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Greetings

Greetings... this blog is a higgledy-piggledy pile of social-political stuff, pictures I like, and general ramblings.
I'm also involved in wangclub.tumblr.com
Jul 21 '14
"The line between pragmatism (focusing on finding quick and practical solutions to specific issues) and respectability politics (making ourselves look ‘respectable’ in the eyes of those with power, often by disavowing the more marginalised members of our own community) is in places very thin indeed. I have learned over the years that pragmatism which isn’t built on a solid foundation of principles and ideals generally yields the wrong solutions and that there is a fine art to practising pragmatism without engaging in respectability politics."
Jul 13 '14

On Learning Self-Care

omnivory:

It’s taken so long to figure out what “self-care” is. And I’m still working on it. 

In some serious ways, I was neglected as a child. Not in the casual sense, but the clinical sense. Kids learn to care for themselves by being cared for, and seeing other people take care of themselves. In many basic and important ways, I wasn’t cared for. And my parents weren’t great at caring for themselves,…

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Jul 9 '14

(Source: poyzn)

Jun 29 '14

Perspectives on Learning

iCog conference 2014
Perspectives on Learning
15th-16th October 2014
Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh

The second annual iCog conference will focus on the theme of learning in cognitive science. We invite the submission of abstracts from postgraduate and early-career researchers in anthropology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and related disciplines.

Abstracts should be no more than 500 words, and can be submitted at tinyurl.com/icogsubmission.

Please use the ‘abstract’ box to specify whether you wish to be considered for a full 20-minute presentation, a poster, or both. The full 500-word abstract should then be uploaded where the option is given to upload a paper. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 22nd August 2014 (23:59 UK time). Any questions should be directed to icogconference2014@gmail.com.

Learning, broadly construed, provides a point of intersection between the disciplines that comprise cognitive science. We are interested in drawing together different perspectives on the theme of learning in order to facilitate co-operation between the disciplines and to develop new approaches to old problems. We understand learning to include a diverse range of topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Neural plasticity
  • Memory formation
  • Language acquisition
  • Machine learning
  • Pedagogy and imitation
  • Cultural transmission

We are interested in any submissions on the theme of learning in cognitive science, but have come up with a list of potential questions in order to provide some inspiration:

  • What is the relationship between the neural processes involved in learning and the environment that learning takes place in?
  • What kind of neural architectures are involved in learning?
  • How is pedagogy influenced by culture and other social factors?
  • What is the contribution of the teacher, the student and their peers, to the learning process?
  • Is the best way of understanding learning as knowledge transmission? Is it a more enactive process? Or is there some further way of understanding how people learn?
  • How should we understand the relationship between neural plasticity, learning in individuals, and learning in society?
  • Do cultures learn, and if so, how?
  • What can attempts at machine learning tell us about learning in natural systems?
  • What makes learning distinct from simply responding to a stimulus?
  • Can the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science contribute to our understanding of learning? If so, how?
  • Does learning language transform how and what we can learn?
  • How does learning in another language affect the learning process?

Confirmed guest speakers:
Andrew Philippides (Informatics, Sussex)
Jean-Marc Dewaele (Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck)
Szu-Han Wang (Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems, Edinburgh)
Alex Doumas (Psychology, Edinburgh)

We are grateful for the support of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and Eidyn (The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind, and Normativity).

Jun 26 '14
"Power is being able to say complete and utter nonsense and have it be believed, powerlessness is where no matter how much cogent evidence and proof one has, to not be believed."
Catharine MacKinnon. (via womentoadmire)
Jun 24 '14
"Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know."

Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)

OH WAIT LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT CECILIA PAYNE.

Cecilia Payne’s mother refused to spend money on her college education, so she won a scholarship to Cambridge.

Cecilia Payne completed her studies, but Cambridge wouldn’t give her a degree because she was a woman, so she said fuck that and moved to the United States to work at Harvard.

Cecilia Payne was the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Not only did Cecilia Payne discover what the universe is made of, she also discovered what the sun is made of (Henry Norris Russell, a fellow astronomer, is usually given credit for discovering that the sun’s composition is different from the Earth’s, but he came to his conclusions four years later than Payne—after telling her not to publish).

