Model Texts by Student Authors
What Does It Mean to Be Educated?113
Broton, K. and Sara Goldrick-Rab. "The Dark Side of College (Un)Affordability: Food and Housing Insecurity in Higher Education." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, vol. 48, no. 1, 2016, pp. 16-25. Taylor & Francis, doi: 10.1080/00091383.2016.1121081.
This article shines a light on food and housing insecurity in higher education. It makes the argument that not having adequate meals or shelter increase the likelihood of receiving poorer grades and not finishing your degree program. There are a few examples of how some colleges and universities have set up food pantries and offer other types of payment plan or assistance programs. It also references a longitudinal study that follows a group of students from higher education through college and provides supporting data and a compelling case study. This is a useful article for those that would like to bring more programs like these to their campus. This article is a good overview of the problem, but could go a step further and provide starter kits for this interested in enacting a change in their institution.
Davis, Joshua. "A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses." Wired, 15 October 2013, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html.
This article profiles a teacher in a small school in an impoverished area of Mexico. He has created a space where students are encouraged to learn by collaborating and testing, not by lecture. The article ties the current system of learning to be rooted in the industrial age, but goes on to note that this is negative because they have not adapted to the needs of companies in the modern age. This article is particularly useful to provide examples of how relinquishing control over a classroom is beneficial. It also has a timeline of alternative teaching theorists and examples of schools that are breaking the mold of traditional education. My only critique of the article is that, although it presents numerous examples of a changing education system, it is very negative regarding the prospects for education.
Davis, Lois M., and Robert Bozick, Jennifer L. Steele, Jessica Saunders, and Jeremy N.V. Miles. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults. RAND, 2013, www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html.
This meta-analysis from the RAND Corporation, a non-partisan think tank, reviews research done on the topic of education in correctional institutions. The facts show that when incarcerated people have access to education, recidivism drops, career prospects improve, and taxpayers save money. There are differences based on the type of education (vocational versus general education) and the methods (using technology had better outcomes). It is interesting that the direct cost of education was offset by the reduced recidivism rate, to the point where it is more cost effective to educate inmates. This analysis would be particularly useful for legislators and correctional institution policy makers. I did not see in this research any discussion of student selection; I believe there may be some skewed data if the people choosing to attend education may already be more likely to have positive outcomes.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1929.
In this collection of writing, Emerson insists that primary inspiration comes from nature and education is the vehicle that will "awaken" him to the knowledge of this fact." Emerson sees the nonchalance of children as something to aspire to, which should be left alone. He is critical of parents (and all adults) in diminishing the independence of children. This source is particularly useful when considering the alignment of educators and pupils. Emerson contends that true genius is novel and is not understood unless there is proper alignment between educators and pupils. I think this is a valuable source for pupils by increasing their level of "self-trust."
Gladwell, Malcolm. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, Little, Brown & Co., 2014.
Malcolm Gladwell generally has some interesting takes on the world at large. In this book he looks at what is considered a strength and where it may originate. The most interesting part of his argument, I believe, is that which states that a perceived deficiency, like dyslexia, may serve as a catalyst for increased ability in another area. Gladwell says that compensation learning can be achieved when there is a desirable difficulty. This book, and much of Gladwell's work, can be especially useful for those which want to look beyond the surface of the world to make sense of seemingly random data. Much of the book rang true to me since I have had an especially hard time reading at an adequate speed, but can listen to an audiobook and recite it almost verbatim in an essay.
Hurley, J. Casey. "What Does It Mean to Be Educated?" Midwestern Educational Researcher, vol. 24, no. 4, 2011, p.2-4.
In his keynote speech, the speaker sets forth an argument for his understanding of an "educated" person. The six virtues he espouses are: understanding, imagination, strength, courage, humility, and generosity. These, he states, can lift a person past the baseline of human nature which is instinctively "ignorant, intellectually incompetent, weak, fearful of truth, proud and selfish" (3). I prefer this definition over any other that I have come across. I have been thinking a bit about the MAX attacks and how Micah Fletcher has responded to the attention he has received. I am proud to see a 21 year old respond with the level of awareness around social justice issues that he carries. These traits that he exemplifies, would not likely exist in this individual if not for the education he has received at PSU.
Introduction to El Sistema. Annenberg Learner Firm, 2014. Films Media Group, 2016.
This video profiles El Sistema. El Sistema was designed in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu in 1975 as a method for teaching social citizenship. The method is to have groups of children learn how to play orchestral music. It is community-based (parents participate) and more experienced members of the group are expected to teach younger students. in Venezuela, this program is government-funded as a social program, not an arts program. This video would be useful for those that are interested in how arts can be used for social change. I thought it was interesting that one of the first tasks that groups perform is to construct a paper violin. I am a fan of breaking down a complicated item, like the instrument, to its constituent parts.
Petrosino, Anthony and Carolyn Turpin- Petrosino, and John Buehler. "'Scared Straight' and Other Juvenile Awareness Programs for Preventing Juvenile Delinquency." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 589, 2003, pp.41-62. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002796.pub2
This article is a meta-analysis of Scared Straight and similar crime deterrence programs. These programs were very popular when I was in high school and are still in use today. The analysis shows that these programs actually increase the likelihood for crime, which is the opposite effect of the well-meaning people that implement such programs. This is particularly useful for those that are contemplating implementing such a program. Also, it is a good example of how analysis should drive decisions around childhood education. I do remember programs like this from when I was in high school, but I was not because I was not considered high-risk enough at the time. It would be interesting to see if the data is detailed enough to see if selection bias affected some of the high rates of incarceration for these offenders.
Robinson, Ken. "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" TED, February 2006, https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
In this video Ken Robinson simply states that creativity is as important as literacy. Creativity, he defines, as "the process of having original ideas that have value." Robinson states that children are regrettably "educated out of creativity" and that is imperative that we do not stigmatize failure. To emphasize this point he gives an example of a cohort of children which would retire in 2065, but no one can possibly imagine what the world may look like then. This piece is particularly useful for the fact that it highlights the ways creativity may be stifled or encouraged. There are is a bit of conflating of creativity and ADHD in this video, but in either case the message is to listen and encourage the pupil as a whole being.
Smith, Karen. "Decolonizing Queer Pedagogy." Journal of Women and Social Work, vol. 28, no. 4, 2013, pp. 468-470. SAGE, doi: 10.1177/0886109913505814.
in Karen Smith's essay, the purpose of education- at least the course entitled Queer Theories and Identities- is to "interrupt queer settler colonialism by challenging students to study the ways in which they inherit colonial histories and to insist that they critically question the colonial institutions through which their rights are sought" (469). This particular course is then, going beyond simply informing pupils, but attempting to interrupt oppressive patriarchal systems. This article is particularly useful as an example of education as social activism. This theme is not one that is explored greatly in other works and looks at education as a means of overthrowing the system, instead of pieces which may looking at increasing an individual's knowledge or their contribution to society.
