Self-prefacing

by Quin 

I am a white, lower-to-middle class, heterosexual, male graduate student engaged in the study of history and gender. I use these terms of social location self-consciously because I believe they matter in at least two specific ways: first, because they are terms through which I am socially perceived; second because they offer some clue of where I stand viz. a viz. material, cultural, and symbolic resources in this world. Beyond these generalities, I want to offer a bit of accounting — both for myself, and others — of how I got to where I am.

I write about women’s liberation movements specifically and radical political movements in general. I discovered feminism late in my college years. It was not through an intellectual text or a course on women’s studies, a protest, a rally, or an injustice perpetuated against my body  — it was through music. The undeniably feminist lyrics of Ani DiFranco’s early songs, along with her skilled guitar playing, struck me, for reasons that I was unsure of at the time. After all, I hadn’t grown up within a family that had an explicitly feminist consciousness; I had no feminist friends who self-identified with or advocated feminism. In fact, at the time I had very few female friends at all. In hindsight, it was DiFranco’s honesty that I found compelling. Hearing lyrics such as “We don’t look like pages from a magazine but that’s alright / oh baby that’s alright” (“Imperfectly”) or “It seems like everyone’s an actor or an actor’s best friend / I wonder what was wrong to begin with that we should have to pretend” (“Anticipate”) pierced through a veil of conformity I had been measuring my own self-worth against for years. Continue reading “Self-prefacing”

Sea Change: How We are Altering Everything

by Abby Sullivan

Photo courtesy of the author

In light of the BP Oil spill, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss the health of our oceans and how we, as humans, are altering and changing these vast bodies of water in ways previously thought to be unimaginable. What were once local problems in our waters have become increasingly disturbing and global in nature. Until the 1950’s, people considered the oceans inexhaustible. Today everyone from marine biologists to glaciologists to meteorologists all concur that our oceans are in peril and if we do not drastically change our relationship to the sea, it may be lead to our ultimate demise. I moved to Iceland a year ago to study Marine and Coastal Resource Management. What I learned about the ways we are altering everything in our ocean ecosystems has been a startling, sobering experience. As with most environmental issues, the problems caused by the state of our seas is deeply linked with issues of inequality, poverty and greed. And for me, what is the most disturbing thought is how shortsighted we are—we are stealing from future generations, destroying what is not ours to destroy. I hope to highlight a few of the largest issues we must overcome to save our seas. Continue reading “Sea Change: How We are Altering Everything”