THEORY & ACTIVISM

The below collection is only available to those living in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Attiwandaronia (Hamilton). We are currently collecting additional volunteers and donations to expand our library into the city known as Guelph and The Haldimand Tract (Tri-Cities-Guelph). Please email our founder, at jdacost5@yorku.ca, to loan a book.

 

A BILLION BLACK ANTHROPOCENES OR NONE

By Kathryn Yusoff

Kathryn Yusoff examines how the grammar of geology is foundational to establishing the extractive economies of subjective life and the earth under colonialism and slavery. She initiates a transdisciplinary conversation between black feminist theory, geography, and the earth sciences, addressing the politics of the Anthropocene within the context of race, materiality, deep time, and the afterlives of geology.

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ANIMACIES

By Mel Y. Chen

In Animacies, Mel Y. Chen draws on recent debates about sexuality, race, and affect to examine how matter that is considered insensate, immobile, or deathly animates cultural lives. Toward that end, Chen investigates the blurry division between the living and the dead, or that which is beyond the human or animal. Within the field of linguistics, animacy has been described variously as a quality of agency, awareness, mobility, sentience, or liveness. Chen turns to cognitive linguistics to stress how language habitually differentiates the animate and the inanimate. Expanding this construct, Chen argues that animacy undergirds much that is pressing and indeed volatile in contemporary culture, from animal rights debates to biosecurity concerns.

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BLACK LIFE

By Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi

What does it mean in the era of Black Lives Matter to continue to ignore and deny the violence that is the foundation of the Canadian nation-state? BlackLife discloses the ongoing destruction of Black people as enacted not simply by state structures, but beneath them in the foundational modernist ideology that underlies thinking around migration and movement, as Black erasure and death are unveiled as horrifically acceptable throughout western culture.

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BODIES THAT MATTER

By Judith Butler

In Bodies That Matter, renowned theorist and philosopher Judith Butler argues that theories of gender need to return to the most material dimension of sex and sexuality: the body. Butler offers a brilliant reworking of the body, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain sex from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She clarifies the notion of "performativity" introduced in Gender Trouble and via bold readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud explores the meaning of a citational politics. She also draws on documentary and literature with compelling interpretations of the film Paris is Burning, Nella Larsen's Passing, and short stories by Willa Cather.

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CAPITAL: VOLUME 1

By Karl Marx

One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, Capital is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and create fresh insights. Arguing that capitalism would cause an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. Capital rapidly acquired readership among the leaders of social democratic parties, particularly in Russia in Germany, and ultimately throughout the world, to become a work described by Marx friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels as “the Bible of the working class.”

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DISARM, DEFUND, DISMANTLE: POLICE ABOLITION IN CANADA

Edited by by Shiri Pasternak, Kevin Walby, Abby Stadnyk

This edited collection brings together writing from a range of activists and scholars, whose words are rooted in experience and solidarity with those putting their lives on the line to fight for police abolition in Canada. Together, they imagine a different world—one in which police power is eroded and dissolved forever, one in which it is possible to respond to distress and harm with assistance and care. (less)

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FEMINIST GENEALOGIES, COLONIAL LEGACIES, DEMOCRATIC FUTURES

Edited By M. Jacqui Alexander, Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures provides a feminist anaylsis of the questions of sexual and gender politics, economic and cultural marginality, and anti-racist and anti-colonial practices both in the "West" and in the "Third World." This collection, edited by Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, charts the underlying theoretical perspectives and organization practices of the different varieties of feminism that take on questions of colonialism, imperialism, and the repressive rule of colonial, post-colonial and advanced capitalist nation-states. It provides a comparative, relational, historically grounded conception of feminist praxis that differs markedly from the liberal pluralist, multicultural understanding that sheapes some of the dominant version of Euro-American feminism. As a whole, the collection poses a unique challenge to the naturalization of gender based in the experiences, histories and practices of Euro-American women.

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FORTUNES OF FEMINISM

By Nancy Fraser

Second Wave feminism emerged as a struggle for women’s liberation and took its place alongside other radical movements. But feminism’s subsequent immersion in identity politics coincided with a decline in its utopian energies and the rise of neoliberalism. Now, foreseeing a revival in the movement, Fraser argues for a reinvigorated feminist radicalism able to address the global economic crisis.

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GENDER TROUBLE

By Judith Butler

Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality.

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MORPHING INTELLIGENCE

By Catherine Malabou

What is intelligence? The concept crosses and blurs the boundaries between natural and artificial, bridging the human brain and the cybernetic world of AI. In this book, the acclaimed philosopher Catherine Malabou ventures a new approach that emphasizes the intertwined, networked relationships among the biological, the technological, and the symbolic.

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OUR CARIBBEAN

Edited by Thomas Glave

The first book of its kind, Our Caribbean is an anthology of lesbian and gay writing from across the Antilles. The author and activist Thomas Glave has gathered outstanding fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry by little-known writers together with selections by internationally celebrated figures such as José Alcántara Almánzar, Reinaldo Arenas, Dionne Brand, Michelle Cliff, Audre Lorde, Achy Obejas, and Assotto Saint. The result is an unprecedented literary conversation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experiences throughout the Caribbean and its far-flung diaspora. Many selections were originally published in Spanish, Dutch, or creole languages; some are translated into English here for the first time.

