maladroit: (Default)
[personal profile] maladroit
Hi class-mates! (did you see what I did there?) I have thoughts about class this morning.

During a discussion some few years back a faculty member/administrator shared a comment the former VP made about hydrangeas in her yard being a class marker. I'm not familiar enough with US class markers to know what my yard says about me - boxwood, azaleas, dogwood trees, camellias and some low-growing cedar bush are all planted in my front yard. Does my shrubbery indicate middle class while my lack of mowing and pruining indicates something else?

I also had a conversation with my boss about leaving his jacket at home this morning, and wondered how you forget your jacket when you walk out of the house when its 50something degrees outside, and then I remembered that he has a two car garage (that isn't filled with tools, old paint and boxes of who knows what). Is that a (middle?) class indicator too?
wild_irises: (Default)
[personal profile] wild_irises
I thought people might be interested in this.

Hegemony is based on naturalizing inequality to the point where we no longer recognize it and/or engage in it without the intent to do so. As students and junior scholars your success in academe is often based on networking with Senior scholars who have the power to radically impact your funding, advancement, tenure, and overall career. As you pass through each stage of academe the power they have over you diminishes. However, in order to pass through those stages you will likely have to swallow your pride, dilute your morals, and except things that in any other field of work you would be empowered to change. Those little compromises make you more and more immune to the vast array of inequalities and oppressions that fester in the academic world. This happens to everyone regardless of identity but is exacerbated by membership in a marginalized group and multiplied outward by the number of groups to which one belongs. This is something that we all know, that is written about in anthologies, and the subject of endless panels, and yet it is something that most would deny when reading it so starkly written out on a page as I have done here.

There's lots more.
jaeleslie: (Default)
[personal profile] jaeleslie
Bastille Day!

I was sailing along through the reading (lots of charts, basic elements, check check check) until I got to the last essay on Class and the Politics of Living Simply. Partly because the author starts with an old-time religion view (in the best possible sense) which is foreign to me. The historic period he* is talking about is exactly my period of reference, the 60s and 70s abandonment of traditional christian teaching on charity in favor of "new age" spiritual mores that the writer shows have been co-opted toward greed and narcissism.

(This is where I should have an introductory post to sketch more of where I come from on these issues, cause I don't know most of you except from brief WisCon meetings. Instead I'll just work it in a bit.)

Right where I had to stop and come back later was in the discussion of shame. How being poor or losing class standing is a matter of personal failing in our society, more and more over the last decades. This is not necessarily a new thing: I've read history of folks like mine from Oklahoma during the Depression, and one of the things that made working-class men like my granddad most close-mouthed was that they had to shoulder their own failure, in a mythological America where anyone could succeed if they applied themselves. So this sense of personal failure assigned to the poor has been a long time in the works. Shaming the poor for their misfortune goes back centuries (like in Monty Python, "you'll like the poor -- dreadful people"). But the people writing the histories have not much taken a christian attitude toward it. As soon as poor people give it any thought, the systemic nature of the failure is plain enough, that it is not personal but a world made wrong, where they? we? have got the shitty end of the stick.

This internalization of failure is something I am struggling with in my own family and my own self. My parents are all teachers, professionals, and I slid back on that ladder of achievement to clerical work, like my grandma, even though I have the college diploma. I understand a lot of the systemic reasons for my position, but I still feel the shame of personalized failure.

I didn't let the threat of that stick send me back to a job I didn't like after my maternity leave, to spend all my wages on day care, but I stayed home to raise my kid, with the traditional support of a salaried spouse. But I came from a class background that made it quite a surprise to me when I started to hear (over years) from other working-class women that they envied me the ability to stay home, instead of having to go out to work. Women getting into the workplace was the big push in Second Wave feminism (my mom wrote the book!) but then professional women kind of forgot about the moms and working class women who didn't have careers but just jobs. My husband has reassured me over and over that my value is not measured by my income, or lack thereof. I've satisfied those professional class inner demons by studying arts and literature -- to the extent that for some years I have filed my (self-employment) Schedule C, and can see the dreadful position of artists and writers in our society, who can hardly earn a living without a day job, or (like me) support of a patron (spouse).

So that's a piece of my mind that came loose with this reading. I especially liked the kind of mission statement at the end of the last author's selection:

It is the task of those who hold greater privilege to create practical strategies, some of which become clearer when we allow ourselves to fully empathize, to give as we would want to be given to.

