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Understanding Neoliberalism Is Key to Building a Global Struggle for Economic Justice

By Benji Hart

When Cornel West called out Ta-Nehisi Coates for representing the “neoliberal wing” of the black freedom struggle “that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible” in The Guardian at the end of 2017, his essay received a fair amount of backlash. While some called his actions divisive, still others claimed the crux of his argument—that Coates “narrow racial tribalism and myopic political neoliberalism has no place for keeping track of Wall street greed, US imperial crimes or black elite indifference to poverty” —was flat-out wrong. West claims that Coates benefited from “a black neoliberal president” whose black respectability “‘opened a market’ for a new wave of black pundits, intellectuals, writers and journalists.”

Rasmea Odeh on Hopes, Dreams and Freedom in Palestine and the U.S.

By Rasmea Odeh

In the early morning on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, was arrested at her home by agents from the Department of Homeland Security. Sixty-five years old at the time, she was indicted in federal court that same morning and charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, an allegation based on answers she gave on a 20-year-old immigration application. Her arrest is part of a broader pattern of persecution by the federal government of Arabs and Muslims that are outstanding and outspoken leaders in their communities throughout the United States. On November 10, 2014, without a full and fair trail, Odeh was found guilty. She was detained at the St. Clair County Jail in Port Huron, Michigan pending sentencing. In March, almost 200 supporters filled two courtrooms in Detroit at her sentencing hearing where Judge Gershwin Drain sentenced Odeh to 18 months. Currently out on bond, Rasmea Odeh offered these words at the Incite! Color of Violence conference “Beyond the State: Inciting Transformative Possibilities.”

Comparative Environmental Policy

Comparative Environmental Policy: This course emphasizes the comparative study of the domestic and international environmental policies of advanced industrial states with an emphasis on the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The key questions under study are: 1) How do differences across countries in political institutions, political culture, regulatory style, and economic structure influence domestic and foreign environmental policies? We will focus in particular on how environmentalism emerged across countries and how science is introduced and interpreted in the policy process. 2) What impact do these differences have on the ability of states to achieve cooperative solutions to common environmental problems? 3) What influence do international environmental interactions have on domestic environmental policy? Dr. Loren Cass College of the Holy Cross

Race and American Politics

Race and American Politics: Race has a profound influence on American political and social life. Moreover, questions surrounding race, racism, and racial ideologies have impacted America from its founding, to the internal strife of the Civil War, to present debates surrounding affirmative action, immigration and electoral reform, and continue to impact the viability of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy and a (potentially) post-racial politics. Race also structures and influences our political processes in a number of subtle ways as well. For example, political campaigns, the dynamics of public opinion, and the degree to which groups and individuals work together to solve common problems, are all in some way influenced by how race and politics intersect with one another. This class will provide insight into these processes by highlighting some key questions in the study of race and American politics. In addition, this class will also introduce students to the perspectives and…

The US v. Trayvon Martin

Reposted from Counterpunch In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Senator Rand Paul, Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley (also sponsor of his state’s Stand Your Ground law), along with a host of other Republicans, argued that had the teachers and administrators been armed, those twenty little kids whose lives Adam Lanza stole would be alive today.   Of course, they were parroting the National Rifle Association’s talking points.  The NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative lobbying group responsible for drafting and pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, insist that an armed citizenry is the only effective defense against imminent threats, assailants, and predators. But when George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, teenage pedestrian returning home one rainy February evening from a neighborhood convenience store, the NRA went mute.  Continue reading this…

Mos Def’s Act of Protest

Repost from The New Yorker Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, and at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba, more than a hundred prisoners (approximately a hundred and six of the hundred and sixty-six held there) continued an ongoing hunger strike against the conditions of their confinement. The Obama Administration has been force-feeding them, citing “the policy of the Department of Defense to support the preservation of life and health by appropriate clinical means and standard medical intervention, in a humane manner.” In a further nod to the humane, it has decided, for the duration of Ramadan, to force-feed them only after sunset and before dawn. Continue reading this article in The New Yorker.

Scientific and Political Change

Prior to WW II, the American government played a relatively small role in the support of science, especially outside of its own institutions. That situation changed dramatically with the war and the Cold War that followed. We explore how these events transformed the role of science in American life, vastly enhancing the prestige of scientists, and shaping the extent and the nature of federal involvement in science. These and later developments, including the commercialization of academic research, raise important questions about the appropriate role of science and scientists in a democracy. In particular: How can we reconcile the need for scientific and technological expertise on the one hand, and for the democratic control of science on the other? We consider different theoretical approaches to this issue, and illustrate the dilemmas it poses with a number of empirical examples. Dr. Peter Taylor University of Massachusetts at Boston Scientific and Political Change

Problems of Identity at the Biology-Society Interface

This course will explore the entanglement of biological and social concepts in knowledge about racial and ethnic variation among human populations. The course compares the population genetics understanding of population variation and groupings to the sociological and anthropological conception of the social construction of race and ethnicity. Dr. Aaron Panofsky University of California Los Angeles Syllabus