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Freedom Dreams Syllabus

By Alice Kim Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, Stateville Prison This course explores the freedom dreams of political thinkers, artists, writers, activists and ordinary people in the US and beyond. We will engage with multiple genres (personal narrative, graphic memoir, poetry, speeches) to explore the meaning of freedom. Using an intersectional lens, we will consider the ways in which race, class, gender, and historical/social/cultural context impact our understanding and dreams of freedom. We will also explore the power of imagination to transform individuals, communities, and society.

River of Resistance

By Cheryl Johnson-Odim

“Little by little the raindrops swell the river.” (African Proverb)

All over this country, and the world, women (and some male allies) marched on Saturday, January 21st, 2017. Each woman who marched was a rain drop in a river of resistance to an increasing turn by demagogic leaning world leaders toward policies that trample on human rights. For us in the United States those world leaders are Donald Trump and Mike Pence and their allies in the Republican led Congress: Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and others.

One Week of Poems on Love and Terror

By adrienne maree brown

In this moment, when the future is so uncertain, Praxis Center turns to poetic offerings by adrienne maree brown. As she wrote on her blog, “i still believe it is the core work of our species – to reason, to feel, to reconcile power and brilliance and compassion, to expand into our miraculous potential. i am relinquishing whatever illusions make me think i know the future, and making more room to co-create something worth living into. i am learning to create futures/poems/stories about what i don’t know, what i can’t explain, where i am not sure.” 

As we continue to do the work of building a more humane and just world, our words can help move, shape, and inspire us. We are “learning as we go.”

Straight Outta Intersectionality: A Review of “Straight Outta Compton” from My Six Selves

By Dr. Billye Sankofa Waters

It is not a surprise that the film Straight Outta Compton has had great success at the box office. To many hip hop heads, this biopic about NWA, one of the most pivotal and provocative groups in hip hop history, is long overdue.  However, it wouldn’t be an NWA film without controversy. In this article, Dr. Billye Sankofa Waters responds to the film from her personal and scholarly platforms.  

I recognize the social significance and lyrical contributions of NWA; I grew up as a young girl under their watch. As a matter of fact, most of the hip hop/rap I first listened to was from the West Coast and I often found myself caught between wanting to be a “bad bitch” or a “gangsta bitch” (but of course never a “hoe bitch” or a “crack bitch”).

Now, as a grown woman, I felt very conflicted about going to see this movie. In the past few months leading up to the release, we’ve all been reminded of the remarkable contributions Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have made in the entertainment industry – e.g. bringing the West Coast into the hip hop conversation, discovering/producing talent such as Eminem, Snoop, and Kendrick, showing a universal evolution from “niggaz wit attitudes” to daddies with family-friendly adventures who make million dollar industry deals. The latter contribution is the most brilliant and impressive.

Gender, Race, Science & Technology

What can we learn about science and technology—and what can we do with that knowledge? Who are “we” in these questions?—whose knowledge and expertise gets made into public policy, new medicines, topics of cultural and political discourse, science education, and so on? How can expertise and lay knowledge about science and technology be reconciled in a democratic society? How can we make sense of the interactions of living and non-living, humans and non-humans, individual and collectivities in the production of scientific knowledge and technologies? The course takes these questions as entry points into an ever-growing body of work to which feminist, anti-racist, and other critical analysts and activists have made significant contributions. The course also takes these questions as an invitation to practice challenging the barriers of expertise, gender, race, class, and place that restrict wider access to and understanding of the production of scientific knowledge and technologies. In that…

Contemporary Issues Among Chicanas

Contemporary Issues Among Chicanas: This course will examine the contemporary conditions of Chicanas in the United States. The first half of the course will focus mostly on theoretical issues relating to feminism; while the second half will focus mostly on institutions in the areas of immigration, work, politics, and education that impact Chicanas’’ lives. Material is presented in a comparative focus–by noting similarities and differences to other Latinas and focusing on variations among Chicanas. In addition, one goal of this course is to help you develop critical thinking skills about issues. In addition, the nature of exams and assignments for this class are designed to develop and emphasize writing. Dr. Ortiz University of California Los Angeles