Thinking Critically About Society Winter 2015 Seminar Series

Ahoy there local book-lovers! Old Capitol Books is excited to start up our Thinking Critically about Society Series again this winter together with the Direct Action Monterey Network and the Monterey Community Education Project.

This series of seminar sessions has been put together to encourage the exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge surrounding a particular topic or theme. We want to create a place where people can meet with other people from Monterey Bay communities to talk about current events and discuss new philosophies and ways of thinking critically about society. Though these seminars have been designed for non-students, and for those of us who have had little or no college experience, everyone is invited to participate. We believe that everyone can have something to offer to the seminars as we move through current debates in politics and different political and social theories.


What is Anarchism?

February 6th, 2015 – 6pm

What do people mean when they say “Anarchism”? Between the international Occupy movement, and questions surrounding capitalism, Anarchism has been a topic that has been much in the media of 2014. This seminar will introduce you to the philosophies of Anarchism through key readings, and then use these philosophies to discuss current events. The purpose of these seminars is not an attempt to “convert” anyone to a particular way of thinking, but to provide them with a wider range of experiences that may help them to see the world in a different way.


  • Howard Zinn – “Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
  • Emma Goldman – “Anarchism: what it really stands for”. FULL TEXT
  • Noam Chomsky – “On Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
  • Encyclopedia Brtiannica, 1905 – “Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
  • L. Susan Brown – “Does Work Really Work?”, Kick it Over, #35. FULL TEXT

Polyamory/Ethical Non-Monogamy

February 13th, 2015 – 6pm

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – Why not try something a bit different? Come read about the theory and practice behind what people are calling “polyamory.”

“Polyamory (from Greek πολύ [poly], meaning ‘many’ or ‘several’, and Latin amor, ‘love’) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It is distinct from both swinging (which emphasizes sex with others as merely recreational) and may or may not include polysexuality (attraction towards multiple genders and/or sexes).”


  • “Infinite Relationships.” Reading online free here.
  • Angi Becker Stevens. “Polyamorous Relationships are about More than Just Couples”. Read online here.
  • And if you feel like you just can’t get enough polyamory literature, you can read The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. A full .pdf is available here.

Animal Rights/Animal Liberation


February 20th, 2015 – 6pm

Humans’ interactions with the animal world is arguably that of exploitation and abuse. How does capitalism effect human – animal relationships? How do the concepts of utilitarianism and vegetarianism intersect? Is Descartes still relevant today?

Readings to be confirmed.

Understanding Post-Colonial Theory

February 27th, 2015 – 6pm

While the study of post-colonial theory is generally confined to the ivory towers of institutions of higher education, understanding post-colonialism can help us to understand the human consequences of the control and settlement of nations and peoples – on the ways of thought of both the colonized and the colonizers.


  • Introduction to Edward Said’s Orientalism. Read online here.
  • “Introduction: Points of Departure” in An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory by Peter Childs and R.J. Patrick William. Read online here.

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