Arm me with Knowledge!
November 16, 2017 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Looking for reading material to help support/educate me on matters I care about!

Ever since that pivotal night a little over a year ago, I've become much more interested in/vocal about politics and the important cultural/societal issues at stake than I ever used to be. I feel like for better or worse we are in an incredible time of transition, and I don't want to put my head in the sand and not be actively engaged in it. But the more I read discussions on Twitter (I know) or in friend's posts or even in Metafilter posts, the more I realize that I don't feel equipped to contribute to the discussion. I have opinions, but don't always feel like I can solidly support/defend/articulate how I feel about them in discussion so I end up not saying anything at all.

This is not to say that I want to go out and argue with people online all the time, but I'd like to have a deeper understanding of the history and workings--even the actual definitions/historical meaning-- of certain issues that I believe in.

For ex. Intersectionality. I know it sounds dumb on my part but it's a term used quite a bit these days in discussions I read. But I don't know the history of the term and its usage until I just googled it right now. And even then the quick web description is just a superficial reading of the concept. I would like to understand the concept and the context surrounding its development more deeply so as to properly apply it in discussion.

To that end, what are some vital reading materials/important works regarding such current "hot-button" issues:

- intersectional feminism
- gender politics/ disparity/pay gap
- racism in modern times
- abortion/reproductive rights
- lgbtq history
- economic issues that have helped contribute to our current state of affairs politically

I know I'm asking for pretty broad stuff, but honestly any standout work that relates in any way to these issues would be of interest to me. Is there a piece of writing or audio that really help you more deeply understand these things?

These don't have to be textbooks--novels, articles, tweet threads, podcasts, comments, even fiction welcome. Any modern young writer whose work I should not miss. Just anything that would help me expand my knowledge base about these issues.

Thanks! :)
posted by sprezzy to Education (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Ostensibly about for-profit colleges, Tressie McMillan Cottom's book Lower Ed takes a well-informed sociological look at adjacent issues of neoliberal economies, gender, and race. It's also a compelling read.
posted by pantarei70 at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Two essential books for your last bullet:

Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism by Pestritto.
The Creature from Jekyll Island by Griffin

Both are original sourced history/economics. Accept nothing but original source. Reject any scholarly work with minor blerbs from sources in the bibliography no matter how reputable the professor/author. Get the FULL context of the source. Always question until the answer makes sense to YOU. Trust no one.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sent you a MeMail!
posted by lyssabee at 3:17 PM on November 16, 2017

- racism in modern times

I recommend The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. And, then, checking out some of Ta-Nehisi Coates's well-researched and cited pieces and books, specifically The Case for Reparations. And, honestly, everybody should pick up and read thoroughly Foner's Reconstruction, because seeing everything about the modern era through that lens is both enlightening and vital.
posted by General Malaise at 5:31 PM on November 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Creature from Jekyll Island by Griffin

I'll flag this based on the Wikipedia summary of Griffin.
posted by ovvl at 7:42 PM on November 16, 2017

bell hooks has some good introductions to intersectionality.
posted by ovvl at 7:55 PM on November 16, 2017

Here's the link to Amazon for "Creature from Jekyll Island"

Over a thousand comments railed at five stars. You should see if you can find it at the library. Check out the bibliography and the original sources.

This book is definitely one of those books that you have to research yourself rather than rely on what "experts" tell you about it. Even wikipedia. Very few people on Amazon are dissatisfied with it so it might be worth investigating yourself.

Trust no one. Don't even trust me. Find out for yourself.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 6:11 AM on November 18, 2017

I found Ghettoside by Jill Leovy to be helpful, and I have picked up Evicted by Matthew Desmond on recommendation. For podcasts, try Pod Save the People.
posted by slanket wizard at 2:43 PM on November 25, 2017

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