(“New World Bookstore” by Linda Burke)

In a post about historical knowledge as a way out of hierarchical and divisive relationships within and amongst groups, Missprofe asked: What books would you recommend? And that began a multi-blog conversation about books that raise consciousness about history, oppression, and overcoming.
Two Questions are on the floor and they are open to EVERYONE who stops by here or wants to take it to their own blog. (I would especially love to see some of my readers who are historians tactile this issue.)

The questions

  1. What books would you recommend to learn more about cultures, histories, and oppressions in order to be a more knowledgeable person and better ally across difference?
  2. What books made you think deeply, differently, excitedly about class/ism? (Historical and Contemporary texts welcome.)

These are the many answers from other people who have particpated here and elsewhere. Due to moving the blog, all of their answers are posted below, but you can particpate in the conversation by leaving your suggestions in the comment section. These are links to people who have taken up the challenge on their own blogs, check them out (for those that are archived, I’ve transferred the book lists here to make sure you can always access them):

  1. Tracey:Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States really helped me unlearn some of that “America is the freest country ever!” garbage they drill into us in school and start realizing all the horrific acts of racism that we never hear anything about.And I would also mention Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
  2. vegankid:James Lowen: “Lies My Teacher Told Me”, “Sundown Towns”, and “Lies Across America”Lerone Bennett, Jr: “Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America”Aurora Levins Morales: “Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenoes

    Noel Ignatiev: “How the Irish Became White

    Peter Irons: “A People’s History of the Supreme Court

    Those were the first ones i thought of.

  3. labyrusFinally something where being a history student comes in handy.CLR James – “The Black Jacobins” – The true and very powerful story of the Haitian Revolution.Christopher Hill – “The World Turned Upside Down” – The English Civil War and the intellectual life of poor people in England in the 17th Century. Very interesting stuff.

    Actually anything by either of these writers

    Umm I’ll post more when I get home, I don’t want to misremember names or titles but I’ve got a crapload to reccomend

    Howard Zinn’s , “A People’s History Of The United States” is heartily seconded.

  4. fab:I love these kinda lists:

    Massacre of the Dreamers by Ana Castillo

    Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano

  5. ripley:_Hammer & Hoe : Alabama Communists during the Great Depression_, by Robin D.G. Kelley
    the story of sharecroppers you never heard

    Eduardo Galeano’s _Memory of fire_ books blew my mind in college

    E.P. Thompson’s _The Making of the English Working Class_ or at least the chapter “Time on the cross”

    I’ve got a million more but those were some of the best for me

  6. little light:Farid Esack’s “Qur’an, Liberation, and Pluralism” is a brilliant account of interfaith organizing against South African Apartheid and the adaptation of ideas like liberation theology to an African Muslim/Hindu/Christian joint struggle.

  1. Economics and Class StudiesAmbedkar, B. R. Annihilation of Caste. Bhim Patrika Publications, 1936.Black, William K. The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry. University of Texas Press, 2005.

    Chalcraft, John T. The Striking Cabbies of Cairo and Other Stories: Crafts and Guilds in Egypt, 1863-1914. State University of New York Press, 2004.

    Chalermsripinyorat, Rungrawee. “Politics of Representation: A Case Study of Thailand’s Assembly of the Poor.” Critical Asian Studies 36, no. 4 (2004): 541-566.

    Darlington, Ralph. “There is no Alternative: Exploring the Options in the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike.” Capital & Class no. 87 (Autumn 2005):71-95.

    Ghose, Sagarika. “The Dalit in India.” Social Research 70, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 83-109.

    Grey, Mary. “Dalit Women and the Struggle for Justice in a World of Global Capitalism.” Feminist Theology: The Journal of Britain & Ireland School of Feminist Theology 14, no. 1 (Sept. 2005): 127-149.

    Gutman, Huck. “Capitalism as a World Economy.” Monthly Review 55, no. 4 (Sept. 2003): 1-13.

    Lukács, Georg. History and Class Consciousness. MIT Press, 1972.

    Meera, Nanda. “A ‘Broken People’ Defend Science: Reconstructing the Deweyan Buddha of India’s Dalits.” Social Epistemology 15, no. 4 (Oct. 2001): 335-365.

    Perelman, Michael. The Invention of Capitalism: Classical Political Economy and the Secrete History of Primitive Accumulation. Duke University Press, 2000.

    Reiman, Jeffery. The Rich Get Rich The Poor Get Prison, Eighth Edition. Allyn & Bacon, 2006.

    Rourke, Thomas R. “Michael Novak and Yves R. Simon on the Common Good and Capitalism.”
    Review of Politics 58, no. 2 (Spring 1996): 229-258.

    Sharma, Arvind. “Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the Aryan Invasion and the Emergence of the Caste
    System in India.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73, no. 3 (Sept. 2005): 843-870.

    Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America. Knopf, 2004.

    Jondhale, Surendra and Johannes Beltz, eds. Reconstructing the World: B. R. Ambedkar and Buddhism in India. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    Weil, Robert. “Conditions of the Working Classes in China.” Monthly Review 58, no. 2 (June
    2006): 25-48.

    Woods, Ellen Meiksins. The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View. Verso, 2002.

    Marxian/Marxist Thought

    Foster, John B. Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature. Monthly Review Press, 2000.

    Hinkelammert, Franz J. The Ideological Weapons of Death: A Theological Critique of Capitalism. Orbis Books, 1986.

    Llorente, Renzo. “Analytical Marxism and the Division of Labor.” Science & Society 70, no. 2
    (2006): 232-251.

    Mandel, Ernest. An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory. Pathfinder Press, 1974.

    Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy Volume I. Translated by Ben Fowkes.
    London: Pelican Books, 1976. Reprint, Penguin Classics, 1990.

    Tucker, Robert C. The Marx-Engels Reader. W. W. Norton & Company, 1978.

    Wayne, Mike. “Fetishism and Ideology: A Reply to Dimoulis and Milious.” Historical Materialism 13, no. 3 (2005: 193-218.

    Wood, Elisabeth Jean. Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    Politics and International Relations

    Achcar, Gilbert. “U.S. Imperial Strategy in the Middle East.” Monthly Review 55, no. 9 (Feb.
    2004): 23-36.

    Achar, Gilbert. Eastern Cauldron: Islam, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq in the Marxist Mirror. Monthly Review Press, 2003.

    Davis, Michael. “Human Rights and the War in Iraq.” Journal of Human Rights 4, no. 1 (January- March 2005): 37-44.

    Dean, John W. Worse the Watergate: The Secrete Presidency of George W. Bush. Little, Brown and Company, 2004.

    Dorrien, Gary. “Consolidating the Empire: Neoconservatism and the Politics of American
    Dominion.” Political Theology 6, no. 4 (Oct. 2005): 409-428.

    FitzGerald, Francis. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. Back Bay Books, 2002.

    Friedman, Thomas L. From Beirut to Jerusalem. Anchor, 1990.

    Karp, Walter. The Politics of War: Two Wars Which Forever Altered The Political Life of the American Republic, 1890-1920. Moyer Bell, 2003.

    Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Wiley, 2003.

    Mann, Michael. Incoherent Empire. Verso, 2003.

    Mann, Michael. The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    Mayer, Jane. “The Hidden Power: The Legal Mind Behind the White House’s War on Terror.” New Yorker 82, no. 20 (July 3, 2006).

    Power, Samantha. A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide. Basic Books, 2002.

    Roseman, Nils. “Privatized War and Corporate Impunity.” Peace Review 17, no. 2 & 3 (April-Sept. 2005): 273-287.

    Silverstein, Ken. “The Minister of Civil War: Bayan Jabr, Paul Bremer, and the Rise of the Iraqi
    Death Squads.” Harper’s Magazine 313, no. 1875 (August, 2006): 67-73.

    Sluka, Jeffery A. Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

    Webb, Gary. Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press, 1999.

    Queer Studies (I need to work on reading more on this)

    Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vintage, 1990.

    Valocchi, Stephen and Robert J. Corber, eds. Queer Studies: An Interdisciplinary Reader. Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2003.

    Wilchins, Riki. Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer. Alyson Books, 2004.

    Race (Not covered in Book section)

    Aguilar Jr., Filomeno. “Tracing Origins: Ilustrado Nationalism and the Racial Science of Migration Waves.” Journal of Asian Studies 64, no. 3 (Aug. 2005): 605-637.

    Blum, Edward J. “‘There Won’t Be Any Rich People In Heaven’: The Black Christ, White
    Hypocrisy, and The Gospel According To W. E. B. Du Bois.” The Journal of African American
    History 90, no. 4 (2005): 368-386.

    Blum, Edward J. W. E. B. Du Bois: American Prophet. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

    Charles, Camille Zubrinsky. “The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation.” Annual Review of Sociology 29, no. 1 (2003): 167-207.

    Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge, 2000.

    Gichaara, Jonathan. “Issues in African Liberation Theology.” Black Theology: An International
    Journal 3, no. 1 (Jan. 2005): 75-85.

    Jalata, Asafa. “Revisiting the Black Struggles: Lessons for the 21 Century.” Journal of Black Studies 33, no. 1 (Sept. 2002): 86-116.

    Kawai, Yuko. “Stereotyping Asian Americans: The Dialectic of the Model Minority and the Yellow Peril.” Howard Journal of Communications 16, no. 2 (April/June 2005): 109-130.

    Li, David. “On Ascriptive and Acquisitional Americanness: The Accidental Asian and The Illogic of Assimilation.” Contemporary Literature 45, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 106-134.

    Min Zhou and Yang Sao Xiong “The Multifaceted American Experiences of the Children of Asian Immigrants: Leassons for Segmented Assimilation.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28, no. 6 (Nov. 2005): 1119-1152.

    Neville, Helen A., et. al. “Color-Blind Racial Ideology and Psychological False Consciousness
    Among African Americans.” Journal of Black Psychology 31, no. 1 (2005): 27-45.

    West, Cornel. The Cornel West Reader. Basic Civitas Books, 2000.

    Wing, Bob. “Harry Chang: A Seminal Theorist of Racial Justice.” Monthly Review 58, no. 8 (Jan. 2006): 23-31.

    History and Religion

    Bastone, David, et. al, eds. Liberation Theology, Postmodernity and the Americas. Routledge, 1997.

    Brown, Robert McAfee. Liberation Theology: An Introductory Guide. Westminster John Knox Press, 1993.

    Burleigh, Michael. Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War. Harper Collins, 2006.

    Campbell Tracy. Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, An American Tradition, 1742-2004. Carroll & Graf, 2005.

    Cone, James H. A Black Theology of Liberation. Orbis Books, 1990.

    Van Cott, Donna Lee. From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    Feldman, Allen. Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland. University of Chicago Press, 1991.

    Fiorenza, Elisabeth. In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins. Herder & Herder, 1994.

    Grandin, Greg. The Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation. Duke University Press, 2000.

    Gutierrez, Gustavo. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation. Orbis Books, 1988.

    MacFarquhar, Roderick and Michael Schoenhals. Mao’s Last Revolution. Belknap Press, 2006.

    Marsden, George. Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism. Oxford University Press, 1982.

    Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    Nadeau, Kathleen. Liberation Theology in the Philippines: Faith in a Revolution. Praeger Publishers, 2001.

    Saxton, Alexander. Religion and the Human Prospect. Monthly Review Press, 2006.

    Yaqub, Salim. Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East. The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

    Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Here are some books that have come up since then:

  • Driven Out via reappropriate (she didn’t make a list but this book popped up on my radar from reading her post on it)

16 Responses to “Historical Reading Lists”

Sarah Puglisi says: June 17, 2007 at 6:03 pm

  • Strength To Love, ML King jr.

BlackWomb Says: July 6, 2007 at 11:13 pm

profbwoman Says: July 7, 2007 at 11:37 am e

Joan Kelly Says: September 20, 2007 at 5:41 pm e

  • Regarding your request for books on class, in the On Shame thread – SAVAGE INEQUALITIES by Jonathan Kozol is what popped into my head. It’s about economic and racial segregation in public school systems, and the ways that the public school system works to continue creating poorer people the same way it continues to keep richer people richer.It includes interviews with students and teachers/community members who work in resistance to the unequal dynamics.

profbwoman Says: September 20, 2007 at 6:38 pm e

  • Learning to Labor – an anthro-soc text set in Wales, about the way education recreates class stratification.
  • Mohanty Feminism Without Borders – its a collection of her most read essays and does a good job of globalizing discussions of oppression
  • Bourdieu’s “Habitus” in Distinctions – social capital and its impact on economic capital
  • Teresa Ebert Ludic Feminism – a discussion of marxism, post-modernism, and feminism as social justice movements and failures
  • Joanna Kadi Thinking Class – a collection of essays, poetry, and recollection that address class/ism, race/ism, and queer culture.
  • Dorothy Allison Trash – collection of essays on class/ism in the intimate, academe, the state, etc.
  • Angela Davis – Women, Race, & Class
  • Several essays in This Bridge Called My Back
  • Christine Stansell City of Women – about the creation and subsequent policing of the white middle class and women who aligned with its racial and class politics.
  • Wallerstein The Modern World System – center-periphery arguments have fallen out of favor in a lot of circles but Wallerstein’s well documented history of how the west purposefully impoverishes the rest is still quite salient
  • PHC Black Feminist Thought
  • multiple essays from Colonize This! (please get this at the library or borrow from friends who own it and support the Girlcott of Seal Press until they clean up their race relations)
  • Radical Women The Radical Women’s Manifesto – a vision statement on feminist social justice
  • Weigand Red Feminism
  • hooks Ain’t I a Woman – her first and most salient discussion of feminism, racism, and classism
  • Hudis The Rosa Luxemberg Reader – a pretty thorough collection of one of the key figures in both the party and the women’s comintern
  • Che Guevara & the Cuban Revolution – a collections of speeches and short writings
  • Moraga – Loving in the War Years – the text covers multiple issues but also class, it is a classic
  • ? Class Matters – a discussion about classism by women who experience it
  • Hurtado The Color of Privilege

This is my short list off the top of my head. I think I have more essays than books for my influences and essays are harder to remember in my old age unless I teach them regularly

profacero Says: September 22, 2007 at 8:29 pm e

profbwoman Says: September 23, 2007 at 12:12 pm eI love E.P. Thompson. I can’t believe I missed that one. Thanks profacero!

profbwoman Says: September 26, 2007 at 4:33 pm e How exactly I forgot Foucault we will never know. I’m telling you old age is killing my names and dates memory.
Steve Says: September 28, 2007 at 3:19 pm e
Diana Says: October 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm e

  • These recommendations remind me of some of my reading lists in the Social Policy program at Northwestern Universtiy. Here are some other recommendations. Both focus on the ‘ghettoization’ of urban Blacks in Chicago, which serve as an analysis of race and inquality in the US in general. Not so much about gender inequalities.“There are No Children Here” Alex Kotlowitz Heart-wrenching story of the lives of two boys in Chicago. It was his thesis – incredible.
  • The Promised Land: The Great black Migration and How it Changed America” Nicholas Lemann- As I recall, this book strikes an interesting balance between showcasing larger sociological and cultural trends that shaped policy and then simply the human whims of incumbant political leaders (ie. Kennedy) and their effect on policy. A very readable policy book.

SONZSHINE Says: October 20, 2007 at 4:51 pm e

Redstar Says: April 2, 2008 at 12:35 am e

  • I am so late to this list, but as a scholar of urban studies & planning I would like to recommend The Origins of the Urban Crisis, by historian Thomas Sugrue. It’s an excellent recount of how a racist political economy creates the polarized and segregated cities we live in today. His analysis is of Detroit in the 20th century. Very very good.
  • Another book I love as an academic is Alice O’Connor’s Poverty Knowledge, which is an historical look at the development of the poverty-industrial complex over the 20th century. Beginning with the Progressive Movement, O’Connor examines how racist, gendered, and classist ideologies by researchers, practitioners and government officials shape and reinforce institutional inequality. Excellent book.
profbwoman Says: April 2, 2008 at 1:06 pm e
haven’t read either of these. they sound fascinating.

profbwoman Says: April 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm e

  • I am adding a ling to the Rural Women’s Zone suggested book list. These books were chosen as good representatives/explorations of rural women’s experiences by rural feminists. Some discuss why rural women do not see themselves in the feminist movement and how to expand the discourse. I have not read the vast majority of these books and cannot speak to how they address other issues of intersectionality beyond gender -location- class. However, I was drawn to the list by a quote about how mainstream academic feminism mobilizes concepts of the rural in order to globalize but does so primarily from a place that is designed to be foreign and largely inaccessible to them. It comes from Gendered Fields by Carolyn Sachs and it is now on my reading list.
  • I would also add Eli Claire’s book Exile and Pride that works at the intersections of gender-disability-critical whiteness-location-class-sexuality. It is one of those books that moves me every time I read it.

meghan rose Says: May 1, 2008 at 5:12 am e

  • I would suggest Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third World Feminism by Uma Narayan. It’s a collection of essays, mostly on her take on feminism in the East/West, and also includes an essay (which I think is absolutely spot-on and a great explanation) of the ways in which white Western academia puts “Third World” individuals and immigrants from the “Third World” in limited academic spaces.
  • Another book I love is “Mountains Beyond Mountainsby Tracy Kidder; it’s a beautiful book anyway, a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, who has done a lot of health work in Haiti and elsewhere, especially in the area of infectious diseases. One of the issues it looks at is liberation theology and poverty, and also presents Farmer’s ideas on how to change some of the power structures and situations of the poor.

profbwoman Says: May 1, 2008 at 10:36 am e
Naryan’s work is always great! D I think HBO made a movie out of Mountains Beyond Mountains recently mb aired last month. interesting suggestions all around
profbwoman Says: May 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm e

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