What People Are Saying About Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State

Here are some comments about Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State, the two books that have resulted from the Talking Radical project, by scholars, writers, and activists:

Talking Radical is original, bold, and important. It gives, not only to Canadians but to those of us in other countries, a look at Canadian history from the standpoint of those people omitted from orthodox histories. Instead of reading about these people, we hear their own voices, refreshingly spontaneous, and we are inspired by their stories of survival, struggle, resistance.

    — the late Howard Zinn, Professor of Political Science at Boston University and author of A People’s History of the United States

This work is a treasure that provides a portal to Canadian history, bringing it alive and urgent through the voices and profound insights of veteran social justice activists, an indispensable guide for present and future generations to carry on these struggles.

    — Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, veteran activist, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Howard, and author of numerous books on Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, as well as three books of memoir, including Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975.

Never doubt that a few committed people can change Canada (and the world) for the better. Scott Neigh’s oral histories show not only the power of committed idealism, but also how the history of our whole country has been shaped in large part by brave Canadians who refuse to accept the misery and injustice that surrounds us. Read these books to learn how the history of social change organizing is indeed the history of Canada – and then go out and start making your own history.

    — Jim Stanford, union economist and peace activist

The shared text in their sub-titles, Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists, tells you that Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State are woven from two different kinds of narratives. The first is a compact history and analysis of a wide variety of justice and liberation struggles in Canada, from the anti-psychiatry movement to pacifism, anti-racism to Christian feminism, union activism to Aboriginal education. The second is the stories of individual activists who helped move these struggles forward, often in their own words. What the sub-titles don’t say is that there is a third narrative here, the author’s own journey, sometimes painful, of self-awareness. By combining three approaches, the stories of courageous ordinary people make the larger analysis understandable on a human scale. In turn, the bigger picture puts the individual activists in context, and shows how each helped a movement make a difference far beyond their own personal sphere. What a fine entry point into history for a whole new generation of activists.

    — Anne Bishop, author of Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People and Beyond Token Change: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in Institutions

Activists and organizers work on the ground in day-to day struggles for justice but often have little historical perspectives. How can they find out about the legacies and lives of those who came before, what lessons are there for contemporary work for economic and social justice? Scott Neigh has made an important contribution to helping us answer these questions. Gender and Sexuality and Resisting the State bring to life the earlier struggles of labour, native people, women, pacifists, and immigrant groups. Each chapter is based on prominent activists and organizers and integrate both interviews and the voices of these pioneers with discussion of context and wider issues. The combination makes for lively reading both personal and political. The perspectives are diverse with a common commitment to justice and social change. There are very few books that present these histories, even fewer that do it with passion and highlight lives and struggles. This book is essential for organizers, activists and students who see themselves as part of the on-going fight for economic and social justice in Canada.

    — Eric Shragge, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University; co-founder of the Immigrant Workers Centre Montreal; author of Activism and Social Change; co-author with Aziz Choundry, Jill Hanley, Steve Jordan, and Martha Stiegman of Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants; co-author with James DeFilippis and Robert Fisher of Contesting Community: The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing.

In the pages of these books history comes to life in popular and accessible ways allowing readers to make connections between past struggles, our present struggles and possible futures. … The powerful and often inspiring narratives that Scott weaves together provide important moments of our social histories and are not only about the historical past – although often they allow us to view and feel the past in very different ways. They are also very much about the historical present that we find ourselves in today, how it has been made, and how it can be transformed.

    — from the Foreword by Gary Kinsman, Professor of Sociology at Laurentian University, and author, co-author, or editor of The Regulation of Desire: Homo and Hetero Sexualities; Whose National Security? Canadian State Surveillance and the Creation of Enemies; Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research; and, The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation.

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