Wednesday, February 1, 2012

what's on my bookshelf wednesday {4}

Week 4:  One of the shelves in our bedroom

The shelves in our bedroom have a whole slew of textbooks from the Women's Studies courses I took in graduate school, books that continued to blow my mind and make me angry and make me proud and make me feel helpless all at once.  I rarely pick them up now, but I can't foresee a time when I will want to part with them.  My decision to get a master's degree in such an, umm, unconventional discipline was one of my first truly independent choices as an adult, and I will always feel proud of the staggering amount of reading, writing, and thought that went into getting that little piece of paper at the end of my 3 years of studying.

- One of the books from a seminar course that I took later in one of my final semesters was Carol Stack's All Our Kin.  If you are going to have an opinion about welfare, poverty, or family, this book is an absolute must-read in forming it.  It's short and to the point, a white woman's account of immersing herself in an African-American ghetto community.  It is brilliant and thought-provoking and completely blows the lid off the stereotypical assumptions many people have about what it means to be an impoverished community relying on government assistance.

- As an undergrad, I took a senior seminar course for my Women's Studies minor, and we worked collaboratively to pick out what texts to read and discuss (oh, Women's Studies).  c*nt was a choice recommended by a fellow classmate, and, despite the tough-to-handle title, it's probably the easiest to get through book we read that semester.  In some ways it felt a little juvenile, a little basic, but there are some parts of that book that forever shaped the way I view the world.  After reading that book, I made the decision that I would no longer pay money to watch women be sexually violated on screen--that means I don't go to movies that show rape, don't watch television shows that use the sexual assault of women as a ratings ploy.  I tend to think that any book that causes someone to not only change their opinion about something but causes them to change their actions, is worth checking out.

What books changed the way you thought about the world?  Have any reads caused you to take action about something?

1 comment:

  1. Ooh ooh! I read All Our Kin as an anthro major in undergrad. I recall really enjoying it. I found, in fact, that all of the ethnographic texts I read were not only enjoyable, but played a huge part in my ability to observe different (sub-)cultures. One such text, about a community of elderly Jews in Long Beach, CA, really helped me to better understand the differences between me and my grandparents (who were not Jews, and did not live in Long Beach). I think that particular tenet of ethnography/cultural anthropology has stood me in good stead as I've moved around from region to region.

    I'm loving this little series on your blog!