Cecilia Payne is the reason we know basically anything about variable stars (stars whose brightness as seen from earth fluctuates). Literally every other study on variable stars is based on her work.

Cecilia Payne was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and is often credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women in the Harvard science department and in astronomy, as well as inspiring entire generations of women to take up science.

Cecilia Payne is awesome and everyone should know her.

(via bansheewhale)

Jun 23 '14
"

There is some evidence that meditation boosts the immune response in vaccine recipients and people with cancer, protects against a relapse in major depression, soothes skin conditions and even slows the progression of HIV. Meditation might even slow the aging process. Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, get shorter every time a cell divides and so play a role in aging. Clifford Saron of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, and colleagues showed in 2011 that levels of an enzyme that builds up telomeres were higher in people who attended a three-month meditation retreat than in a control group.

As with social interaction, meditation probably works largely by influencing stress response pathways. People who meditate have lower cortisol levels, and one study showed they have changes in their amygdala, a brain area involved in fear and the response to threat.

"

Fascinating read on the science behind how our minds affect our bodies, from loneliness to optimism to meditation (via explore-blog)

(Our mind is part of body - down with silly dualisms!)

Jun 20 '14
"Most of the world’s exploited labor comes from women. Women work in the sweatshops and the giant factories. Women sow and tend and harvest the world’s crops. Women carry and birth and raise children. Women wash and clean and shop and cook. Women care for the sick and the elderly. All of this - layer upon layer of labor - is what makes human society possible. Ripping it off is what makes capitalism possible."
Jun 17 '14

I suddenly understood Ms D’orsay in a very personal level

wetmattos:

If, after an exchange in which to the comprehension of a phenomena you present concepts which aren’t hegemonic and aren’t understood by the other parties, they demand that you explain then instead of recognizing their ignorance and taking actions to amend it, it means they were not interested in it in the first place.

By not being an active party in their learning, they’re shifting their responsabilities away to you, perpetuating the Structure in which oppressed people have to serve those who have privilege.

In these cases, as debate and discussion would be pointless, mocking their ignorance is a way to openly defy their power and exercise Agency, since it pushes back their responsability to them - something which they’re not used to, and will answer with more violence.

This is the first time I’ve found the words to speak about it, and I’m quite proud of what I got. Am I close enough, tonidorsay?

Jun 15 '14

We’re Not Cis Boys and We Never Will Be

baeddeltrender:

Pro-tip: If you aren’t a trans woman don’t think that you are capable of knowing how we’re treated as children. You will literally be wrong every time because you don’t know. Trans girls =/= cis boys. We don’t internalize things the same way, we don’t get treated the same, and it’s absolutely asinine to say that we are somehow privileged by the very thing that is actually killing us.

The argument that trans girls are male privileged because people can mistake us to be cis boys makes about as much sense as saying a lesbian is privileged because she can be mistaken for being straight. We still have a deep seated internal identity of female. We are still bombarded by cultural messages about women through numerous mediums and we still internalize those messages as women. [TW for sexual assault in the links] Growing up as a trans girl can be incredibly traumatic, That trauma and systemic oppression is directly caused by patriarchy and how we are mistaken for men. It literally can not be a function of male privilege. We can not be privileged by one of the things that traumatizes us.

For a similar example, I’m parsed everyday as a cis woman. Are you going to tell me that I have cis privilege because I look like a cis woman and people treat me as one if I don’t out myself? I still have dysphoria. I still see the transmisogyny in media without end. I am still effected by transmisogynistic laws. The bottom line is that I am still trans and I can not escape that, no matter how I look, I am oppressed by transmisogyny. Just like how just because I am a femme does not mean I have het privilege cause I don’t “look like a lesbian”. I am still oppressed by lesbophobia.

We don’t become trans, or stop being cis. For many of us we have been and always will be trans girls. If you are trying to hold trans girls accountable for something that we have never held you are being a transmisogynist.

The idea that privilege solely stems from how other people perceive you is almost only used to talk about trans people and that alone should be an obvious tell that a lie is being told. This also all ties deeply into the socialization “debate”. If you wouldn’t say “het raised lesbian”, or “able raised disabled person”, or “sexual raised asexual” why on earth do you think it’s okay to call trans women “male raised”?

