Showing posts from January, 2011


Last week while teaching World History I, or history about Ancient Civilizations, we were discussing the meaning of the term history and what are the different ways we can see history as an essential and important part of our lives, but also the ways it fails us, as in what its limits or impossibilities might be. I always like to remind my students that for every reason or instance that you argue that history is important and good, you could come up with just as many reasons why it is useless or not important. Most students articulate their thoughts on history through its importance in knowing where one came from and not making the same mistakes of the past. Those who have a more critical edge to their minds often bring in anonymous bad guys, who may manipulate history and take advantage of ignorance and give people some sliver of history that serves their interests, hoping that people will follow without knowing any better. That is always a key moment in the class where people stop t…

Education According to House

I’m an avid fan of the television show House M.D., whose main character Gregory House, is a brilliant doctor who can sometimes diagnose people by simply looking at them for a moment, but who is also a misanthrope, someone who detest people, even the patients he saves. For him each disease is a puzzle to be solved and so who the person is, matters only in terms of helping him cure the illness, and so House is generally rude and sometimes cruel to his patients, as their feelings are irrelevant, since all that matters is solving why they are sick.

In the second season he is asked by a patient, why he became a doctor since he clearly hates humans. House evades the question at first, but later recounts a story of when his family was stationed in Japan and a friend of his was hurt hiking:

When I was 14, my father was stationed in Japan. I went rock-climbing with this kid from school. He fell got injured and I had to bring him to the hospital. And we came in through the wrong entrance and pa…

Hafa Na Liberasion #19: Reoccupation Day


Arizona and Ethnic Studies

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies and, Along With it, Reason and Justice
Tuesday 28 December 2010
by: Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., t r u t h o u t
News Analysis

While much condemnation has rightly been expressed toward Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, a less-reported and potentially more sinister measure is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. This new law, which was passed by the conservative state legislature at the behest of then-School Superintendent (and now Attorney General-elect) Tom Horne, is designated HB 2281 and is colloquially referred to as a measure to ban ethnic studies programs in the state. As with SB 1070, the implications of this law are problematic, wide-ranging and decidedly hate filled.

Whereas SB 1070 focused primarily on the ostensible control of bodies, HB 2281 is predominantly about controlling minds. In this sense, it is the software counterpart of Arizona's race-based politicking, paired with the hardware embodied in SB 1070's "show us y…

A Comfortable Colony

It is the start of yet another school semester at UOG, hopefully this won't be my last there and hopefully I'll be able to get some sort of permanent position there in the next few months. But as always, putting together my syllabi for the start of the semester invariably gets me thinking about how the semester will unfold and of course, how it will end. For my Guam History classes that means thinking about the grand political status showdown I incorporate into each semester.

At the close of each semester that I teach at UOG, I make my students in Guam History undertake a project called “I Chalån-ta Mo’na” which is a political status forum/debate where the class is divided into three groups each of which represents a different possible political status for Guam. They spend a few weeks ahead of time researching and preparing arguments and then come together to argue over whether statehood, independence or free association is the best choice for Guam’s future. When the project…

MLK's 1964 Nobel Prize Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.
Nobel Lecture*, December 11, 1964
The Quest for Peace and Justice

It is impossible to begin this lecture without again expressing my deep appreciation to the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament for bestowing upon me and the civil rights movement in the United States such a great honor. Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart. Such is the moment I am presently experiencing. I experience this high and joyous moment not for myself alone but for those devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle aged and middle class. The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction th…

Women and Wikileaks

One of the listservs I'm on had a little bit of a spat recently over the Wikileaks and Julian Assange issue. The debate was over whether the sexual assault charges against Assange should be taken seriously or not. Some felt like the charges were more contrived than anything, while others felt that this was precisely a problem that movements have, is that they tend to look past any clear faults in their heroes and therefore perpetuate gendered systems of oppression. Many seemed to feel that this is one of the those moments where "identity politics" weakens or ruins the Left, because something small, minute and paticularistic, ends up tainting something which is hugely important and universal. For them, the issue is obviously made up by government who want to take Assange down, but the way identity politics has wormed its way into movements has made them susceptible to fake debates like this. From this perspective, even if the charges are true (and they are not rape charge…