Friday Reading List. 13/01/2023.

Two categories this entry:

  1. Miscellaneous Social Phenomena and The Possible Relations-to or Implications-for EDI (Today: Apocalypse and Anti-Oppression)
  2. Anti-Oppression: A few examples of anti-oppression commitments and activities in Canadian Universities

MISCELLANEOUS SOCIAL PHENOMENA AND THEIR POSSIBLE RELATIONS-TO OR IMPLICATIONS-FOR EDI

Apocalypse and Anti-Oppression

I’m curious about the social phenomena that has contributed to Woke-ism, SJW-ism, and the emergence of Anti-Oppression initiatives in universities. So, I wondered, since this millennium is still young, has apocalyptic-thinking, or patterns of thinking, helped fan the flames of these three inter-related phenomena? I find this an plausible hypothesis. But to what degree, I don’t know.

I’m certainly not going draw any conclusions here. Rather, I suggest the following several resources as a place to start.

Weber, EugenApocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs Through The Ages, Vintage Canada: 1999.

  • Apocalypses are not Weber’s speciality. Rather, his career comprised expertise in Western Civilisation and particularly France. And so his exploration of the subject is limited to its manifestation in the Western Tradition. Weber became interested in apocalypses when he was asked to deliver a Barbara Frum Lecture at the University of Toronto in March, 1999. You can find a copy of Apocalypses on Amazon.ca, here. And Penguin Random House Canada, here. Weber died in 2007 while Professor of History, Emeritus at UCLA.
  • Weber describes Apocalypses as more of a travel book “generated by chance and curiosity” than an academic treatment of the subject (5, Introduction). However, Apocalypses is valuable as an broad overview of the topic and is rich with references.
  • Especially useful to my interest in EDI-related phenomena has been “Chapter 11, The Twentieth Century”. References in this chapter include a mention of “religious black nationalist organizations of the early twentieth century which sought redemption from racial oppression”(p 211) and an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 24, 1997) which quotes “Professor Richard Landes of Boston University, who foresaw ‘a wave of millennial activity'”. I include the citation for the Chronicle article as follows:

Magner, Denise K. “Apocalyptic Predictions and Millennial Fervor Attract Scholarly Notice,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 1997, https://www.chronicle.com/article/apocalyptic-predictions-and-millennial-fervor-attract-scholarly-notice/, accessed January 11, 2023.

  • You might need to sign in to access this article. You can create an account for free, but you will only be able to access a limited number of articles.
  • Magner reports that while some scholars argue the year 1000 “passed with little meaning,” Richard Landes is among those who “see evidence that people were aware of the date and anxious about its meaning.”
  • Of interest for this bibliography, “Landes defines a millennial movement as any group of people who believe that they are going to “radically transform the way life is lived on this planet.”
  • Magner references the then-newly established Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. See next bibliographic entry:

Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. Home. http://www.mille.org, accessed January 11, 2023.

Landes, Richard. “The fear of an apocalyptic year 1000: Augustinian historiography, medieval and modern.” Speculum75.1 (2000): 97-145. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2887426 . https://www.bu.edu/history/files/2011/10/11.Fear-of-an-Apocalyptic-Year-1000-Speculum.pdf , accessed January 12, 2022.

  • In this paper, Landes argues, contra some scholars in his field, that there is evidence for apocalyptic expectations circa the year 1000. Rather than “overemphasize the importance of fear and relief as the defining emotions of apocalypticism, [Landes prefers] to focus on the more significant and creative apocalyptic emotions, namely, hope and disappointment. If we shift our attention from “paralyzing” fears to “galvanizing” hopes (often “set off” by fears), we can begin to understand how to trace the presence of apocalyptic expectations in the texts and how to understand their historical role in generating social change.” (101)
  • “As a social phenomenon, apocalypticism defies all expectations of fundamentally rational behavior. In its early stages it tends to unleash impulses normally held in check, leading to extreme and emotional behavior – ascetic, libertine, violent. Of course, from the viewpoint of those who believe that the rule set is about to change radically, that God is about to intervene in history on their side, that they need no longer fear future consequences of “inappropriate” behavior, then the normal inhibitions that govern us tend to vanish. Whatever the subsequent costs, apocalyptic believers live in a world of great intensity – semiotically aroused, they see every event as a sign with a specific message for them; emotionally aroused, they feel great love and sympathy for their fellow believers and for all potential converts; physically aroused, they act with great energy and focus; vocationally aroused, they believe that they live at the final cosmic conclusion to the battle between good and evil and that God has a particular role for them. While this belief may be internally consistent, from a larger temporal perspective it is neither rational nor, in most cases, compatible with social stability. [bolding mine-PL](101-102)”
  • “Hope, then, is the key to understanding the apocalyptic mind-set. But apocalyptic hope – especially in its chiliastic variants – is most often the currency of those who believe they are oppressed. In this worldview – which is not exclusively but is certainly emphatically Christian – suffering is a mark of God’s favor, a favor that will become manifest, gloriously manifest, only at the Apocalypse. The meek shall inherit the earth, and those who hold the corrupt power that currently rules the world shall receive a just and severe punishment. (102)”