It should be blatantly obvious how suspicious that is. Maybe it’s because I’m a trans woman who gets to live this daily but it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out that for no other group do you suddenly talk about how others having perceived them makes them less of X social class. Obviously you might talk about how compared to others in a group someone might benefit from not being read a certain way, like I’m less at risk for a public confrontation because I “look like a cishet” woman. That doesn’t negate my membership to the social classes of transgender and lesbian though.

Stop assuming that all trans women were “raised cis”. No we’re not cis people and we weren’t raised like cis people because we internalize things differently. If individual trans women feel that they were raised as a cis boy and need to work on their male socialization good for them but stop painting that as the norm. It’s not accurate and it’s incredibly harmful. We’re not cis boys and we never will be.

Jun 13 '14
Jun 9 '14

mikroblogolas:

anti-pineapple:

This thing about male victims

cliche-resister:

A couple of weeks ago, The Independent ran an article on male victims of domestic violence. There were some factual inaccuracies in the report along with the use of the statistic that one in three victims of domestic abuse in Britain is male. I challenged these on twitter. I received the response below from a professional referenced in the article

alan idva3

But I’m not going to move on. I’d prefer to talk about this statistic because it is unhelpful at best, it is derailing and dangerous at worst.

The claim of gender parity in domestic violence, or at least of much less difference than is conventionally believed, is nothing new, in fact it’s been popping up – and out of the mouths of Men’s Rights Activists – since at least the 1970ies.  No matter how often or how robustly ‘gender symmetry’ claims are rebuffed and refuted, its advocates continue to regurgitate their position.

‘A third of all victims of abuse are male’

The data referenced, that approximately a third of victims of domestic abuse in the UK are male comes from data from the British Crime Survey. It contrasts significantly from data from police crime reports which estimate that between 80-90% of violence against the person reported is by women assaulted by men.

The main problems with the statistic that a third of reports are by men are

  • It is about domestic abuse and/or conflict, not domestic violence
  • The data does not differentiate between cases where there is one incident of physical conflict/abuse/violence or those where violence is repeated. If we look at the data for where there have been four or more incidents, then approximately 80% of victims are women
  • The data does not differentiate between incidents where violence and abuse are used as systematic means of control and coercion and where they are not
  • The data does not include sexual assault and sexual violence
  • The data does not take account of the different levels of severity of abuse/violence, ‘gender symmetry’ is clustered at lower levels of violence
  • The data does not take account of the impact of violence, whether the level of injury arising from the violence or the level of fear. Women are six times more likely to need medical attention for injuries resulting from violence and are much more likely to be afraid
  • The data does not differentiate between acts of primary aggression and self-defence, approximately three quarters of violence committed by women is done in self-defence or is retaliatory.

In fact, if these issues are taken into account, research consistently finds that violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women and levels are consistent with data of reports from the police. This is supported by data from the Crown Prosecution Service that shows that across the five years between 2007/8 and 2011/12, 93.4% of those convicted for crimes relating to domestic violence were men.

Looking at sexual offences

43,869 sexual offences were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2011/12.

In the same year:

  • 96.7% of cautions issues for sexual offences were to males
  • 98.2% of prosecutions for sexual offences were against males
  • 99% of convictions for those found guilty of sexual offences were male

54% of UK rapes are committed by a woman’s current or former partner.

But that doesn’t mean that there is gender parity if sexual offences are excluded from consideration.

‘It’s harder for men to report, there’s much more of a taboo for men’

Exactly the opposite:

  • men are more – not less – likely to call the police
  • men are more likely – not less – to support a prosecution
  • men are less likely – not more – to drop charges.1

Another way to get round the issue of unrepresentative reporting is to look at who gets killed, dead people don’t get the choice of whether or not to inform the police. UK Homicide records between 2001/2 and 2011/12 (11 years) show that on average 5.7% (296 total) of male homicide victims and 44.2%(1066) of female homicide victims are killed by a partner or ex-partner. Expressed as an average of those killed by a partner or former partner over 11 years, 22% were men, 78% were women.

