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praxis

Robust Imaginaries
             +
Informed Practice

Welcome to the Praxis Center, an online resource center for scholars, activists and artists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. From action research and radical scholarship to engaged teaching and grassroots activism to community and cultural organizing, and revelatory art practice, we make visible imperative social justice work being done today.

Praxis is
the synergy between
theory and practice,
knowledge and relevance,
ideas, images, and the real.

Contact

Karla Aguilar
Program Coordinator
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
karla.aguilar@kzoo.edu
269-337-7033

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“Rediscovery of the Ordinary”: Ethics, Media, and Violence

By Babli Sinha

This year, we have been awash in images of violence committed by states, by domestic partners and parents, and by organizations and individuals. The images of children’s bodies on the beach in Gaza and of Tamir Rice being shot by Cleveland police officers, to name but two examples, are presented by the media as evidence of an extreme level of brutality, even though the kinds of violence on display are hardly unusual. For some, the presentation of the events as extraordinary spectacles has a very undesirable impact in which they stop engaging with the suffering of others altogether. If the violence is exceptional rather than systemic, why witness it? Why traumatize ourselves by encountering the suffering?

Susan Sontag, in her book, Regarding the Pain of Others, answers these objections by reflecting on the ethics of viewing in connection with memory:

“Remembering is an ethical act, has ethical value in and of itself. Memory is, achingly, the only relation we can have with the dead.”

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The Praxis of Human Rights from Ferguson to Guantanamo

By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights

Praxis is the intersection of theory and practice and, as we commemorate international human rights day, it is only fitting that we examine the praxis of human rights. How can we have laws – international laws, ratified by the vast majority of countries – outlawing discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, laws requiring states and communities to take proactive steps to ensure that all children are safe and laws that ban torture, at the same time that young black boys are being beaten and shot by police with impunity? Or at the same time that reports are being released, nine months late, detailing the systemic targeting and torture of Muslim men by US government officials? Does the failure of implementation mean the promise of human rights is false? Continue reading →

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