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ERIC Number: EJ879559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0882-4843
Radical Lessons: Thoughts on Emma Goldman, Chaos, Grief, and Political Violence Post-9/11/01
Kensinger, Loretta
Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices, Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, v20 n1 p50-70 2009
Since that fateful day in September 2001, and in its terrible aftermath, the author has often sought inspiration from a wider community of humans seeking to create a different, less terrifying, world. In concluding her 1912 article, "The New Year," Emma Goldman boldly asserted, "Out of the chaos the future emerges in harmony and beauty." Chaos is all too easy to feel these days. In the author's experience, feelings of chaos are often intimate partners of grief and grieving. The events of 9/11/01 and its aftermath, let alone the other catastrophes the twenty-four hour news cycle brings daily, have clearly brought distress, suffering, and strong emotions. Certainly Goldman's life, history, and ideas are not the only reminders that acts of terrorism and reactions to them have a past on these shores. Still Goldman's life, times, and ideas provide their own instructive materials from which to view more recent events. In reflecting on today's experiences through her eyes, one may gain a different lens through which to view the world, enabling new vision and deeper insight. This article is a thought piece in which the author utilizes aspects of Goldman's life and words as heuristic guides to reflect upon various aspects of the present condition. It, in this sense, reflects what Penny A. Weiss has called "conversation as method," in this case placing events of today in conversation with Goldman, and vice versa. The author makes an assumption in this piece that, like her, readers are seeking a different lesson out of events of the times than the one hegemony is offering. In this article, the author focuses on: (1) making visible the loaded nature of terminology; (2) the importance of, and dangers in, seeking to understand the causes and uses of political violence; and (3) the need to have a constructive vision of change to lessen the inevitability and/or destructive power of political violence. She locates these reflections in her readings of Goldman, but they may not be lessons Goldman intended to teach or would like to have inspired. These lessons are perhaps neither very new, nor earth-shattering, but they are, the author hopes, radical, in the sense of bringing some clarity that uncovers the roots of the framings and reactions of the issues of the day. They are radical in the sense that they also seek to allow a different story to emerge in the wake of recent events. (Contains 15 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A