Where Do We Go From Here?

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Last week’s presidential election stirred up a lot of intense feelings from people on all points on the political spectrum. Whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, or other, tensions are flying high. People on all sides feel misunderstood or misheard, which only pushes us further apart. Where do we go from here? How can we come together as a community?

To alleviate some of that miscommunication, the MA Library has pulled together a list of resources that explain some of the social issues driving this presidential campaign, discuss the history of social movements and effectiveness of political protests, and offer some background on the Democratic and Republican parties.

 

Social Issues

Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism’s Work Is Done by Susan J. Douglas
Challenges the idea that sexism is a problem of the past, and points to the growing trends to portray women as sexual objects. Includes information on television programs, female body image, celebrity and fashion magazines, male castration anxiety, consumerism, female empowerment, sexualization in popular culture, the fashion industry, feminism, mothers, motherhood, news media, reality tv shows, sexism, stereotypes, warrior women, and the women’s movement.

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Provides analysis of the Black Lives Matter activist movement and offers context to the issues of racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and other aspects of structural inequality and institutional racism.

The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender by Sam Killermann
Presents an overview of equity and gender using humor, illustrations, and practical explanations.

Value War: Public Opinion and the Politics of Gay Rights by Paul R. Brewer
Looks at how the public debate about gay rights has shaped public opinion and conversely how public opinion has shaped the public debate about gay rights.

 

Protests and Social Movements

Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman
The adoption of the landmark Voting Rights Act in 1965, the crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, enfranchised millions of Americans. Yet fifty years later the nation still faces battles over race, representation, and political power over the right to vote. This book tells the story of what happened after the act was passed, the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since – from new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, to cynical efforts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts, to the Supreme Court’s recent decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional, to the efforts by the Department of Justice and grassroots activists to counter these attacks.

The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America by David S. Meyer
Begins with a short history of American protest movements, then discusses the social impulse to protest, considers strategies and tactics of social movements, and looks at the institutional response.

The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts by Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper
Presents essays on many aspects of social movements. Includes definitions of key concepts, biographies of leaders, timelines of several ongoing social movements, and new developments. Analyzes specific networks, structures, and environments of social movements.

 

Political Parties

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
Presents a history of how American politics has been influenced by funding by conservatives since 1970. Includes information on particular groups and individuals (Americans for Prosperity, Cato Institute, Charles Koch, David Koch), as well as donor summits, elections, campaign finance, libertarians, the Citizens United court case, taxes, think tanks, and more.

The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel
Presents a noted criticism of the American Left for its reaction to changes in campaign finance laws. Includes information on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, disclosure laws, corporations, the First Amendment, the Freedom of Information Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Tea Party, the Obama administration, Congress, and more.

The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted by Mike Lofgren
Presents a critical assessment of the Republican Party, arguing that it betrayed the ideals for which it once stood. Also criticizes the Democratic party and the dysfunction of the American political process generally. Includes information on anti-intellectualism, federal budgets, George W. Bush, Congress, the Constitution, corporations, culture wars, defense spending, the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, the media, national security, Barack Obama, taxes, voting and more.


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