Pirates & Anarchy114
(Annotated Bibliography - see the proposal here and the final paper here)
"About Rose City Antifa." Rose City Antifa. rosecityantifa.org/about/.
The "about" page of Rose City Antifa's website has no author or date listed. It is referenced as a voice in the conversation around current political events. This is the anarchic group that took disruptive action during the Portland May Day rally, turning the peaceful demonstration into a destructive riot. This page on their website outlines some core beliefs regarding what they describe as the oppressive nature of our society's structure. They specifically point to extreme right wing political groups, so-called neo-nazis, as the antithesis of what antifa stands for. Along with this, they state that they acknowledge the frustration of "young, white, working-class men." Antifa as a group intends to give these men a meaningful culture to join that doesn't include racism in its tenets, but seeks freedom and equality for all. Action is held in higher regards than rhetoric. This voice is important to this body of research as a timely and local consideration on how anarchy and anarchic groups relate to piratical acts in the here and now.
Chappell, Bill. "Portland Police Arrest 25, Saying a May Day Rally Devolved into 'Riot'." Oregon Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, 2 May 2017, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/02/526532023/portland-police-arrest-25-saying-a-may-day-rally-devolved-into-riot.
This very short news report documents the events at the Portland May Day Rally this past May 2nd. What began as a peaceful rally for workers' rights became a violent protest when it was taken over by a self-described anarchist group. The group vandalized property, set fires, and hurled objects at police. This is an example of recent riots by local anarchist groups that organize interruptions of other political group's permitted demonstrations in order to draw attention to the anarchist agenda. The value of this report is that it shows that anarchy is still a philosophy adopted by certain organizations that are actively seeking to cause disruption in political conversation.
Dawdy, S. L. & J. Bonni. "Towards a General Theory of Piracy." Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 85, no. 3, 2012, pp. 673-699. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/anq.2012.0043.
Comparisons are drawn between Golden Age pirates and current intellectual pirates in this in-depth article looking at piracy over time. The authors offer a definition of piracy as "a form of morally ambiguous property seizure committed by an organized group which can include thievery, hijacking, smuggling, counterfeiting, or kidnapping" (675). They also state that pirates are "organizations of social bandits" going on to discuss piracy as a rebellion against capitalist injustices (696). The intentional anarchic nature of the acts committed are a response to being left behind economically by political structures. The authors conclude with a warning that "we might look for a surge in piracy in both representation and action as an indication that a major turn of the wheel is about to occur" (696) These anthropological ideas reflect the simmering political currents we are experiencing now in 2017. Could the multiple recent bold acts of anarchist groups portend more rebellion in our society's future? The call for jobs and fair compensation are getting louder and louder in western countries. If political structures cannot provide economic stability, will citizens ultimately decide to tear it all down? The clarity of the definitions in this article are helpful in understanding what exactly is a pirate and what their presence may mean to society at large.
Hirshleifer, Jack. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown." Journal of Political Economy, vol. 103, no.1, 1995, pp. 26-52.
This rather dense article is written around the question of the sustainability of anarchic organizations. The goals and activities are discussed in their most basic form in terms of resource gathering, distribution and defense. it does provide a solid definition of anarchy by stating, "anarchy is a social arrangement in which contenders struggle to conquer and defend durable resources, without effective regulation by either higher authorities or social arrangement in which contenders struggle to conquer and defend durable resources, there is not hierarchy of leadership. The author does discuss the fragility of these groups as well. Agreement on a social contract is challenging as is remaining cohesive and resisting merging with other groups with different social contracts. This element of agreement on structure make sense in terms of piratical organizations. Captains are captains at the pleasure of the crew so long as his/her decision making enables the group as a whole to prosper. The anarchy definition is useful to bring understanding on what ties these groups together.
Houston, Chloe, editor. New Worlds Reflected: Travel and Utopia in the Early Modern Period, Ashgate, 2010.
This book, which is a collection of essays, explores the idea of utopia. The editor describes it in the introduction as "an ideal place which does not exist"- a notion that there is in human nature a desire to discover the "perfect" place, but that location is not attainable (1). The desire itself is key because of the exploration it sparks. There are three parts to the book, the second being "Utopian Communities and Piracy." This section mostly contains essays that relate to explorations for the New World and pirate groups' contributions that either helped or hindered the success of such expeditions. While there is much that is interesting here, especially in terms of "utopia" as a motivator, there is not much that lends information on piratical exploits. I'll likely not use this source in my essay.
"I am Not a Pirate." This American Life, episode 616, National Public Radio, 5 May 2017, https://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/616/i-am-not-a-pirate.
This podcast showcased three examples of pirates, discussing the circumstances surrounding their choice to enter that world and the consequences that befell them. One example was a gentleman pirate from the early 1700s who bit off more than he could chew. Another was a Somali-American who went back to Somalia to help reestablish government in the region and ended up tangled in the gray area between good intention and criminality. The final pirate is a female Chinese pirate from the early 1800s who was so successful that she was able to remake the rules of piracy to her and her crew’s great advantage. The information offered in this podcast includes valuable information (especially regarding Somalia) on the opportunities or lack thereof that attract otherwise normal individuals to piracy. The vacuum of ineffectual governance and unfair economic practices both contribute to this. Citizens’ determination to be masters of their own destiny results from this lack of central societal structure. They choose desperate measures.
Otto, Lisa. “Benefits of Buccaneering: The Political Economy of Maritime Piracy in Somalia and Kenya.” African Security Review, vol. 20, no. 4, 2011, pp. 45-52. Taylor & Francis, doi: 10.1080/10246029.2011.630809.
The economy of piracy in Somalia is addressed in this article. From the economic vacuum of a failed state leaving citizens to turn to desperate measures, to the eventual organization of piracy into burgeoning industry, perfect conditions existed for the normalization of criminal acts. The article goes on to elaborate on the costs to other industries in the region, to the social structure of Somalia, and the cost in lives lost. Finally, the author makes suggestions for counter-piracy strategies. Interestingly, those suggestions are similar to the efforts that ultimately led to the ending of piracy in Somalia, as referenced in the more recent podcast, “I Am Not a Pirate.” Published around 2011, this article predates the demise of the industry after 2012. The research value here is in the economic and social factors that led otherwise average citizens to violent criminality. The decentralization of government in particular leading to clans sanctioning piracy is especially interesting in terms of anarchic political structure.
Samatar, Abdi Ismail, Mark Lindberg, and Basil Mahayni. “The Dialectics of Piracy in Somalia: The Rich Versus the Poor.” Third World Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 8, 2010, pp. 1377-1394. EBSCO, doi:10.1080/01436597.2010.538238.
