also the seeming sublimation of place.
This reading group is an attempt to think through the ecological, technological, and cultural transformations and resistances produced by the “Californian” infrastructure, as well as the racial and colonial forms of subjection, desire, and erasure that are its own condition of possibility.
James Baldwin's America
Reading, discussion, and workshop
Sponsored by Humanities New York
Facilitated by Marwa Helal
April 1-May 24, 2019
Mondays, 7-9pm (dates below)
Capacity: 15 participants
Registration cost: $15
Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Preference will be given to participants who can attend all sessions. Dates below:
April 1, 8, 15, 22 (skipping 29), May 6, 20
May 24: Final discussion and presentation
Participants will be led through close readings and discussion of James Baldwin's collected essays, novels, and short stories, over the course of five-weeks. Discussions will center on (but not be limited to) the following works: "The Creative Process"; "A Talk To Teachers"; "The American Dream and the American Negro"; "Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They're Anti-White"; "Previous Condition"; Another Country; and more. We will think through the map Baldwin has left us as writers, educators, citizens of this complicated country. How relevant his words remain and why? Each workshop will include generative writing exercises based on our readings and discussion. Students will have the opportunity to share their own works in a culminating presentation during the sixth session.
Books are available for loan upon request (a $15/book deposit is required).
Marwa Helal is the author of I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem and Brooklyn Museum. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.
James Baldwin's America is sponsored by Humanities New York, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, receiving federal, state, city, and private funding. It provides leadership and support across the state’s intellectual and cultural sectors through grants, programs, networking, and advocacy, in order to encourage critical thinking and cultural understanding in the public arena. www.humanitiesny.org
Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You!Reading and Discussion ProgramFacilitated by OlaRonke AkinmowoSeptember 2018-February 2019Saturdays (dates below), 2-3:30pmWendy’s Subway is pleased to present Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You!, a monthly reading and discussion group developed and sponsored by Humanities New York, and facilitated by OlaRonke Akinmowo.Participants will come together over the course of six months to engage with the life and work of Audre Lorde (1934-1992), self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and foremother of intersectionality and radical thinking around race and gender.This program is free and open to the public, although pre-registration is required. Attendance at all sessions is not required, but recommended!September 29
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, selected essays (The Crossing Press, 1984)
October 20Alexis de Veaux, Warrior Poet: The Biography of Audre Lorde, Part I (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004)
November 17The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997)December 15The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997)Discussion and writing workshopJanuary 19Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, selected essays (Persephone Press, 1982)February 23The Cancer Journals (Aunt Lute Books, 1980)OlaRonke Akinmowo is a Black feminist nerd, scholar, and interdisciplinary artist who primarily works in collage, paper making, printmaking, and installation. She is also a set decorator, yoga teacher, and mom. In 2014 she started The Free Black Women’s Library, a public art project that centers and celebrates Black women writers, artists and activists. This interactive biblio installation currently holds a collection of over one thousand books written by Black women, the library also features workshops, readings, performance, film screenings and critical conversation. The library has been installed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCADA Museum, Weeksville Heritage Center, Concord Baptist Church and Nurture Art Gallery. Ola is a recipient of grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Awesome Foundation, was a Culture Push for Utopian Practice Fellow and an Artist in Residence at the Laundromat Project and The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Studio. Follow her on social media @thefreeblackwomenslibrary to get in touch or stay connected.Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You! is sponsored by Humanities New York, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, receiving federal, state, city, and private funding. It provides leadership and support across the state’s intellectual and cultural sectors through grants, programs, networking, and advocacy, in order to encourage critical thinking and cultural understanding int he public arena. www.humanitiesny.orgImage: OlaRonke Akinmowo, Praise the Lorde, collage and handmade paper
The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power by Mark Neocleous
Led by Molly Osberg
Schedule: Weekly, Tuesdays February 17-March 17, 7-8pm
To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by February 12th with subject line: "Fabrication of Social Order"
The production of the post-9/11 American police force has been studied and debated at length; its tactics have been deconstructed, its oppressive policies protested, its financial incentives to surveil and intimidate well-documented. This reading group seeks to enrich that analysis by studying the origins of policing itself, specifically through a discussion of The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power (2000), a book by the British scholar Mark Neocleous. Over five weeks, the group will read and discuss the book, which focuses on the construction of a narrow definition of policing throughout the 18th century and traces the influences that led to our current understanding of social order. In addition to discussing this specific text, the group will engage with current debates on the state of policing and police power, in New York City and across the country.
