Cynthia Enloe: on being curious


The moment when one becomes newly curious about something is also a good time to think about what created one’s previous lack of curiosity. So many power structures-inside households, within institutions, in societies, in international affairs-are dependent on our continuing lack of curiosity. ‘Natural,’ ‘tradition,’ ‘always,’ each has served as a cultural pillar to prop up familial, community, national, and international power structures, imbuing them with legitimacy, with timelessness, with inevitability. Any power arrangement that is imagined to be legitimate, timeless, and inevitable is pretty well fortified. Thus we need to stop and scrutinize our lack of curiosity. We also need to be genuinely curious about others’ lack of curiosity-not for the sake of feeling self-satisfied, but for the sake of meaningfully engaging with those who take any power structure as unproblematic. –Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist (2004, 2-3).

Religion and race (a 1963 talk by Rabbi AJ Heschel)

Heschel, “Religion and Race,” Speech Text

Gupta access to the president 27 June 2016

Gupta access to the president
In the Sunday Times, Business Times Page 4 in an article on Reuel Khoza Ajay Gupta is quoted as telling the SABC at a breakfast sponsored by his [the Gupta’s] company that meetings were held the first Sunday of every month at the presidential guesthouse. “We all sit together and discuss the country and what best we can do for the country.”
Do other business people have similar access?

AJ Heschel: The three dimensions

The concern for others is not an extension in breadth but an ascension, a rise. Man reaches a vertical dimension, the dimension of the holy, when he grows beyond his self-interests, when that which is of interest to others becomes vital to him, and it is only in this dimension, in the understanding of its perennial validity, that the concern for other human beings and the devotion to ideals may reach the degree of self-denial. Distant ends, religious, moral and artistic interests, may become as relevant to man as his concern for food. The self, the fellow-man and the dimensions of the holy are the three dimensions of a mature human concern.


Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, was the first white religious figure to respond to Martin Luther King jr’s call for white people to join the Montgomery march. He remained close to King. Cornel West describes Heschel as one of the great prophetic figures of the 20th century. He died in 1972,

Abraham Joshua Heschel on thinking, questions and answers in philosophy and religion

There are dead thoughts and there are living thoughts. A dead thought has been compared to a stone which one may plant in the soil.   Nothing will come out. A living thought is like a seed. In the process of thinking, an answer without a question is devoid of life. Continue reading

Political freedom and values beyond elections by Raymond Suttner (Polity)


[This article first appeared on Creamer Media’s website:]


Political freedom and values beyond elections




This week’s elections, which could lead to significant changes in electoral power of the ANC and other parties, are very important. But if we want to build a society on an emancipatory basis, we need questions to be addressed that go beyond what is currently being offered by – or is at stake in – elections. That is not to say that parties cannot address these questions, but they first need to be raised. Continue reading