Since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been intrigued by the archives and online courses that have opened up to the global community free of charge. There are millions of people who want to continue to learn, and some who are forced to teach remotely during this time. One of my favorite free offerings is from Duke University Press. This radical publishing organization has created a collection of books and journals entitled Care in Uncertain Times Syllabus that will assist thinkers, readers and teachers in creating diverse and radical course work.
We’ve selected a few books and journals from the syllabus to share here at TERSE. You can access the entire collection here.
Care in Uncertain Times Syllabus
Hi‘ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart and Tamara Kneese, editors
Social Text 142, 2020
Catelijne Coopmans and Karen M. McNamara, editors
East Asian Science, Technology and Society 14:1, 2020
Jameta N. Barlow
Meridians 15:1, 2016
Pedagogy 17:1, 2017
Liisa H. Malkki
In The Need to Help Liisa H. Malkki shifts the focus of the study of humanitarian intervention from aid recipients to aid workers themselves. The anthropological commitment to understand the motivations and desires of these professionals and how they imagine themselves in the world “out there,” led Malkki to spend more than a decade interviewing members of the international Finnish Red Cross, as well as observing Finns who volunteered from their homes through gifts of handwork. The need to help, she shows, can come from a profound neediness—the need for aid workers and volunteers to be part of the lively world and something greater than themselves, and, in the case of the elderly who knit “trauma teddies” and “aid bunnies” for “needy children,” the need to fight loneliness and loss of personhood. In seriously examining aspects of humanitarian aid often dismissed as sentimental, or trivial, Malkki complicates notions of what constitutes real political work. She traces how the international is always entangled in the domestic, whether in the shape of the need to leave home or handmade gifts that are an aid to sociality and to the imagination of the world.
Aurora Levins Morales
In this revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice. Calling for a politics of integrity that recognizes the complicated wholeness of individual and collective lives, Levins Morales delves among the interwoven roots of multiple oppressions, exposing connections, crafting strategies, and uncovering the wellsprings of resilience and joy. Throughout these twenty-eight essays—twenty-one of which are new or extensively revised—she exposes the structures and mechanisms that silence voices and divide movements. The result is a medicine bag full of techniques and perspectives to build a universal solidarity that is flexible, nuanced, and strong enough to fundamentally shift our world toward justice. Intimately personal and globally relevant, Medicine Stories brings clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.
First published in 1999, the groundbreaking Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. Eli Clare’s revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation. With a poet’s devotion to truth and an activist’s demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare’s exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone. With heart and hammer, Exile and Pride pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced.
In Improvising Medicine, Julie Livingston tells the story of Botswana’s only dedicated cancer ward, located in its capital city of Gaborone. This affecting ethnography follows patients, their relatives, and ward staff as a cancer epidemic emerged in Botswana. The epidemic is part of an ongoing surge in cancers across the global south; the stories of Botswana’s oncology ward dramatize the human stakes and intellectual and institutional challenges of an epidemic that will shape the future of global health. They convey the contingencies of high-tech medicine in a hospital where vital machines are often broken, drugs go in and out of stock, and bed-space is always at a premium. They also reveal cancer as something that happens between people. Serious illness, care, pain, disfigurement, and even death emerge as deeply social experiences. Livingston describes the cancer ward in terms of the bureaucracy, vulnerability, power, biomedical science, mortality, and hope that shape contemporary experience in southern Africa. Her ethnography is a profound reflection on the social orchestration of hope and futility in an African hospital, the politics and economics of healthcare in Africa, and palliation and disfigurement across the global south.