This article is similar topically to the Otto article, though it is a much deeper dive into the historical and political events that led to the collapse of the Somali centralized government. It also describes various piratical incidents as the criminal industry became more rampant. There is a list of four conditions that precipitate the foundation of modern piratical groups with similar themes noted in other articles. These should be referenced in my essay. The author also states, “It appears that the patterns of piracy in East Asia, and West and East Africa shadow global economic cycles and reflect the contestation over resources between the powerful and the poor” (1379).The idea of “moral economy” is addressed as the argument is made that a certain portion of Somali pirates are practicing “defensive piracy.” This in particular is useful as it outlines the consequences when the people’s expectations of government are not met—those expectations being a certain amount of livelihood and security. Citizens in poverty then believe it is their right to rebel when those in power shirk their responsibilities.
Snelders, Stephen, with a preface by Peter Lamborn Wilson. The Devil’s Anarchy: The Sea Robberies of the Most Famous Pirate Claes G. Compaen and The Very Remarkable Travels of Jan Erasmus Reyning, Buccaneer, Autonomedia, 2005.
The Devil’s Anarchy is a small book of about two hundred pages that outlines the loose societal structures of seafaring pirate groups that shunned hierarchical systems in their ranks. The historical tales of several pirates, including Claes Compaen and Jan Erasmus Reyning, are told. These swashbuckling accounts are full of details describing pirate lifestyles. The truly useful portions of the book are the introduction and the final chapter entitled “The Politics of Piracy.” The preface by Peter Wilson discusses ideas of “freedom” as the primary motivator for those seeking this way of life, a dismissal of expected norms of society. The last chapter talks about the ways in which the anarchical approach both helped and hindered various pirate groups. These ideas will be helpful in drawing connections between anarchy and piracy.
Wachhaus, T. Aaron. “Anarchy as a Model for Network Governance.” Public Administration Review, vol. 72, no. 1, 2011, pp. 33-42. Wiley, doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2011.02481.x.
This author of this article seeks to propose the application of anarchist perspectives onto network studies and theory. There is a shift of mind necessary to turn from hierarchical structures of management to one that is a linkage of groups acting collectively. Several points of direction are listed as suggestions for moving toward this perspective. Repeatedly, the author mentions the necessary strength in the linkages of groups, to provide stability and promote “dynamic” activity and sharing. More research is called for to discover what has made anarchy-oriented groups successful in the past. While this article isn’t specific to political groups, it does break down elements of anarchic social structure in a way that provides clarity to how they tend to be organized. There is similar ideas of collective action and sharing of resources, in this case information, and fairness in distribution and contribution of actors in these groups. This will be helpful for synthesizing information on anarchy in application to pirate groups.
Williams, Daniel E. “Refuge Upon the Sea: Captivity and Liberty in The Florida Pirate.” Early American Literature, vol. 36, no. 1, 2001, pp. 71-88. Project MUSE, doi: 10.1353/ea1.2001.0009.
This is a review of a text from the 1820’s called The Florida Pirate. The text tells the tale of a slave that escapes slavery and becomes a pirate— the oppressed becoming the oppressor. His ultimate demise comes when he chooses to set free some captives rather than kill them, which is rewarded with those captives betraying the ex-slave to the authorities. He is then executed. According to the author of the review, it is the slave’s personal journey through these incarnations of his personhood that were intended as a condemnation of the institution of slavery. The text was intended to compare slave-owners to pirates in an attempt to highlight the criminal nature of owning humans. While this is a fascinating read, and piques my interest in reading the original text, it is less relevant to my argument. It refers to a fictional work rather than factual events.
A Case of Hysterics115
(Annotated Bibliography – see the proposal here and the final paper here)
Annandale, Ellen. “Missing Connections: Medical Sociology and Feminism.” Medical Sociology Newsletter, vol. 31, no. 3, 2005, pp. 35-52. Medical Sociology Online.
This journal article looks into how society’s definition of gender has changed, and how medical sociology needs to change with it. The author proposes that that there is a need to bring feminist theory and genderrelated research on health and illness within medical sociology much closer together than they are at present. Annandale argues that “Within this new single system the common experience of health-related oppression is produced differently, and experienced differently, through systematically driven processes of sex/gender fragmentation” (69). This source is unique because it addresses the concept that gender as we know it today is much different than what it was when Hysteria was a common phrase. Annandale recognizes that sexism in the medical field is prominent, and that sexism reinforces these exhausted gender stereotypes.
——. Women’s Health and Social Change, Routledge, 2009.
Upon researching for this paper, I’ve learned that Ellen Annandale is a very reputable source on the topics of feminism, sociology, and epidemiology. In this book, she discusses the relation between women’s health and their position in society at the time from the perspective of women writers and feminists. Because of the past negative appraisal of feminine capabilities, she argues that we have been forced into a binary society that is characteristic of our patriarchal past. She boldly defines the system of women’s health as a brand of patriarchal capitalism. Interestingly, she also brings forth the knowledge that the gender gap is decreasing in terms of life expectancy. Why has men’s life expectancy improved so greatly while women’s falls short? Ignorance. This has already proven useful in my research due to the addressing of current health issues that affect both men and women due to sexism.
“Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine – Hysteria.” Science Museum, www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/hysteria [Expired link]
This brief web article serves to loosely explain the history of Hysteria as a disease. The author begins with Plato and ends with the eradication of the term hysteria in the mid-1960s. While the article’s purpose is to explain where hysteria began and where it has come to, the author offers a brief acknowledgment that the practices are still with us in modern medicine. The author states that modern doctors have merely “cloaked old ideas behind new words.” While this source doesn’t offer a lot of thesis support, it is useful as a reliable source of facts on the history of Hysteria. This article will be helpful in creating a timeline for the practice of diagnosing women with the disease.
Culp-Ressler, Tara. “When Gender Stereotypes Become a Serious Hazard to Women’s Health.” ThinkProgress, 11 May 2015, archive.thinkprogress.org/whengender-stereotypes-become-a-serious-hazard-to-womens-health-f1f130a5e79/.
In this web article, Culp-Ressler analyzes the widespread and serious effects that gender stereotypes can perpetuate within the medical field. She utilizes individual accounts of women who experienced sexism when seeking medical attention, as well as current studies which further prove the gap that exists between male and female healthcare quality in the United States. Through these detailed experiences, Culp-Ressler argues that the frequent disregard for women’s knowledge of their own bodies contributes to both harmful gender stereotypes as well as deadly diseases that go untreated. She states that society is willfully ignorant in their knowledge of female medicine: “This has been going on for centuries... conversion, hysteria, the name changes but it’s still the same and it’s happening today.” This will be useful in that it presents a number of documented cases of misdiagnosis; especially with a common theme in being treated as a mentally ill patient rather than one experiencing pain. Part Three: Research and Argumentation 355 This source follows my argument rather closely, and will be helpful in supporting my thesis.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” 1892. Archived at U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 June 2017, www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/theliteratureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digi talDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf [also available at www.gutenberg.org/files/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm].
