Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Directions

A third event this past Spring helping to both focus and expand my reading and thinking was a much happier occurrence than the other two: a workshop I attended at the Free School here in Baltimore, led by Silvia Federici, titled "Feminism, the Commons, neoliberal violence and the eco-crisis" (see Federici's short essay "Feminism and the Politics of the Commons"). The workshop turned out to be an excellent, wide-ranging, though inevitably all-too-short discussion. Though it took place in April, I've only just now begun transcribing my notes from that day. I hope to be able to convert them into something useful for sharing here, in particular Federici's remarks about the Italian Wages for Housework movement from the 1970s. (New names added to the list: Leopoldina Fortunanti, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Giovanna Franca Dalla Costa, Selma James [wife of C.L.R.].)

Though the workshop was not strictly speaking a discussion of Federici's indispensable book, Caliban and the Witch, I did take the opportunity to begin re-reading that book prior to the event. This was an altogether excellent decision on my part. First, doing so refreshed my memory of some crucial history relevant to modernism, providing me with material that I needed in order to finally finish my painfully long-gestating review of Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism? This was an unexpected but wholly welcome development (I had more than once given up the review for dead). Second, I had inevitably forgotten many of the book's details, though I'd internalized some aspects of the contours of her overall argument. It's good to be reminded of the details too, especially in given all that I've read and learned since the first reading, making many of these details more meaningful to me now. Third, much like Rich's Of Woman Born and Ruddick's Maternal Thinking, Caliban and the Witch is a bibliographical goldmine, this time from a more specifically history of capitalism perspective, as well as feminist. Just tons of reading to be done.

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