Download the book here.
Feminist Reading Group
Facilitated by Elvira Basevich and Ruby Brunton
Schedule: Bi-Weekly, Thursdays October 16-December 18, 7-9pm
To sign up email email@example.com with the subject line: "Feminist Reading Group"
Along with reading the voices of all women, especially those that are most marginalised, this feminist reading group hopes to create an informal space for dialogue and critical inquiry. We meet twice a month and focus on key philosophical, sociological, and contemporary feminist writing, with special attention to intersectional feminism, critiques of mainstream and white feminism, and Marxist theoretical frameworks. A provisional reading list includes Audre Lorde, Silvia Federici, Hester Eisenstein, and bell hooks. Readings will be drawn from both academic texts and spaces often ignored by academic discourse.
The reading group will culminate in a public event, which may include either a panel discussion, a poetry reading, or a performance, depending on the interests of the group's participants.
Week 1 (October 16): A Critique of White Feminism
Audre Lorde, "An Open Letter to Marry Daly," 1979
Mia McKenzie, "Why I'm Not Really Here for Emma Watson's Feminism Speech at the U.N." blackgirldangerous.org, 2014
Week 2 (October 30): Reproductive Health
Hester Eisenstein, "Fault Lines of Race and Class," Feminism Seduced: How Global Elites Use Women's Labor and Ideas to Exploit the World, 2010
Committee for Puerto Rican Decolonization, "35% of Puerto Rican Women Sterilized," The CWLU Herstory Website Archive, late 1970's
Angela Davis, "Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights," 1990
Linda Burnham, "1% Feminism," opendemocracy.net, 8 April 2013
Hester Eisenstein, "'Lean In' While Holding up 'Half the Sky': On the Marketing of Neoliberal Feminism," 2014
Roxanne Gray, "Emma Watson? Jennifer Lawrence? These aren't the feminists you're looking for," The Guardian, 10 October 2014
Week 3 (November 13): Sex/Work
bell hooks, "Hardcore Honey: bell hooks Goes on the Down Low with Lil Kim." papermag.com, 11 July, 2014.
Despentes, Virginie. "Porno Witches." King Kong Theory, 2010.
Marie, Peechington. "The Erasure of Maya Angelou's Sex Work History." titsandass.kinja.com, 30 May, 2014.
Tina Fey Hates Sex Workers. titsandass.com
Week 4 (November 20): Feminist Performance Art
Cahun, Claude. Excerpts from Disavowels: or Cancelled Confessions.
Krauss, Rosalind. "Claude Cahun and Dora Maar: By Way of Introduction." Bachelors, 1999.
Downie, Louise. "Sand Nom: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore." Jersey Heritage Magazine, 2005.
Week 5 (December 4): Marxist Theory
Federici, Silvia. "Wages Aginst Housework." 1975.
Kollontai, Alexandra. "The Social Basis of the Woman Question." 1909.
Week 6 (December 18): Queer Theory & Queer Identity
"We are." or "We shall be."
Manifestos declare and make distinctions – they carry the intentions of their author(s), which are often abstract and pursuant of an ideal reality--declaring x or y; or, specifying what should be. The form's use-value is clear through its stated function and purpose, yet the diversity of forms these texts take, and the multiplicity of intentions underlying them across a variety of movements complicates what appears to be a clear cut practice. Morphing from more obvious political documents to accelerationist, futurist, inferrealist, or situationist twists on the form of the manifesto, this group will ask what similarities in form carry through such divergent intents?
This group will investigate the manifesto's many forms and interpretations. Reading across different time periods and places, we will gain a sense of its use and restriction in order to better understand its application, use-value, and form in writing.
The manifesto as fiction
The manifesto as poetry
The manifesto as art
The manifesto as revolution
The manifesto as...
Manifesto Mondays will meet on the second and last Monday of each month.
Monday, March 10 - 8pm
Mina Loy, International Psycho-Democracy
Mina Loy, Aphorisms on Futurism
Suggested reading: Alan Badiou, Second Manifesto for Philosophy
Monday, April 14 - 8pm
Valerie Solanas, SCUM Manifesto
Monday, April 28 - 8pm
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, pt. 1
Monday, May 12 - 8pm
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, pt. 2
Monday, May 26 - 7:30pm
Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek, #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics
Monday, June 9 at 8pm
Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek, #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics
Monday, June 23 at 8pm
Dodie Bellamy, Barf Manifesto