Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, January 22, 2021

Back to School

As you see, I'm teaching once more at SFAI this Spring. To say the school's circumstances are precarious is an understatement. The story is widely circulating by now, but if you are unaware and interested you can find accounts in the New York Times, the LA Times, Artforum, Hyperallergic.

The Committee to Re-Imagine SFAI recently completed an assessment of every aspect of the school in its present distress. The recommendations of especially the subcommittee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seem to me to be the foundation for the school going forward into the twenty-first century, if it is to manage that feat at all. I was also really excited to hear visions of the school as a center for work in art and environmental justice. 

It's hard to connect such visions to the realities of the day. It's hard to know what is coming next. For now, I've got a job again, teaching a handful of bright beautiful students excited to talk about art practices as testaments to violence and as practices of nonviolent resistance. If only it lasts. 

Syllabus for My Spring 2021 Course at SFAI


“Peace in Pieces”: Histories, Theories, and Practices of Violence and Nonviolent Resistance

Instructor: Dale Carrico; e-mail:;

When/Where: Thursdays, 1-3.45pm: Online (ONL- CS1)

Course Blog:

Rough Basis for Grade: Attendance/Participation, 15%; In-Class Presentation, 15%; Reading Responses, 15%, Midterm Precis/Toulmin, 3-4pp., 15%; Symposium Presentation, 10%; Final Paper, 8-10pp., 30% (subject to contingencies)

Course Description:

The arc of the moral universe is a longing... and it bends from just us. In this course we will read canonical texts in the theory, history, and practice of nonviolent resistance and world-making. This course is provoked and inspired by stories and strategies of reconciliation connected to traditions of nonviolent politics. But is this "non-violence" simply an alternative, at hand, or is it instead another fraught artifact we are making together under duress? We will take seriously and look critically at the subtle and structural violences that ineradicably shape everyday life. We will also consider testimonies to violation, in a variety of textual forms, while simultaneously considering the cultural ideals of persuasion which often accompany definitions of violence and its limits. We will both take up and take on the many paradoxes of nonviolent activism and violent order that complicate the teaching of what passes for peace: The State as site of violence and alter-violence. Nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, and freethinking. Spontaneity and training. Democracy as assembly, resistance, occupation, and abolition. Prerequisite: Critical Studies A (CS-300) Satisfies: Critical Theory B, Critical Studies Elective, Global Cultures, Liberal Arts elective

Provisional Schedule of Meetings: 

Week One | Thursday, January 21 | Introductions 

Week Two | Thursday, January 28 | Consent of the Governed

The Declaration of Independence (US)

Howard Zinn, Introduction to Thoreau on Civil Disobedience and Reform 

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau, A Plea for Captain John Brown

Week Three | Thursday, February 4 | Thoreau and Gandhi

Karuna Mantena, The Power of Nonviolence

Logan Rimel, My "Nonviolent" Stance Was Met With Heavily Armed Men

Correspondence of Count Leo Tolstoy with M. K. Gandhi

M. K. Gandhi, The Doctrine of the Sword

M.K. Gandhi, The Meaning and Practice of Ahimsa


Week Four | Thursday, February 11 | Suffragettes

Screen film, "Iron-Jawed Angels," dir. Katja von Garnier

Emily Thornberry, We Owe It To the Suffragettes To Keep Campaigning for Women

Nadine Bloch, 100 Years Later, Lessons from the Sufferin’ Suffragettes

Ken Butigan, Alice Paul's Enduring Legacy of Nonviolent Action

Jane Addams, New Ideals of Peace: Passing of the War Virtues


Week Five | Thursday, February 18 | King

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham City Jail

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam

Ella J. Baker, Bigger Than A Hamburger 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, A Third Reconstruction

William C. Anderson, A Call for Self Defense in the Face of White Supremacy


Week Six | Thursday, February 25 | War

Arundhati Roy, War Is Peace

Chris Hedges, On War

Gene Sharp, selections from How Non-Violent Struggle Works

Marcie Smith, Gene Sharp: The Cold War Intellectual Whose Ideas Seduced the Left


Week Seven | Thursday, March 4 | Argument

Karl Rogers and Rogerian Synthesis

Be Water: Seven Tactics in Hong Kong’s Democracy Revolution

The Toulmin Schema

William May, Rising to the Occasion of Our Death (handout)


Week Eight | Thursday, March 11 | Fanon and Arendt

Frantz Fanon, Concerning Violence

Hannah Arendt, Reflections On Violence and “Must Eichmann Hang?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations


Week Nine | Thursday, March 18 | Spring Break

Week Ten | Thursday, March 25 | David Cronenberg

Screen film, “A History of Violence,” dir. David Cronenberg


Week Eleven | Thursday, April 1 | Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler, Kindred


Week Twelve | Thursday, April 8 | Abolition

Angela Davis, selections from Are Prisons Obsolete?

Nick Estes, Fighting For Our Lives: #NoDAPL in Historical Context

Week Thirteen | Thursday, April 15 | Slow Violence and Animal Abuse

Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
Carol Adams, An Animal Manifesto

Carol Adams, Beastliness and a Politics of Solidarity


Week Fourteen | Thursday, April 22 | Workshopping the Final Paper

Final Paper Workshop


Week Fifteen | Thursday, April 29 | Symposium

Final Project Symposium


Week Sixteen | Thursday, May 6 | Conclusions

Judith Butler, selections from The Force of Nonviolence

Course Objectives:

Survey canonical texts in the history, theory, and practice of nonviolent resistance: Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi, King, Sharp, Zinn, Davis and abolition democracy. Consider texts applying and criticizing this canonical history in contemporary contexts.

Address further questions of structural violence, marginalization, exploitation, and oppression. Consider the in/adequacy of their address within the terms of the canon of nonviolence.

Provide a basic toolkit of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Use this instruction as an occasion to elaborate but also pressure the traditional distinction of persuasion from violence.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Barbara Lee Speaks for Me Daily