Note, the domestic homicide figures do not tell us the sex of the perpetrator, nor is the sex of the perpetrator revealed for all other types of homicide. Men are overwhelmingly killed by other men – regardless of the relationship between victim and perpetrator. Women are overwhelmingly killed by men – regardless of the relationship between victim and perpetrator

‘Maybe the police see what they expect to see, gender stereotypes mean that men are more likely to be perceived as the aggressor’

Except that they’re not. Research by Marianne Hester (2009), found that women were arrested to a disproportionate degree given the fewer incidents where they were perpetrators. During a six year study period men were arrested one in every ten incidents, women were arrested one in every three incidents.

When women do use violence, they are at risk of greater levels or retaliatory violence.

Women are penalised, not excused, not invisible, if they transgress gender stereotypes.

‘Women make false allegations’

Except when they don’t and in the vast majority of cases they don’t.

The Crown Prosecution Service recently released data from a 17 month period in which there were 5,651 prosecutions for rape and 111,891 for domestic violence in England and Wales. Over the same timescale, there were only 35 prosecutions for making false allegations of rape, six for false allegations of domestic violence and three that involved false allegations of both rape and domestic violence.

‘Women exaggerate’

Women overestimate their own use of violence but underestimate their victimisation. Women normalise, discount, minimise, excuse their partners’ domestic and sexual violence against them. Women find ways to make it their fault.

In contrast, men overestimate their victimisation and underestimate their own violence.Men are more likely to exaggerate a women’s provocation or violence to make excuses for initiating violence and, where retaliation has occurred, in an attempt to make it appear understandable and reasonable. Paul Keene, used the defence of provocation for his killing of Gaby Miron Buchacra. His defence claimed that he was belittled by her intellectual superiority and that he lost control after rowing with her by text over a twelve hour period. That a jury accepted his defence is a further example of how men’s violence is minimised and excused. Not only by men and the women they assault, but by the legal system. The right to claim abuse as a mitigating factor in domestic violence homicide cases was vitally important for women like Kiranjit Aluwahlia, Emma Humphreys and Sara Thornton, all of whom had suffered years of violence and abuse at the hands of the men they killed. That such a defence could be used in Paul Keene’s case only illustrates how differently women and men who use violence are treated.

A radical feminist perspective, based on an understanding of socially constructed gender roles and differences within the framework of patriarchal society does not mean that all men are violent to women, or that men are genetically pre-disposed to violence. It means the opposite. It means that women and men are socialised and that – within the limits of choice permitted by the social environment – we can choose to be different.

Whether coming from an anti-feminist Men’s Right Activist perspective, or from a
genuine desire to support those men who are victims of domestic or sexual violence, those who use statistics that overstate similarities between male and female violence are either doing so wilfully, to pursue their own agenda, or because they genuinely haven’t taken the time to – or have failed to – understand the statistics.

I have no desire to deny any man’s reality. Denying women’s much greater suffering as victims of domestic and/or sexual violence is a political act. The differences between men and women’s use of violence and experiences of victimisation do not need to be denied or minimised for all victims to be deserving of safety and support. It is quite possible to believe that no woman, child, or man deserves to be a victim of sexual or domestic violence (or indeed of any other type of violence) whist maintaining a feminist agenda to end women’s oppression.

Footnotes

1 Kimmel 2002

2Dobash et al. 1998

thanks to the OP for writing this. I wanted to write a similar post after seeing that video go around falsely claiming that men make up 40% of victims of domestic violence. (the video was made, unsurprisingly, by a men’s rights organization.) for more details about the statistics, the Kimmel article can be read in full here (pdf). it’s also relevant to point out that many, many abusers present themselves as the victim and their victim as the abuser, a fact that any organization dealing with domestic violence must address, particularly those that aim to serve male victims of violence, unless they want to be complicit in and perpetuate male violence against women.

(Source: plansfornigel)

Jun 7 '14
"Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belonging to a man - a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virle. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chastity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus - they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chastity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality, needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched."

Monica Sjoo, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth  (via funeral)

I hope this is true.

(Source: ynannarising)

Jun 7 '14
Jun 5 '14