Dear Occupiers and supporters:

I am currently organizing a project to bring together articles from political philosophers, ethicists, and other related theorists into a book which will be printed and delivered directly to #Occupations nationwide. The working title is “#OccupyTheory,” and the book is motivated by the idea that we, in our professional expertise as philosophers, scholars, and theorists, have the ability to contribute in valuable ways to the conversations going on with #OWS and, through our contribution, help the movement. We want to get this book written, printed, and out in the streets as soon as possible, and ASAP is actually pretty soon, if we do this the right way.

Printing and distribution will be paid for through Kickstarter, unless we end up working with a large publisher who’ll ship a large number to #Occupations nationwide pro bono. No matter what, though, the book (1) will be available online for free in pdf and ereader formats, (2) a significant number will be provided for free in hard copy to some of the larger #Occupations, (3) the book will be available to be carried by bookstores, and (4) will be available on a Print-on-Demand basis through Amazon.

My question for you at this stage in the project:
As someone involved with or interested in #OWS, what do you think we, as political philosophers and related scholars, can best contribute to the movement? If you could have us write about any topic or on any question, what would it be?

We have our own agenda individually, just like everyone else involved in #OWS, and each of us will write what we think is important and what we think is the most valuable and helpful thing that we can contribute. So your answer to the above won’t determine what we write on, but I will use your responses to help write the Call for Papers that goes out, so if there’s something you want to hear from us, ask it, and there’s a good chance that a scholar somewhere will decide to write on it.

We’ll also be doing an online open peer review process, and would like to invite not only academics, but also anyone involved in #OWS to contribute to the review process. We’ll post information about how to participate in peer review here, when the time is right.

Please reply as a comment to this post. Thanks!

D.E. Wittkower
Department of Philosophy
Old Dominion University


Filed under Announcements, Rob, Scholarship

14 responses to “#OccupyTheory

  1. I have been doing some reading about the Millennial Generation (1978-1996) and how they are going to change the way things are done for the next 50 years. They are the largest demographic group since the baby boomer generation and their influence will be profound. This generation has propelled the Occupy Movements around the globe in 2011. This a poll that Pew research has done. I think this would be a great topic to write about as it speaks to the all the young people on the front lines.


    On a more esoteric note, on March 11 Saturn moved in Aries which was the day of earthquake in Japan. Saturn has not been in this position since 1927- 1935 ( the depression, rise of fascism etc) . It will stay in Aries for 7 years. There is lots of research on this and the importance of 2012.

    Also Vanity Fair did an article in 2006 on the birth chart of United States which is a fascinating read. I think an article about a global awakening of consciousness speaks to the deeper meaning in the world wide protest movement of re-imagining a different world.


  2. Mike O.

    almost all the posts here: http://baselinescenario.com/

    These guys helped me understand how the WS masters of the universe made this mess. Ritholtz’s blog is here:http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/
    As you can see I’m a business econ wonk, but my training is in visual art. I got myself a big mad when the WS financial titans tore my retirement plans apart with their cheating and fraudulent behavior back in the first decade of this millennium and in the years that followed. I think it is very important for us to understand the economic realities of our situation. Being informed about CDS’s and MBS’s (among very many other things) is VERY important to effecting change.

  3. We’re having a history-off in honor of Occupy. Like a dance-off except with history.

    Friends are building up a site, occupyaction.net, designed to push the conversation about demands, logistics, and what a group of radicals can do for their cities. In particular, we’re putting together a real-time talent show — showcasing spoken word, dancing, song, and rap to support the protest, both events that take place on site and videos made in solidarity by those at home.

    Immediately, I’m asking historians and other scholars to contribute a 5-minute Youtube talk explaining what #ows is, where it came from, and what it should do — maybe the sort of five-minute talk you’d give a class of first-year history students to frame the issue and provoke debate. My friend Scott Nelson, the historian of the Long Depression and frequent WSJ contributor, has just put up the first video.

    I just tweeted:
    #occupyaction is staging a history-off. like a dance-off except for history. VOTE NOW! Scott Nelson on #ows youtu.be/9TM7UIloHx0

    If you’re reading this and you’re a grad student, teacher, professor, or history lover, please submit your own 5-minute talk on youtube and pass it around with the hashtag #occupyhistory. Let’s give the movement all the context we have!

    In solidarity,
    Jo Guldi — Harvard Society of Fellows

  4. I think an interesting read for OWSers might be from the literary and legal theorist Stanley Fish and his work on Interpretive Communities.

    “Interpretive communities are made up of those who share interpretive strategies not for reading in the conventional sense but for writing texts, for constituting their priorities and assigning their intentions.”

    -Stanley E Fish, Interpreting the Variorum

    When participating in the consensus GA process understanding what shapes an individual’s interpretive capabilities would be very handy.

  5. One thing that might be beneficial is an article or two on the history of the failure of past populist movements in the past…to the end of avoiding the same fate.

    For what it’s worth, Jeff Stout’s book “Blessed are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America” (Princeton, 2010) that came out last year is worth mentioning both for its helpfulness and clarity, but also as an example of combing theory and on-the-ground experience.

  6. An excellent and timely resource that people should have is “Seeing Systems” by Barry Oshry (from Berrett-Koehler Publishers). I just took part in a one-day systems simulation as part of my graduate program in Toronto and the takeaways were significant.

    I also am conducting a brief project on online content curation and cannot think of a more worthy effort than the OWSL. Had I not been awake studying at this late hour and seen this linked in my Twitter feed, I may not have known it existed.

    It’s heartening to see that the efforts in NYC and across North America have changed the national conversation. As an expatriate, I hope for the best, that people are able to create constructive change without allowing disillusion or frustration to take them backwards.

  7. well what should u write about? delve into??the thing at the core!! love v fear..the reason police and so called straight people attack this unusual movement is because they are afaid of the new the different the OUT OF THE BOX even open life itself..surrounded by illusion ie culture body identification quest for material possessions..and FITTING IN ..love is anacceptance of what is………in part………and denying that what is…in this case…a corrupt system….is not optimun they self limit ulimatly out of fear and superstition that change is scary and not joyful perhaps life itself

  8. David Star

    I would like to read about those people living in despair of the state of our country which seemed hopeless to bring the subject up about how it was not working and the corruption that the elite were getting away with. I’d like to know what was it that made them join the movement? I mean what was that last straw that they said to themselves enough is enough?

  9. Z

    This is the beginning of the discussion that will change the world. We are a smart enough race to make this world a beautiful place for everyone to live a prosper.

  10. catalinagooden

    I want to write a bit for you guys! http://catalinagooden.wordpress.com It’s more than a blog. It’s life, philosophy, reality and truth! Enjoy!

  11. How are you brothers and sisters?

    • Bette

      I’m impressed that ows is inclusive. Before this movement, there was manipulation to play the working class against the middle class…..to divide by encouraging people to fight over crumbs. Somehow, that has backfired. I would be interested in an exploration of the crossroads that could have weakened the majority; how was this avoided?

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