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PLASTICITY AT THE DUSK OF WRITING

By Catherine Malabou

A former student and collaborator of Jacques Derrida, Catherine Malabou has generated worldwide acclaim for her progressive rethinking of postmodern, Derridean critique. Building on her notion of plasticity, a term she originally borrowed from Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and adapted to a reading of Hegel's own work, Malabou transforms our understanding of the political and the religious, revealing the malleable nature of these concepts and their openness to positive reinvention.

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POSTCOLONIAL THEORY AND THE SPECTER OF CAPITAL

By Vivek Chibber

Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.

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QUEER MOBILIZATIONS

Edited by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé and Martin F. Manalansan

Globalization has a taste for queer cultures. Whether in advertising, film, performance art, the internet, or in the political discourses of human rights in emerging democracies, queerness sells and the transnational circulation of peoples, identities and social movements that we call "globalization" can be liberating to the extent that it incorporates queer lives and cultures. From this perspective, globalization is seen as allowing the emergence of queer identities and cultures on a global scale.

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RACE CRITICAL THEORIES

Edited by Essed & Goldberg

Race Critical Theories brings together many of the key contributors to critical theorizing about race and racism over the past twenty years. Each previously published text is accompanied by a fresh statement - in most cases written by the authors themselves - regarding the political context, implications and effects of the original contribution.

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RACIAL CASTRATION

By David L. Eng

Racial Castration, the first book to bring together the fields of Asian American studies and psychoanalytic theory, explores the role of sexuality in racial formation and the place of race in sexual identity. David L. Eng examines images—literary, visual, and filmic—that configure past as well as contemporary perceptions of Asian American men as emasculated, homosexualized, or queer.

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RED LIGHT LABOUR

Elya M. Durisin, Emily van der Meulen and Chris Bruckert

Red Light Labour addresses Canada’s new legal regime regulating sex work with an advanced analysis of past and present policy approaches, and considers the ways in which laws and those who uphold them have constructed, controlled, and criminalized sex workers, their workspaces, colleagues, and clients. This groundbreaking collection also offers nuanced interpretations of various forms of commercial sexual labour that foreground the personal perspectives of workers and activists. The contributors highlight sex workers’ struggles for civic and social inclusion by considering their tactics, successes, and challenges as they work collaboratively and build alliances with diverse social movements.

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RED SKIN, WHITE MASKS

By Glen Coulthard

Coulthard challenges recognition as a method of organizing difference and identity in liberal politics, questioning the assumption that contemporary difference and past histories of destructive colonialism between the state and Indigenous peoples can be reconciled through a process of acknowledgment. He examines an alternative politics, seeking to revalue, reconstruct, and redeploy Indigenous cultural practices based on self-recognition.

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SENTIENT FLESH

By R.A. Judy

 In Sentient Flesh R. A. Judy takes up freedman Tom Windham’s 1937 remark “we should have our liberty 'cause . . . us is human flesh" as a point of departure for an extended meditation on questions of the human, epistemology, and the historical ways in which the black being is understood. Drawing on numerous fields, from literary theory and musicology, to political theory and phenomenology, as well as Greek and Arabic philosophy, Judy engages literary texts and performative practices such as music and dance that express knowledge and conceptions of humanity appositional to those grounding modern racialized capitalism. Operating as critiques of Western humanism, these practices and modes of being-in-the-world—which he theorizes as “thinking in disorder,” or “poiēsis in black”—foreground the irreducible concomitance of flesh, thinking, and personhood. As Judy demonstrates, recognizing this concomitance is central to finding a way past the destructive force of ontology that still holds us in thrall. Erudite and capacious, Sentient Flesh offers a major intervention in the black study of life. 

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SEX WORK ACTIVISM IN CANADA

Edited by Amy Lebovitch & Shawna Ferris

Serving as a history as well as a rare and valuable reference, Sex Work Activism in Canada brings together the narratives, histories, expertise, and teachings of sex work activists across the country. Through texts and testimonials from the grass-roots level it explores the past and present work of sex work activists and advocates in our own words.

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THE FUTURE OF HEGEL

By Catherine Malabou

This book is one of the most important recent books on Hegel, a philosopher who has had a crucial impact on the shape of continental philosophy. Published here in English for the first time, it includes a substantial preface by Jacques Derrida in which he explores the themes and conclusions of Malabou's book.

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THE SECOND SEX

By Simone de Beauvoir

The Second Sex is a 1949 book by the French existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, in which the author discusses the treatment of women throughout history. Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months between 1946 and 1949. She published the work in two volumes: Facts and Myths and Lived Experience.

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TRANS ACTIVISM IN CANADA: A READER

Edited by Dan Irving, Rupert Raj

The first of its kind, this anthology brings together activists and allies to examine the various strategies and forms of resistance needed to transform oppression into opportunity for change. Reflecting upon the challenges trans communities face and offering insight into achieving institutional reform, the themes addressed range from poverty and isolation to health care and best practices. Using personal narratives, archival material, and qualitative research, as well as case- and community-based research, this text demonstrates the leading role of trans and two-spirit activists in generating social change. By drawing on feminist, anti-racist, and social justice frameworks, the contributors approach oppression and activism as inseparable from hetero-patriarchal, colonialist, and capitalist power relations.

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