Landes, Richard. Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad, Boston, USA: Academic Studies Press, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781644696415, accessed January 13, 2022. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9781644696415/html?lang=en

  • I neither endorse nor criticise this book because I haven’t read it. And I haven’t read it because I’ve only just discovered it. I wondered if Landes had anything to say about Woke-ism. And it appears that he does:
  • About this book: Drawing on the dynamics of apocalyptic movements, Landes looks at the turn of the millennium in terms of a radical mismatch between two millennial styles, an Islamist pre-modern (Caliphators) and a Western post-modern (Woke). Due to a striking cognitive failure, Westerners could neither see nor discuss the foe they faced, and repeatedly, convinced they were bending the arc of history towards justice, took sharp wrong turns.”
  • There are several publicly available PDFs under the “Contents” subheading of this webpage.

ANTI-OPPRESSION

A few examples of anti-oppression commitments and activities in Canadian Universities:

University of Regina. “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression (EDI-AO),” Executive Offices, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, https://www.uregina.ca/president/Equity_Diversity_and_Inclusion/index.html, accessed January 13, 2022.

  • If anyone cares to translate the following bafflegab in the comment section, I’d be much obliged: “True alignment signifies the power of interconnectedness and transforming thought and word into deed and action while honouring who we are, where we are, where we have been, and where we are going.”

University of Guelph. “Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism Training Module,” Principles of Belonging, Diversity and Human Rights (DHR), University of Guelph, https://www.uoguelph.ca/diversity-human-rights/educational-resources-training/principles-belonging-anti-oppression-anti-racism, accessed January 13, 2023.

MANDATORY!

The Office of Diversity & Human Rights (DHR), is pleased to introduce a new online training module, Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism. This module is mandatory* for new, incoming students and available to all students, faculty, and staff and introduces core principles that can be used to foster more inclusive spaces and create a culture of belonging for all campus community members…

*This module is mandatory for Students. Students who wish to apply or join University supported employment and volunteer activities including but not limited to student Athletics, Student Affairs’ student staff positions, and volunteer student activities including the Peer Helper Program, must show they have completed the module. For the purpose of this module, “Student” means new incoming undergraduate students, any undergraduate varsity student athletes or student executives of teams in the Gryphon Clubs program, any undergraduate student employed through Student Affairs, and any undergraduate student participating in Student Experience programs and/or volunteer activities, such as Peer Helpers.  Questions regarding this module should be directed to the Office of Diversity and Human Rights.


Petition initiated by Sydney Thib in 2020. “Queens University: Mandatory Anti-Oppression Course,” Change.org, https://www.change.org/p/queen-s-university-queen-s-university-mandatory-anti-oppression-course?redirect=false, accessed January 13, 2023.

  • “The purpose of this petition is to ensure that any new incoming students for Fall 2020 and onwards be required to take a course about anti-oppression to graduate in order to learn about the history of oppression and how it influences their own lives and thinking, as well as to challenge their own biases.”
  • This petition has accrued 7, 505 signatures to date.

Anderson, Calum. “Mandatory ‘Anti-Oppression’ Training at a Canadian Legal Charity,”Aero Magazine, Politics, 25/11/2020, https://areomagazine.com/2020/11/25/mandatory-anti-oppression-training-at-a-canadian-legal-charity/, accessed January 13, 2023.

  • Calum Anderson is a JD candidate and member of the Queen’s Law Chapter of ProBono Students Canada (PBSC) who is “dismayed by their decision to include mandatory anti-oppression training for all volunteers.”

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