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10 January 2007 @ 11:51 am
Colloq in Colonial Latin American history
- There are 12 students (including me) in this class;
- We have 12 required books and at least 2 additional books to reading for writing joint reviews
- I am so excited about the level of intellectual ability and interest among my colleagues
- The first day's discussion went well; I'm pleased with the contributions I made;
- 2 6-8 pg papers; 2 very short class presentations;
- design a syllabus for a semester-long undergraduate survey course in colonial LatAm
- write research proposal for in-class proposal competition (award = $monopolycash)

Seminar in Transnational Feminisms, Political Globalizations
- There are about 12 students in this class;
- We have 13, maybe 14, required books
- Everyone seems wonderful, interesting, smart;
- Everyone is interested in research topics that I find to be super relevant and compelling;
- At least 4 books that we're reading deal specifically with queer theory & colonialism/post-colonialism
- Final project is either a Lit Review, short research paper (20-25pgs), or some equivalent project of our choosing
- Weekly reading responses of about 4-5 DS pages

So far, NO REQUIRED RESEARCH PAPERS! I'll likely choose to do a research paper rather than lit review for my gender studies class, but I have a choice. I think I'm going to learn a lot this semester!

Let's hope that Danny's Colloq on Thursday night doesn't fuck with my elation. The class seems good. The assigned books are on documentary, photography and postmod analysis of reality. The Subject of Documentary by Michael Renov and Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes, trans by Richard Howard.
Massive violence has been accepted historically by citizens (but not by all; hence desertions, opposition, and the need for bribery and coercion to build armies) because it has been presented as a means to good ends. All over the world there are nations that commit aggression on other nations and on their own people, whether in the Middle Esat, or Latin America, or South Africa - nations that offend our sense of justice. Most people don't really want violence. But they do want justice, and for that sake, they can be persuaded to engage in war and civil war.

All of us, therefore, as we approach the next century, face an enormous responsibility: How to achieve justice without massive violence. Whatever in the past has been the moral justification for violence - whether defense against attack, or the overthrow of tyrrany - must now be accomplished by other means.

It is the monumental moral and tactical challenge of our time... Surely nations must defend themselves against attack, citizens must resist and remove oppressive regimes, the poor must rebel against their poverty and redistribute the wealth of the rich. But that must be done without the violence of war.

-Howard Zinn, Passionate Declarations (289)


One of the first steps to success in any debate, as opposed to open and critical conversation, is to control the terminology to give oneself the advantage, an dput one's opponents at a disadvantage. This is exactly what pacifists have done, in obstinately phrasing the disagreeming as one of nonviolence vs. violence. It is also an indication of how disempowere and delegitimized the critics of nonviolence are, that we typically use a dichotomy with which we fundamentally disagree, adn that we are pushed to expanding the boundaries of nonviolence so that tactics we support...may receive the blessing and protection of the pacifists.
- How Nonviolence Protects the State,3-4

For all its fanfar, pacifism is decrepit. Pacifist theory rests on a large number of manipulations, falsifications, and delusions. Pacifist paractics is ineffective and self-serving. In a relationary sense, not only has nonviolence never worked, it has never existed. Driving a car, eeating meat, eating tofu, paying rent, paying taxes... - all of thse are violent activities. The global system and everyone in it are soaked in violence; it is enforced, coerced, involuntary. If we were allowed to live the change we wish to see in the world, there wouldn't be much need for revolution. Our options have been violently constrained to the following: actively supporting the violence of the system; tacitly supporting that violence by failing to challenge it; supporting sone of the existing forceful attempts to destroy the system of violence; or pursuing new and original way sto fight and destroy that system. Privileged activists need to udnersand what the rest of the world' epople have known all too long: we are in the midst of a war, and neturality is not possible. There is nothign in this world currently derserving of the name peace. Rather, it is a question of whose violence frightens us most, and on whose side we will stand.
- How Nonviolence Protects the State, 100-101