The Yellow Wallpaper is an important narrative from the early 1900s that illustrates the delusional medical procedures placed onto women. Gilman herself experienced what was called the “rest cure,” which in essence confined women who were diagnosed with Hysteria or nervous diseases in a room to do nothing, limiting their “stressors”. They were forced to eat copious amounts of food to gain weight, and they were allowed no company. This story is told from the perspective of an insane person, as she herself admittedly nearly slipped into madness. If anything, this piece serves as a firsthand account of the damage done to women in a time when they had less rights, and when women’s medicine was seriously lacking. This will be helpful in understanding how these treatments were accepted by the public, as well as noting the unintended effects of said treatments.
——. “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” 1913. Archived at The College of Staten Island, City University of New York, 8 June 1999, csivc.csi.cuny.edu/history/files/lavender/whyyw.html [Link expired]. [Also available via The National Library of Medicine and The American Yawp Reader].
This brief letter was meant to address the many inquiries that Gilman received about her story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This letter is meant to explain that although she added little “embellishments and additions”, it remains a fully viable account of a woman who fell into madness because of unsound medical advice. Within, she details her nervous breakdowns. She also provides details of the lifestyle she was told to lead in order to keep her nerves at bay: she was given advice to “‘live as domestic a life as far as possible,’ to ‘have but two hours’ intellectual life a day,’ and ‘never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again’ as long as I lived.” Of course, this didn’t work. Just as “The Yellow Wallpaper” is helpful in providing an in depth look at someone experiencing such a treatment, Gilman’s letter is useful in that it was written in a place where she had fully recovered due to not taking her physician’s advice. She also notes that a different physician read her book, and since had ceased prescribing “rest cures”. First-hand accounts of experiences such as these will help provide credibility to my argument.
Gilman, Sander L., et al. Hysteria beyond Freud, University of California Press, 1993.
Though this book has five authors contributing, the section titled “Hysteria, Feminism, and Gender” will be the most useful for this paper. In this essay, Elaine Showalter attempts to explain to the reader that although the term “hysteria” was used mainly by men toward females as a negative term, modern women are “reclaiming” the feminine right of hysteria. Feminism was coming more into the mainstream during the early/mid 90s, when this book was published. It is clear that Showalter’s views might not hold true today, because of more recent medical studies confirming the falseness of Hysteria. This piece is interesting because in her attempt to argue the reclamation of hysteria by modern feminists, she succumbs to the long-enforced stereotypes of patriarchal medicine and culture. This source would be helpful to demonstrate the extent to which sexism can reach, internalization of stereotypes is common. While this book might not help in furthering my argument, it is interesting to see women that view Hysteria as a right of femininity and something to be claimed.
Kellogg, John Harvey. Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease: Girlhood, Maidenhood, Wifehood, Motherhood, Modern Medicine Publishing Co., 1896. Archived at University of North Texas Health Science Center, 4 March 2011, digitalcommons.hsc.unt.edu/hmedbks/13 [Link expired]. [Also available via https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044025682261&view=1up&seq=11.]
This book’s title screams exactly what its purpose was: describing women’s health risks based on what part of life they were in (all parts centered around the presence or absence of a man). Limiting women to particular and confined social roles was the norm in the early 1900s. This book is so sexist, and so perfect for my paper. Not unlike Emily Post, Kellogg attempts to explain to women the necessary steps they ought to take in order to lead healthy, childbearing lives. Aside from being hilarious, this instruction manual is written by a man, for women, and perfectly demonstrates how sexism has continually permeated the medical field.
Scull, Andrew. Hysteria: The Disturbing History, Oxford University Press, 2011.
In this book, Andrew Scull covers a lot of ground as he moves through analyzing the history of Hysteria. His argument centers on a Freudian Hysteria, and how his views (or rather all psychoanalytical views) came to be seen as obsolete but Hysteria still lingers with new vocabulary. Scull also delves into the history of men being diagnosed with Hysteria, or nervous diseases, most specifically due to the Second World War. He notes that as Hysteria was seen as a feminine disease and an affliction of the imagination, these men received little to no treatment - similar to females diagnosed with hysteria. They were seen as cowardly and inferior for something that today would be easily recognizable as post-traumatic stress disorder. This source will be helpful in demonstrating that while the patients were male, they were seen as contracting a feminine disease that was “made up in the mind,” therefore hindering the help that they needed. This illustrates the bias that exists with illnesses associated with women.
Tasca, Cecilia, et al. “Women and Hysteria in The History of Mental Health.” Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, vol. 8, no. 1, 2012, pp. 110-119. BioMed Central Open Access Free, doi: 10.2174/1745017901208010110.
This is a thought-provoking scientific look at the history of women being diagnosed with mental disorders (specifically nervous diseases like Hysteria) correlated to where in the world and at what historical time these diagnoses occurred. Tasca aims to inform the audience that perhaps the role of women in these different global locations contributes to firstly the opportunity to be diagnosed by a sexist male physician, as well as whether their emotions would be seen as varying from the norm. She further explains this by saying, “We have seen that both the symptomatic expression of women’s malaise and the culturally specific interpretation of the same malaise witness the changing role of women. From incomprehensible Being (and therefore mean of the Evil) to frail creatures that try, however, to manipulate the environment to their own ends (in Freud’s view) to creature arbiter of his fate (in the modern transformation from hysteria to melancholia), where the woman seems to have traded power with the loneliness and guilt.” This article has given me a new look at why and how these misdiagnoses are so common and continuing. It is helpful due to its extensive studies in multiple parts of the world, as well as Tasca’s analysis of the effect that the evolution of the role of women has on stereotypes.
Planting the Seed: Norway’s Strong Investment in Parental Leave116
Few experiences, if any, can match the power of becoming a parent, both in terms of sheer magnitude and pure happiness. Many parents consider the birth of their children their lives’ single greatest moments—the heart and purpose of human existence. From the instant a tiny, brand-new life is handed off to eager parents, overcome with awe and amazement at the sight of what they created together, friends, family and even strangers come forward bursting with excitement to pour out their deepest affection to the new arrival. To the world, a birth inspires hope and radiates joy, even for those who never have children of their own. But with it also come some intense fears. From worries over the ever-soaring prices of daycare to concerns about simply finding the time to properly raise a child amid work and other life obligations, welcoming a new baby gets frightening quickly. Time off from work to focus fully on the many challenges of baby-rearing can drastically ease the burden for moms and dads. New parents all across the world know this, but few actually experience it as strongly as those in Norway.