[*is this author bell hooks?]
wrdnrd: (Default)
[personal profile] wrdnrd
Hello, everyone!

I was pretty crap about fostering discussion in here back in the spring, and i apologize for that. Post-Wiscon i've been a little more energized, so let's roll with it!

There seemed to be consensus to try the 10-week class discussion available from FedUp! (links below), so let's try kicking off the conversation with that material. I'm going to propose that we have a 1-week window of time for reading each packet of material, and then a 1-week window of time for discussion. That means we'll have 2 weeks for each packet, which will bring us to early november. How does everyone feel about that? It would look like the following.

discussion schedule::
* week 1:
- start reading 6/28
- start discussing 7/5

* week 2:
- start reading 7/12
- start discussing 7/19

And so forth.


reading material::
The readings are available as PDFs from the FedUp! website (listed as "primary" below). In case that webpage ever goes down, i've made a copy of the webpage itself in my Evernote (listed as "back-up" below), altho' the Evernote copy does not include the PDFs -- contact me to get those if you can't access the FedUp! website. Also, let me know if PDFs aren't a good format for you and i'll try to put them into something you can work with.

* primary: "The Class Class - A steel city study-discussion group about Classism"

* back-up: Copy of the above website at my Evernote (Contact me to get PDFs.)
wrdnrd: (Default)
[personal profile] wrdnrd
Many of you may have already seen this, but i wanted to signalboost this call for resources for an -isms 101 packet that is being put together for Wiscon:

http://community.livejournal.com/wiscon/248354.html
wrdnrd: (Default)
[personal profile] wrdnrd
There seemed to be some interest in getting to know each other a little, which i think is sensible and potentially really fun -- and potentially also really nerve-wracking for the shy and anxious among us. Like me. :) I feel really awkward when i'm put on the spot to make an introductory post all on my own, so let's try an introductory thread and see how that works.

The downside is that it will get old and slip down the main page so that as a group we might not see a new introduction if it happens weeks from now. Using Dreamwidth's tracking feature to keep an eye on the post is always a good option. And if i see an uptick in the number of members, i'll try throwing open a new post for introductions and general conversation.

And if it doesn't work at all, we can always ditch the idea later!

I'll kick off introductions with one of my own. Because i started the community, i'm going to blather a bit at length so people can get an idea of who i am and where i'm coming from, but please feel free to say as much or as little as you feel comfortable sharing!
wrdnrd: (Default)
[personal profile] wrdnrd
I think i found this site by following a link from a zine-maker's blog. It looks like a pretty good way to step into discussions of class and classism. A group in Pittsburgh recently ended a 10-week discussion of class, and not only did they post a list of their weekly readings online, they also put (almost) everything into PDFs:
http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup/classclass.htm

How would you feel about using their materials as a starting point for discussion? If we do, here's a proposal: The 1st PDF is 27 pages long. Perhaps we could give everyone about a week or so for reading it, and then open discussion the 1st weekend in april. We can determine when to start the 2nd reading once we gauge how long it takes to read and discussion the 1st one.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
wrdnrd: (Default)
[personal profile] wrdnrd
Hello! I hate writing 1st posts because i always feel like a pretentious twit, but i couldn't talk any of the cats into doing it for me so here goes.

The initial proposal for this community was a reading group, possibly using Barbara Jensen's bibliography from the class zine from WisCon 33. I haven't read anything from the biblio yet myself, but several titles looked likely (these are in no particular order except that i put the ones that seemed country-specific at the bottom) -- tho' i'm not sure how academic in tone they might be.  Also, links go to Worldcat so you can see if your local library has a book:
Any other titles anyone would like to suggest?

Other things i thought might be interesting to tackle in the community:
  • Sharing/analyzing news articles and weblinks.  For example: I've been coming across a lot of articles recently about poverty and food in the U.S. and classist assumptions about how poor people do/should eat.
  • Possibly working toward a classism 101 toolkit: what is class locally/globally, what is classism, how can we recognize classism, how can we combat classism, et cetera.
Some ground rules (to be added to the community's profile page):
  • Don't be an asshole.
  • Locked, private posts are welcome (if something is sensitive and not for public consumption).
  • Please don't post links to web articles that are not freely accessible.
Last question:  How do you each feel about introductory posts?  Comfortable with brief introductions on who we are and what brings us to discussions of class?  Or feel they're not really necessary?
Page generated Aug. 27th, 2016 04:48 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios