Contesting Extinctions

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Decolonial and Regenerative Futures

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Edited by Suzanne M. McCullagh, Luis I. Prádanos, Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan and Catherine Wagner.

Contesting Extinctions: Decolonial and Regenerative Futures critically interrogates the discursive framing of extinctions and how they relate to the systems that bring about biocultural loss. The chapters in this multidisciplinary volume examine approaches to ecological and social extinction and resurgence from a variety of fields, including environmental studies, literary studies, political science, and philosophy. Grounding their scholarship in decolonial, Indigenous, and counter-hegemonic frameworks, the contributors advocate for shifting the discursive focus from ruin to regeneration.

Contributions by Alex Benson; Leonardo E. Figueroa Helland; Ryan Heryford; Wesley Y. Leonard; Felix Mantz; Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan; Suzanne M. McCullagh; Marjolein Oele; Lisa Ottum; Abigail Perez Aguilera; Luis I. Prádanos and Catherine Wagner.

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Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
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Joyful Militancy

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Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times

by Nick Montgomery

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By Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery.

Why do radical movements and spaces sometimes feel laden with fear, anxiety, suspicion, self-righteousness, and competition? Montgomery and Bergman call this phenomenon rigid radicalism: congealed and toxic ways of relating that have seeped into social movements, posing as the “correct” way of being radical. In conversation with organizers and intellectuals from a wide variety of political currents, the authors explore how rigid radicalism smuggles itself into radical spaces, and how it is being undone

Interviewees include Silvia Federici, adrienne maree brown, Marina Sitrin, Gustavo Esteva, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Walidah Imarisha, Margaret Killjoy, Glen Coulthard, Richard Day, and more.

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Publisher: AK Press
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About the Author

Nick Montgomery is an Academic Coordinator in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies.


Adult Education, Museums and Art Galleries

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Animating Social, Cultural and Institutional Change

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Edited by Darlene E. Clover, Kathy Sanford, Lorraine Bell and Kay Johnson.

This is a book about adult education in the sphere of public museums and art galleries. It aims to enrich and expand dialogue and understanding amongst adult and community educators, curators, artists, directors, and cultural activists who work within and beyond the walls of these institutions. The various chapters take up the complex and interconnected pedagogics of subjectivity, identity, meaning making and interpretation, knowledge, authority, prescription, innovation, and creativity. The contributors are a combination of scholars, professors, graduate students, heritage and cultural adult educators, artists, curators and researchers from Canada, United States, Iceland, England, Scotland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Malta. Collectively, they challenge us to think about the dialectics of passivity and engagement, didactics and learning, gender neutrality and radicality, and neutrality and risk-taking amongst a collage of artworks and artefacts, poetry and installations, collections and exhibits, illusion and reality, curatorial practice and learning, argument and narrative, and struggle and possibility that define and shape modern day art and culture institutions. The chapters, set amongst the discursive politics of neoliberalism and patriarchy, racism and religious intolerance, institutional neutrality and tradition, capitalism and neo-colonialism, ecological devastation and social injustice, take up the spirit and ideals of the radical and feminist traditions of adult education and their emphases on cultural participation and knowledge democracy, agency and empowerment, justice and equity, intellectual growth and transformation, critical social and self reflection, activism and risk-taking, and a fundamental belief in the power of art, dialogue, reflection, ideological and social critique and imaginative learning.

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Publisher: Sense Publishers
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Restless Ideas

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Contemporary Social Theory in an Anxious Age

by Tony Simmons

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How do we make sense of the rise of political strongmen like Trump and Erdoğan, or the increase in hate crimes and terrorism? How can we understand Brexit and xenophobic, anti-immigrant sentiments and policies? More importantly, what can we do to make it all stop?

In Restless Ideas, Tony Simmons illustrates how social theory provides us with the skills for more informed observation, analysis and empathic understanding of social behaviour and social interaction. Social theory deepens our understanding of the world around us by empowering us to become practical theorists in our own lives.

Simmons traces the roots of contemporary social theory back to the works of the early structural functionalists, systems theorists, conflict theorists, symbolic interactionists, and ethnomethodologists, and incorporates contemporary social thinkers theorizing from the margins who are redefining the canon. Later chapters focus on the current influence of structuration theory, feminist and queer theory, Indigenous theory, third wave critical theory, postmodernism and poststructuralism, and liquid and late modernity theories and globalization theories.

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Publisher: Fernwood Publishing
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About the Author

Tony Simmons is an Associate Professor, Sociology in the Centre for Social Sciences. Visit Tony's faculty page.


Revitalizing the Classics

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What Past Social Theorists Can Teach Us Today

by Tony Simmons

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Revitalizing the Classics is a lively introductory text that relates classical social theories to contemporary social events. This updated definition of “the classics” avoids the Eurocentrism and androcentrism of many textbooks of social theory by including both non-European and women social thinkers. Besides highlighting the work of Ibn Khaldun and first wave feminist scholars, this book utilizes interactive figures, original source sidebars and current illustrative examples to provide a critical alternative to the standard texts in the field. In the process, Tony Simmons shows just how relevant classical social theories are in our present world, offering us analysis and clarification of a range of issues, from war, poverty and environmental destruction, to the sensory overload experienced in the digital age and even our personal relationships and interactions. Social theories are helpful – even necessary – to help us understand and, most importantly, be critical of the issues, systems and institutions in our world today.

Revitalizing the Classics introduces students to a wide range of classical theorists and applies their theories to present-day examples: thus Durkheim’s ideas are invoked to explore “anomie” in the digital world as well as the “altruistic” elements of suicide bombings in contemporary combat zones. Similarly, Ibn Khaldun’s concept of “asabiyya” is used to explain the tribal code of the Taliban; Marx is summoned to explain the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor in Canada and around the world; and Pareto is enlisted to describe the “circulation of elites” in post-communist and post-colonial societies. Other sections explore and analyze the global war on terrorism and the Arab Spring. The book also includes a glossary of key concepts, giving readers an instant explanation of major terms and ideas used in each chapter. The combination of accessible writing and contemporary analysis provides a text that will empower readers to theorize and analyze many current events for themselves.

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Publisher: Fernwood Publishing
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About the Author

Tony Simmons is an Associate Professor, Sociology in the Centre for Social Sciences. Visit Tony's faculty page.


Television 2.0

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Viewer and Fan Engagement with Digital TV

by Rhiannon Bury

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Television 2.0 sets out to document and interrogate shifting patterns of engagement with digital television. Television content has not only been decoupled from the broadcast schedule through the use of digital video recorders (DVRs) but from broadcasting itself through streaming platforms such as Netflix, Vimeo and YouTube as well as downloading platforms such as iTunes and The Pirate Bay. Moreover, television content has been decoupled from the television screen itself as a result of digital convergence and divergence, leading to the proliferation of computer and mobile screens. Television 2.0 is the first book to provide an in-depth empirical investigation into these technological affordances and the implications for viewing and fan participation. It provides a historical overview of television’s central role as a broadcast medium in the household as well as its linkages to participatory culture. Drawing on survey and interview data, Television 2.0 offers critical insights into the ways in which the meanings and uses of contemporary television are shaped not just by digitalization but by domestic relations as well as one’s affective relationship to particular television texts. Finally it rethinks what it means to be a participatory fan, and examines the ways in which established practices such as information seeking and community making are altered and new practices are created through the use of social media. Television 2.0 will be of interest to anyone teaching or studying media and communications.

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Publisher: Peter Lang
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About the Author

Rhiannon Bury is an Associate Professor, Women's and Gender Studies at Athabasca University. Visit Rhiannon's faculty page.


The Wages of Relief

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Cities and the Unemployed in Prairie Canada, 1929–39

by Eric Strikwerda

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In the early part of the Dirty Thirties, the Canadian prairie city was a relatively safe haven. Having faced recession before the Great War and then again in the early 1920s, municipalities already had relief apparatuses in place to deal with poverty and unemployment. Until 1933, responsibility for the care of the urban poor remained with local governments, but when the farms failed that year, and the Depression deepened, western Canadian cities suffered tremendously. Recognizing the severity of the crisis, the national government intervened. Evolving federal programs and policies took over responsibility for the delivery of relief to the single unemployed, while the government simultaneously withdrew financing for all public works projects.

Setting municipal relief administrations of the 1930s within a wider literature on welfare and urban poor relief, Strikwerda highlights the legacy on which relief policymakers relied in determining policy directions, as well as the experiences of the individuals and families who depended on relief for their survival. Focusing on three prairie cities—Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg—Strikwerda argues that municipal officials used their power to set policy to address what they perceived to be the most serious threats to the social order stemming from the economic crisis. By analyzing the differing ways in which local relief programs treated married and single men, he also explores important gendered dynamics at work in the response of city administrators to the social and economic upheaval of the Depression. Probing the mindset of local elites struggling in extraordinary circumstances, The Wages of Relief describes the enduring impact of the policy changes made in the 1930s in the direction of a broad, national approach to unemployment—an approach that ushered in Canada’s modern welfare system.

About the Author

Eric Strikwerda is an Associate Professor in History in the Centre for Humanities. View Eric's faculty page.


Anything Boys Can Do

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by Angie Abdou

Book Cover: Anything Boys Can Do

Anything Boys Can Do is a collection of short stories that casts contemporary women in an honest light — neither weaker than men nor on a pedestal above them. Abdou’s female characters unveil and, at times, unleash their savvy and wit on those too inept or indulgent to see it coming. On par with the social and sexual antics of their male counterparts, the escapist escapades of these women take shape in summer vacations and adulterous flings. In moments lived to forget the world, these women throw caution to the wind and suspend emotion. After all, regret doesn’t rear its head until after all the fun is done.

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Publisher: Thistledown Press
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About the Author

Angie Abdou is an Associate Professor, English and Creative Writing in the Centre for Humanities. View Angie's faculty page.