From low crime rates to accessible health care to high-quality education, all piled on top of immediately obvious breathtaking scenery, countless perks make it clear why Norway was ranked the happiest country in the world for 2017 (Hetter)—not the least of which is the country’s generosity toward new parents. Norway offers one of the best parental leave policies in the world, granting parents a liberal sum of both shared and individual paid leave so they can stop and concentrate on parenthood during their newborns’ critical early months, and fostering gender equality by allowing paid leave time for fathers. Meanwhile, many other countries, like the U.S., the world’s only industrialized nation to guarantee no paid parental leave whatsoever, place a lesser focus on time off for parents, seemingly without respect for the myriad struggles new families face. This could be to the disadvantage of not only moms and dads but also the economy at large, given the many benefits of parental leave— reduced infant mortality, better care for babies, reduced likelihood of mental illness for mothers and savings for businesses—most of which carry into the long-term (Wallace). Considering even a few advantages of parental leave, it’s easy to wonder why more countries don’t make leave for parents a top priority, especially when countries like Norway are realizing its positive impacts.
While Norway (along with a small handful of other countries) currently leads the way when it comes to parental leave following a birth, the country once offered leave for working mothers that more so resembled what the U.S. offers today—which isn’t much. Before the introduction of new leave reform in 1977, Norway only gave mothers 12 weeks off after the birth of a child, and with no pay; today, however, mothers get about a full year of paid leave and an additional year of job protection (Carneiro). So what does that mean for the busy, modern-day working mother? For Else Marie Hasle, a 32- year-old marketing professional living in Oslo, Norway’s capital city, it meant 11 months at home with her infant daughter while collecting 80 percent of her salary (Grose). In an August 2014 interview with Slate Magazine, Hasle explained that she spent the three weeks at home before the birth of her daughter, Natalia, at home and remained home with Natalia until she was 10 months old (Grose). Mothers like Hasle also have the option of a shorter leave period with 100 percent of their pay. The choice of shorter leave with more pay, or vice versa, is up to the mother.
The permission for parents to choose their own terms makes Norway’s parental leave not only generous but also flexible. Right now, according to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, or NAV for short, Norway offers parents 49 weeks at full salary or 59 weeks at 80 percent pay—one of the longest parental leave allowances in the world. This time includes three weeks of leave for the mother prior to the baby’s due date and 10 weeks each for the mother and the father—called “maternal quotas” and “paternal quotas,” respectively—as well as 26 or 36 weeks, depending on the terms the couple chooses (salary in full or at 80 percent), which may be distributed among the parents as they see fit (“Parental Benefit”). Parents who adopt a child younger than 15 years of age may also draw benefits. These numbers are only matched by a handful of other countries, which includes Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
The reality for American mothers paints a bleak contrast to the situation in northern Europe. In the U.S., which stands alone as the only developed country in the world to guarantee no paid leave to either parent following a birth, expectant mothers apply for time off through the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allows up to 12 360 weeks of job-protected and employee benefits-protected leave (“FMLA”). Unfortunately, mothers must spend this time taking a pay cut. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world mandates some form of paid parental leave. Many countries also provide paid leave for fathers. Nearly half of 167 countries whose leave policies were examined in 2013 by the International Labor Organization offer paternity leave (Lord). The sad state of leave for new parents in the U.S. has remained a top issue of concern among politicians in recent years, oftentimes catching the common counter-argument that it simply costs businesses and the economy too much money. But while this is an important point, parental leave appears to be worth it in the long run.
A new mother leaving her place of work to dedicate time caring for a newborn continues to hold a position within the organization and to draw benefits, and, in countries that mandate paid maternity leave, to also receive a paycheck—all for no work. Considering the same circumstance for fathers as well spells double trouble for both productivity and revenue for businesses. Consider Christa Clapp, an American climate change economist living and working in Oslo with her husband, who took about a full year away from her job in 2016 to care for her son. But Clapp, writing for the “On Parenting” section of the Washington Post, argues that paid parental leave is actually a smart move for a country’s economy. The economic value of more mothers staying in the workforce full time, she claims, offsets the costs of the parental leave that makes it possible and results in an altogether more productive society (Clapp). Companies also save money on training and turnover costs because mothers are more likely to stay with the same employer after their leave (Wallace). What’s more, fathers taking their own paid leave creates a culture in which dads are more present in their children’s lives, and a more gender-equal and balanced workforce—a reality that fades in the U.S., where women often transition from employee to stay-at-home mom because it makes more economical sense for the family.
The benefits of parental leave appear to be strongest for mothers, like Clapp, and their children. In the immediate, obvious sense, the mother is home with the baby and free to devote her time to caring for and bonding with her child. But the benefits run deeper and last longer than what one can see at face value. A 2011 study of the leave policies in 141 different countries found that paid parental leave can actually reduce Part Three: Research and Argumentation 361 infant mortality by as much as 10 percent; another study found that paid leave also increases the odds that babies will be seen regularly by a health care professional and receive vaccinations on time (Wallace). Paid parental leave also makes breastfeeding, the healthiest meal option for babies, more successful, with women who take leave generally breastfeeding about twice as long as those who don’t (Ibid.). Mothers who take paid parental leave also face a smaller likelihood of mental health challenges, such as depression, even as many as 30 years later in life (Ibid.). This means that not only is mom in better condition when caring for her infant under the protection of paid leave, but the relationship between mother and baby is also healthier. And these benefits are lasting.
Children continue to reap the benefits of paid parental leave even into their adult years. A team of researchers examined the long-term impacts of maternity leave in Norway since the country’s introduction of paid, job-protected leave time for mothers on July 1, 1977. The team compared the outcomes of children born both before and after July 1, 1977, when new reform began guaranteeing paid leave to mothers, and found that “reform had strong effects on children’s subsequent high school dropout rates and earnings at age 30, especially for those whose mothers had less than 10 years of education” (Carneiro). Thus, increased time at home with children—especially time during which mothers can relax without fear of sacrificing their income—can lead to success in the child’s life. These findings, taken with the numerous benefits to mothers, demonstrate that parental leave isn’t necessarily a financial liability for businesses, who end up paying employees for no work; rather, it’s a wise investment not only in the short-term future of the worker but also in the long-term future of the country’s broader economy. But while these benefits focus on mothers and children, as does much of the research on parental leave, paid time off for fathers following a birth has its perks as well.
