KPFA: Against the Grain [Program Feed]

  • Our Political Future on a Heating Planet
    Whether the U.S. is in or out of the Paris Climate Accord, woefully little has been done to stop global warming. Geoff Mann argues that the most serious effects from climate change won’t only be ecology, but also political. He discusses what possible political orders may take hold from the disruptions caused by a heating planet. Resources: Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright, Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future [1] Verso, 2018 [1]
  • Standard Identities, Complex Realities
    Diversity is measured in large part by the presence or absence of people belonging to one ethnoracial category (Black, Hispanic, etc.) or another. But do those long-standing categories still make sense, given intragroup differences, immigration to the U.S., and race-mixing? David Hollinger [1] thinks that if the goal of anti-discrimination policy is to match reward conferred to wrong suffered, identity classifications need to be rethought and reworked. (Encore presentation.) Robbins and Horta, eds., Cosmopolitanisms [2] NYU Press, 2017 David Hollinger, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America [3] Princeton University Press, 2017 [1] [2] [3]
  • Tantra’s Subversive Potential
    What can Hinduism’s meditative traditions offer to movements for social change? In especially Tantric principles Farah Godrej [1]finds resources for challenging gender, class/caste, and other hierarchies. Of particular significance, in Godrej’s view, is Tantra’s rejection of the matter/spirit dualism that pervades orthodox Hindu philosophical systems. (Encore presentation.) Farah Godrej, “Orthodoxy and Dissent in Hinduism’s Meditative Traditions: A Critical Tantric Politics?” [2] New Political Science Farah Godrej, Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline [3] Oxford University Press, 2011 [1] [2] [3]
  • Struggles Across Borders
    From at least the Haitian Revolution to the present, black and brown people in the Western Hemisphere have linked arms in solidarity with each other. Historian Paul Ortiz discusses how we can’t understand the United States and its past without looking beyond its borders. Resources: Paul Ortiz, An African American and Latinx History of the United States [1] Beacon Press, 2018 [1]
  • Making Sense of “1968”
    Half a century has elapsed since 1968, a year of globe-spanning revolt and rebellion. What ideas and principles animated the various struggles waged by students, workers, artists, and others? And in what ways can 1968 – and more generally what’s called the global 1960s – inform and inspire current struggles for social and economic justice? Timothy Scott Brown [1] discusses the meaning and legacy of “1968.” Timothy Scott Brown, West Germany and the Global Sixties: The Anti-Authoritarian Revolt, 1962-1978 [2] Cambridge University Press, 2015 [1] [2]
  • Political Language vs Political Reality
    America’s unique place in the world, the dream of prosperity for the hardworking — these are some of the myths that the United States has told about itself, but which critic Eric Cheyfitz argues are now fraying.  He discusses the role of ideology in the U.S., from the American Revolution to the present, and why it is no longer working. Resources: Eric Cheyfitz, The Disinformation Age: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy in the United States [1] Routledge, 2017 [1]
  • Fund Drive Special: Highlights from “Manufacturing Consent”
    Noam Chomsky’s ideas and critiques are featured in the documentary film “Manufacturing Consent.”
  • Fund Drive Special: Noam Chomsky on the Media
    Noam Chomsky is the most prominent and enduring figure on the American left. He is one of the most cited intellectuals in the world. With Edward Herman, he proposed a model for understanding elite control in the United States through the media system, which an iconic film explores.
  • Fund Drive Special: Plants and Animals of the Bay Area
    John Muir Laws writes about and creates illustrations of plants and wildlife found in the Bay Area.
  • Fund Drive Special: The History of Classical Anarchism
    The Paris Commune, the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Revolution — some of the most important social upheavals fomented by radicals were led or populated by anarchists. Yet most of us have very little knowledge of what the anarchist tradition is actually about, and the ideas of anarchism are often conflated with particular strategies or tactics. A film series attempts to set the record straight.
  • Fund Drive Special: Birds and Birdwatching
    Charles Hood discusses his book “A Californian’s Guide to the Birds Among Us.”
  • Fund Drive Special: Voices from the Annals of Pacifica
    Novelist and critic Gore Vidal, Malcolm X, and journalist Molly Ivins are just some of the luminaries of the left whose voices were given a platform on KPFA and Pacifica Radio.  We look back at some highlights.
  • Fund Drive Special: Inequality’s Impact on Health
    Stephen Bezruchka on why U.S. residents are less healthy than people in dozens of other countries.
  • Consulting the Masses
    Consumer capitalism and the focus group appear to go hand in hand. But Liza Featherstone argues that the focus group has radical origins and, in convoluted ways, points to the potential for collective input in an egalitarian society. She discusses the history of focus groups for consumer goods and electoral politics. Resources: Liza Featherstone, Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation [1] OR Books, 2018 [1]
  • Du Bois on Stalin’s U.S.S.R.
    What accounts for the allegiance W. E. B. Du Bois professed to Stalin’s U.S.S.R.? What did the influential African American thinker and writer believe had happened to white supremacy and racial prejudice in the Soviet Union? According to Vaughn Rasberry [1], Du Bois believed that emerging communist nations like the U.S.S.R. had the right to experiment, and to fail. (Encore presentation.) Vaughn Rasberry, Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination [2] Harvard University Press, 2016 [1] [2]

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