(5 resources)

The American Journey through Adulthood
Mintz, Steven - Columbia University
2011-01-13 16:10:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:43:00

Today, the script of adulthood is undergoing profound transformations. A new life stage, identified as twentysomethings, delays the markers of adult identity - marrying, having children, and entering a full-time career. Meanwhile, a growing number of those at mid-life refuse to "act their age." They wear youthful fashions, listen to hip hop music, and actively resist the aging process. Marriage is no longer the predominant way that adults organize sexuality, childbearing, and childrearing.

In his talk, Professor Mintz places the far-reaching changes taking place in contemporary adulthood in historical perspective. He challenges a host of misconceptions surrounding this life stage, including the myths that the transition to adulthood was more seamless and smoother in the past and that the adult life course was more stable and predictable than it has since become. Despite the widespread sense that the transition to adulthood has grown longer, riskier, and tougher, coming of age has never been easy. He claims that there has never been a time when most Americans experienced what we might consider the modal adult life script: a stable marriage and career. The definition that associates adulthood with maturity and conformity to socially-prescribed gender roles is a relatively recent invention, a temporary phase in the ongoing process in which the life course has repeatedly been reconstructed and reconfigured.
Economic Knowledge, Capitalist Mythologies – About Supply and Demand, For Instance: How Economic Textbooks Have Come to Teach Students to Not Think about Labor Exploitation
Segal, Dan - Pitzer College
2011-02-10 16:10:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:53:06

Progressive commentators on our Great Recession-notably Paul Krugman and Charles Ferguson-have sought to link our recession to the rise of one school of economics ("efficient market theory"). This lecture argues that equally relevant are habits of thought that are common to the discipline as a whole. Segal focuses on the foundational role that "supply and demand curves" have come to play in undergraduate economics textbooks over the last half-century. Segal argues that the presentation of these curves fosters a misrecognition of the buying and selling of labor-time. Put simply, the textbook lessons present as the exemplar of "the market" a staged scene of barter in which the roles of buyer and seller are interchangeable. These textbook lessons thus keep off-stage the processes that yield profits for the buyers of labor-time. Very importantly, these allegorical points are carried by techniques of graphing that are presented as nothing less than the correct way to solve math problems. In addition, textbook lessons about "supply and demand" condition students to accept hypothetical data as evidentiary support for economic knowledge. In both of these ways, textbook economics fosters an uncritical understanding of actually existing capitalism.

Dan Segal is the Jean M. Pitzer Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Historical Studies, and Director of the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry at Pitzer College
A Pedagogic Revolution: Early English Culinary Texts and the Common Reader
Sherman, Sandra - Fordham University
2011-03-10 16:13:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:50:26

Cookbooks were among the first mass-market texts in english to describe their intended readership and to design pedagogical strategies to attract that readership. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, as print culture segued into print capitalism, cookbook readers were not only told who they were (dispelling unease in an anonymous market) but who they could become by dint of following pedagogical protocols promoted by these texts. Pedagogy was deployed as a marketing strategy; readers were encouraged to feel that they were seen, known, and even catered to. in her lecture, Sandra Sherman examines how cookbook authors learned to market knowledge, and to convince consumers that printed texts could do a better pedagogical job than traditional manuscripts, apprenticeships, or communities of neighbors and friends. as readers were encouraged to see themselves as objects of these marketing appeals - and to accept that learning to cook was possible as solitary "perusers" of commercial texts – they were drawn into a pedagogic revolution: the redesign of traditional knowledge to meet the imperatives of print.
Narrating the Crisis: The Great Recession, the "Money Trust," and the Politics of Economic Reform
O'Connor, Alice - University of California, Santa Barbara
2011-03-24 16:13:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:42:26

As the financial meltdown of 2007-08 escalated into worldwide recession, so too did expectations that "the crisis" would be an opportunity for progressive economic reform. Early, mostly journalistic, accounts only reinforced such expectations, with widespread revelations of the predatory lending practices, influence peddling, and reckless risk-taking-with "other people's money"-that had vaulted Wall Street to unprecedented heights of political and economic power, while dragging Main Street to the brink of collapse. Not since the Great depression had the facts of economic crisis aligned so clearly and palpably with the values of progressive reform.

So what happened? Why, two years into the Great recession and with inequality visibly on the rise, are reformers gripped by a sense of lost opportunity, if not outright defeat? Was it, as some commentators have suggested, their failure to provide a compelling narrative of the crisis, and with it to lay the political groundwork for reform?

In this talk, Alice O'Connor brings historical perspective to this and related questions by exploring how earlier generations of reformers, from the "money trust"- busters of the 1910s to the free marketers of 1970s, turned economic crisis into political opportunity with politically mobilizing explanations-and what that tells us about the contemporary politics of economic reform.
The Future in Question: History and Utopia in Latin America (1989-2010)
Coronil, Fernando - City University of New York
2011-04-07 16:04:00-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:52:36

As remarkable as Latin America’s move to democracy since 1989 has been, the future prospects of the “turn to the left” depend as much on the way the future is imagined as on how the past has been experienced, understood and represented. At a moment when economic and social polarization coexists uneasily with democratic aspirations, the imperative of greater equality propels an expansive democratizing political process across the continent. indigenous concepts of el buen vivir –living well – that is, well-being for all, confront the long dominant logics of the capitalist “West.”

Latin America’s decolonizing movements challenge the ethnocentrism of Western modernity and open spaces for alternative imaginaries. A powerful drive for change searches for ways to connect desire and reality. While aspiring to a “socialism of the twenty-first century,” the left looks anxiously, filled with doubt, toward an open horizon of expectation.

Commentary by Professors Geoff Eley and Margaret Somers

Fernando Coronil is the Presidential Professor of Anthropology at The City University of New York.