One of the unique features of parental leave in countries like Norway is that it also allows fathers to break away from work for time with their new children. Fathers in Norway enjoy 10 weeks of paid parental leave—referred to as a “paternal quota”—and they may also take additional time that comes from a leave bank they share with their partners, depending on their agreement with their spouses (“Parental Benefit”). To some, this may seem counterintuitive. For thousands of years, much of the world has believed that mothers exclusively—or at least mostly—handle newborn and infant care. Perhaps this is because, in the animal kingdom, it often makes the most sense, from the standpoint of survival. It once made sense for humans as well. But the human race of today is different, with fathers involving themselves more and more in their children’s lives from an early age—and to the benefit of both child and mother.
Currently, in many households, both parents work full-time. And despite a common theme throughout history of male superiority in the workplace—at least when it comes to salary—in 40 percent of families with children, the mother is the sole or primary provider of income (Livingston). This means that, more than ever, fathers are taking on childcare responsibilities. Aside from simply freeing dads up to shoulder the work of child-rearing equally with their spouses, leave for fathers results in stronger, lasting father-child bonds. Dads who take at least 10 days of parental leave are more likely than those who don’t take any leave at all to stay actively involved with child care; in Iceland, 70 percent of men who take parental leave are sharing care with their partners as far out as three years later (Wallace). Active fathers are a norm in Norwegian culture today, most likely because of parental leave.
Keeping dads active in child care, and in turn active in the child’s life altogether, is good for the whole family. Research has shown that a strong connection between father and child promotes social and emotional development, such as learning to regulate feelings and behaviors, and also results in better educational outcomes for the child (Oliker). Greater involvement of fathers also fosters gender equality in both the household and the workplace. Through shared and individual leave quotas, a father can help his spouse tackle childcare more like an equal; in doing so, he helps free his partner up to return to work and stay at work, evening the playing in the professional environment.
In the U.S., gender roles still largely represent traditional, more dated values and beliefs. Men are guaranteed no parental leave, paid or otherwise, and are therefore often less active and available in their children’s early months and years than their Norweigan counterparts. Gender inequity is accentuated and even mocked in the U.S. This inequality could be the result of no paid parental leave policy for Americans, and it could also be what’s holding such a policy back.
At any rate, it’s a central, relevant problem, along with a host of other factors, like extreme individualism, which keeps Americans working 60- to 70-hour weeks just to climb the professional ladder. Thus, for Americans, the birth of a new baby is often scary and intimidating when it should be tender, happy and exciting. With paid leave for new parents, the event could hold the special joy it’s naturally meant to. The introduction of paid parental leave would likely mean a challenge to ingrained patriarchal ideologies, although ultimately for the hope of a better society. Change is seldom easy, but it’s necessary for progress.
Carneiro, Pedro et al. “A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and LongRun Outcomes of Children.” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 123, no. 2, 2015, pp. 365-412. University of Chicago Press Journals, doi: 10.1086/679627.
Clapp, Christa. “The Smart Economics of Norway’s Parental Leave, and Why the U.S. Should Consider It.” Washingtonpost.com, 11 January 2016. Infotrac Newsstand, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=STND&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&id=GALE %7CA439615968&it=r&asid=ff084063bc4ea84e7a90e25bd5e82803.
“FMLA (Family & Medical Leave).” United States Department of Labor, 06 May 2016, https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.
Grose, Jessica. “What It’s Like for a Working Mom in Oslo, Norway.” Slate Magazine, 21 August 2014, www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/08/21/child_care_in_norway_an_oslo _mom_on_how_working_parents_manage.html.
Hetter, Katia. “Where Are the World’s Happiest Countries?” CNN, 21 March 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/03/20/travel/worlds-happiest-countries-unitednations2017/.
Livingston, Gretchen. “Among 41 Nations, U.S. Is the Outlier When It Comes to Paid Parental Leave.” Pew Research Center, 26 Sept 2016, http://www.pewresearch.org/facttank/2016/09/26/u-s-lacks-mandated-paidparental-leave/.
Lord, Andrew. “8 Countries That Put U.S. Paternity Leave to Shame.” The Huffington Post, 17 June 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/17/best-countriesfor-patern_n_7595946.html.
Oliker, Ditta M. “The Importance of Fathers.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 23 June 2011. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-long-reachchildhood/201106/theimportance-fathers.
“Parental Benefit.” NAV, 19 July 2013, www.nav.no/en/Home/Benefits+and+services/Relatert+informasjon/parent al-benefit.
Wallace, Kelly, and Jen Christensen. “The Benefits of Paid Leave for Children Are Real, Majority of Research Says.” CNN Wire, 29 Oct. 2015. Infotrac Newsstand, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=STND&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&id=GALE %7CA433033758&it=r&asid=77442d92bb22860c946f48bbff7cdcef.
Pirates and Anarchy: Social Banditry Toward a Moral Economy117
(Research essay – see the research proposal here and annotated bibliography here)
The power to prosper: is this not every human’s inalienable right? What happens when social, political, and economic systems conspire to limit the power of citizens to gain a fair share of resources? It may be that a government has sanctioned monopolistic practices to large corporate interests. It may be that racism or classism has damaged the ability of certain groups to exercise equal rights to education and employment. Perhaps the government structure has collapsed all together. The case could be that government actors have exchanged the well-being of citizens for ideological power and financial gain. Time and again, these types of inequitable scenarios have supplied the basis for otherwise average people to rise up and seize control of their own destinies. They disown the system. For freedom, for self-sufficiency, for a fair livelihood, they turn to anarchy. They turn pirate.
Pirates can be characterized as rebels rejecting societal structures that disenfranchise those with less access to resources. There is a common element of anarchy as a guiding philosophy of piracy. It is scaffolding on which to attempt to define why pirates do what they do. Viewing current political events through this lens, there seem to be more and more examples recently of small acts of piracy perpetrated by citizenry. This has taken the form of message hijacking at otherwise peaceful protests, rebellious attitudes and actions toward established government structure, cyber-attacks, and far-left-wing demonstrations and violence. Examining various piratical groups over time may help shed light on what current rebellious acts by citizens may portend.
To that end, let us begin by pinning down what exactly constitutes a pirate. The swashbuckling high-seas crews depicted in movies capture one incarnation. Rather, they display one romantic idea of what pirates might have been. Stripped of those trappings though, pirates can be defined in much simpler terms. Dawdy and Bonni define piracy as: “a form of morally ambiguous property seizure committed by an organized group which can include thievery, hijacking, smuggling, counterfeiting, or kidnapping” (675). These criminal acts have to do with forceful fair distribution of resources. When small powerful segments of society such as corporations, the wealthy, and the well-connected hoard these resources, pirate groups form to break down the walls of the stockpiles to re-establish level ground (Snelders 3).
Put another way, pirate cultures arise when the benefits of obtaining resources outside the rule of law outweigh the risk of violating the laws themselves (Samatar et al. 1378). When resources are unfairly distributed across society, citizens lose faith in the system of government. They see it as their right to take action outside the law because the government in charge of that law has shirked their responsibilities to provide security and a moral economy (Ibid. 1388). When the scope of the world narrows to eating or starving, when there is no one coming to save the day, when there is no other way out, when all that is left is survival, those are the moments that pirates are born. Citizens’ determination to be masters of their own destiny results from the lack of fair central societal structure. They choose desperate measures (“I Am Not”).
Piratical groups across time have other commonalities. They tend to be cohesive assemblies of displaced people. They have binding social agreements among members, such as work ethic and equal distribution of takings (Dawdy and Bonni 680- 681). There tends to be an anti-capitalist agenda in the prizes sought as a bid for economic freedom. While locally sanctioned by average citizens, pirates act counter to the rule of law, especially when economic opportunity within societal norms becomes scarce (Dawdy and Bonni 677). Pirates act in defiance of government.
In fact, parallels can be drawn between piratical groups and the philosophy of anarchy. Indeed, as noted above, pirates emerge out of the void left when hierarchical governments either collapse or abandon their responsibilities to citizens. Anarchy is the antithesis of centralized government. It is governance by social networks (Wachhaus 33).
The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines anarchy as “A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems” (Anarchy). However, Hirshleifer provides a more robust explanation by stating “anarchy is a social arrangement in which contenders struggle to conquer and defend durable resources, without effective regulation by either higher authorities or social pressures” (27). The lack of an overarching power structure is the main idea in both definitions, but in the latter, the motivations and activities of such groups are considered.
In a system of anarchy, groups must act collectively to seize and defend resources. Dissolution of ties between members is always a threat dependent on the individual profits of fighting for and defending resources (Hirshleifer 48). Cohesion then is contingent on mutual success.
There is a shift of mind necessary to turn from hierarchical structures of management to one that is a linkage of groups acting communally. Without decisive leaders in the power structure, social contracts can be difficult to construct and manage (Hirshleifer 48). The fluid nature then of anarchic group organization leaves them fragile. Group members must agree on goals and methods in order to achieve stability. Part Three: Research and Argumentation 367 Agreement on a social contract is challenging as is remaining cohesive and resisting merging with other groups with different social contracts (Hirshleifer 48). Fairness in distribution of holdings and contribution of actors in these groups is essential (Wachhaus 33-34). The constraints on authority within anarchic structures and the social agreements necessary for actionable goal achievement, mean that these groups are small and locally oriented. They must focus on the here and now of meeting the needs of members.
The anarchic element of agreement on structure makes sense in terms of piratical organizations as well. Captains are captains at the pleasure of the crew so long as his/her decision-making enables the group as a whole to prosper. His/her skills are useful only if plunder is acquired regularly and allotted equally. Crews are successful so long as they maximize skill sets and cooperate to compete with other groups to seize resources and to defend them. Therein lies their strength. A resistance of submission to anything but self-rule is, of course, paramount. To illustrate this, let us now explore some cases of pirates over time.
Piracy has been in existence throughout the ages and has taken on many forms. It is beyond the scope of this paper to cover the detailed history from its inception to current times. However, a few examples will be described that help to showcase the idea of societal inequalities leading to anarchy and piracy.
One of these incarnations was the seafaring sort terrorizing ships during the Golden Age of Piracy. This was during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reaching an extreme height of activity from 1690 to 1730 (Skowronek and Ewen 2). This exacerbation began after a combination of economic factors. First, the British Royal Navy released thousands of sailors by 1715 following the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (Snelders 168). Employment competition for these skilled seamen was fierce. Available posts were minimal and working conditions poor. This left many to turn to a life of piracy as a way to find occupation and freedom from oppressive maritime companies. Also, government sanctioned monopolization of trade mercantile companies caused damage to local economies. Smaller operations were not allowed to compete. The glut of unemployed sailors gave rise to piracy as economic protest (Dawdy and Bonni 681-682; Snelders 168). In fact, piracy in the early 1700s worked to throw trade into turmoil (Dawdy and Bonni 681). They robbed ships specifically to clip the metaphorical purse strings of enterprises such as the East India Company, which held a monopoly on maritime trade. Pirates during this time believed that their practices, violent though they were, were justified. It was their right to find their fortune outside the societal structure that would have them live in poverty.
Piracy was therefore a bid for freedom (Wilson xi). They were “organizations of social bandits,” rebelling against capitalistic injustices (Dawdy and Bonni 675). The intentional anarchic nature of the acts committed were a response to being left behind economically by political structures. They were fleeting and yes, floating communities involved in this social banditry intent on “Redistribution of economic wealth that would otherwise flow to merchant capitalists and state bureaucracies” (Snelders 3). They acted to balance the scales, though it should be said that those with even less access to resources also suffered at the hands of the pirates. Though this paper will not be going into specific details of exploits, it should be acknowledged that not all groups during the Golden Age of Piracy acted for the good of the moral economy.
Each of these pirate operations had its own micro-culture. To say they were all the same would be reductive. However, there was a generalizable pirate code during this time. Many of the elements of anarchy discussed above apply to the structure of these brotherhoods. Pirates created their own societies with their own agreed upon rules (Snelders 3). Pirate cultures demanded “mutual discussion, agreement upon goals, strategy, and tactics, and a fair distribution of the plunder” (Ibid. 162). Fraternal bonds were powerful. Without country or refuge, they had only their brotherhood by which to bind themselves (Ibid. 198). Home was a ship. Family was their crew. All the world their country. Pirate life was short and violent. They spent their shared plunder and celebrated often as if it were their last day on earth (Ibid. 198). The fact was that that might just be the case.
The pirate industry of the Golden Age of Piracy could not last. They had flouted their lawlessness and power too much. They had inflicted massive damage on the fortunes of the East India Company. Governments resolved to hunt down pirate operations (Skowronek and Ewen 2). Some slipped away to anonymity, but the majority were captured and hung as criminals. The Golden Age thus faded to legend. However, this was not the end of piracy.
An example of piracy in more modern times was the Somali pirates that preyed on ships skirting the Eastern African coast from 2008 to 2013. Many elements came together for this to take place. The crumbling state, a non-functioning government, clan rule, and tribal warfare all were contributors. Samatar et al. outline the following conditions that lead to modern piracy:
1) the existence of a favourable topographic environment; 2) the prevalence of ungoverned spaces—either as the result of legal dispute between states or simply because of their absence; 3) the existence of weak law enforcement or weak political will of governments or a cultural environment that is not hostile to piracy; and 4) the availability of great rewards for piracy while the risks are minimal. (1378)
All of these elements came together in Somalia to propagate piracy as a normalized practice. The downfall of the Somali government was the final catalyst for the emergence of piracy in the region (Samatar et al. 1384). State institutions became nonfunctioning, leaving instability in its wake (Otto 46). Without the structure of a central government, citizens were left to fend for themselves.
Piracy originated as ordinary Somali fishermen defending against foreign interests illegally looting fish from the coastline, depriving them of a valuable resource during desperate times (Otto 46; Samatar et al. 1387). There was no government force to prevent fish from being poached by adversarial enterprises seeking to capitalize on undefended waters. It fell to Somali citizens to maintain security. What became evident was that there was a larger prize than fish as an economic resource. Protecting the waters became fining or taxing for territory invasion. This in turn became kidnapping and ransoming (“I Am Not”; Otto 46). According to Otto, “a single ransom can generate up to US $10 million” (47). In 2010 alone, 1000 people were taken hostage (“I Am Not”). In the vacuum that was Somalia’s economy at the time, ransom piracy became the main industry in the region. Without a centralized government, clans ran the country in a network of warring tribes (Ibid.). Warlords and other clan members helped in the recruitment and coordination of pirate groups (Otto 47). Locals could invest in piracy and expect returns. The pirates grew well-funded and well-armed (“I Am Not”).
Eradication of piracy was a long and complicated process. A slow to strengthen central government reformed and began working with clans to end the ransom industry through a three step plan. A condensed look at this goes like this: religious pirate shaming, creation of alternative economic incentives, and rehabilitation of pirates (“I Am Not”). They were, after all, at a basic level, fishermen in need of employment. These were the efforts on land. This combined with seaward endeavors by foreign navies, increased security on shipping industry vessels, along with the practice of sailing farther from the coast allowed for the elimination of the pirate activity (Ibid.). By 2013, the industry of piracy in Somalia was ended.
Somalia remains economically fragile. Clans still maintain a level of power. A reemergence of rogue efforts to acquire resources doesn’t seem far-fetched. Piracy arises in this area of the world when global economic cycles leave the poor without proper access to economic participation (Samatar et al. 1379). It is a tried-and-true means of survival. Between piracy and community death by starvation, there is little choice. Now we will turn to a final and current piratical case.
This last example to be discussed is not a group of actors labeled as pirates. Rather they take action in a piratical manner. Self-identified anarchists, they are morally murky groups that utilize the practice of appropriating by force the protest demonstrations organized by other groups. This is done for the purpose of showcasing the anarchist agenda to which they subscribe (Farley). They seek to disrupt what they deem as society’s oppressive structure, particularly in terms of racism and fascism (“About Rose City”). These groups have become more active in defiance of the current political milieu in the United States.
At the Portland May Day Rally on May 2nd, 2016, what began as a peaceful and legally permitted rally for workers’ rights became a violent protest when it was taken over by an anarchist group (Chappell). Covered head to toe in black clothing complete with masked faces, the well-coordinated members of Rose City Antifa emerged from the crowd to sow chaos. The group vandalized property, set fires, and hurled objects at police.
Individual identities of members of anarchist groups are opaque. However, it is possible to find information on the belief system via their online presence. Rose City Antifa’s website outlines some core beliefs regarding what they describe as the oppressive nature of society’s structure. They see themselves in direct conflict with fascism. This is defined on their website as “an ultra-nationalist ideology that mobilizes around and glorifies a national identity defined in exclusive racial, cultural, and/or historical terms, valuing this identity above all other interests (ie: gender or class)” (About Rose City). The group points specifically to extreme right wing political organizations, so-called neo-nazis, as the antithesis of what Antifa stands for. Along with this is the acknowledgment of the frustration of “young, white, working-class men” in relation to economic opportunity. Antifa as a group intends to give these men a meaningful culture to join that doesn’t include racism in the tenets, but seeks freedom and equality for all. Action is held in higher regard than rhetoric. Thus the violent and destructive measures intended to send a strong and highly visible message.
Since the US election of 2016, citizens have become more politically engaged. Protests are once again growing normalized as the public seeks to have their political positions recognized by government representatives. Another anarchist group known as the Black Bloc create spectacle at a growing number of protests using militant tactics, especially property damage. They see political protests becoming more violent as a call out and call to arms to liberal citizens whom they feel are not taking right-wing activists with enough seriousness. The Black Bloc steadfastly believes in the righteousness of these tactics against fascism in the US, despite the illegality of such actions. They feel that they need to meet far right aggression with equal force in order to protect equal rights. Like other successful pirate operations, these anarchist groups have the will and the organization to take extreme measures (Farley).
The viewpoint is that this is standing up for the disenfranchised in a country where the centralized government has abdicated their duties. Freedom and facts being flouted by the current administration is stirring anarchist anger. The Black Bloc see themselves as rebelling against a system that is sanctioning a corrupt government (Farley).
Throughout this exploration of the above pirate groups, there is the thread of demanding a moral economy. One that provides an equal measure of opportunity and access to resources for all citizens in a nation. Samatar et al. explains it in this way:
The essence of the moral economy argument is that peasants and the poor in general have a set of expectations that govern their sense of justice. When such values are violated they respond vigorously to protect their livelihood and their sense of fairness. (1388)
Pirates defy the rule of law under hierarchical governments that fail to provide a moral economy. They create their own rules and cultural norms. They take action rather than sit quietly while rights are violated. Yes, there is violence. Yes, other members of society suffer losses at the hands of pirates. However, looking from a distance, it is possible to see the arc of change that occurs due to piratical movements. Golden Age pirates were able to disrupt harmful monopolized trade practices. Somali pirates forced leaders to reform a centralized government. It is yet to be seen what anarchist groups in the US such as Rose City Antifa and the Black Bloc will accomplish. One thing is certain: they are drawing attention to difficult issues. Perhaps the multiple recent bold acts of anarchist groups portend more rebellion in our society’s future.
Pirates can be seen as oracles of change. Dawdy and Bonni warn that “we might look for a surge in piracy in both representation and action as an indication that a major turn of the wheel is about to occur” (696). These anthropological ideas reflect the simmering political currents we are experiencing now in 2017. The call for jobs and fair compensation are getting louder and louder. Political polarization continues to freeze up the government, rendering them ineffectual. Worse, elected officials appear more concerned with ideology and campaign funding than the plight of the common man. They leave their own constituents’ needs abandoned. Citizens may turn to extreme political philosophies such as anarchy as a way to take piratical action to counteract economic disparity. A pervasive sense of powerlessness and underrepresentation may lead to the splintering of societal structure, even rebellion. Shrugging off accountability to the system as a countermeasure to what is seen as government’s inability to provide a free and fair system. This may be seen as empowering to the public. It may also signal a breakdown of centralized government. If political structures cannot provide economic stability, will citizens ultimately decide to tear it all down?
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Snelders, Stephen, with a preface by Peter Lamborn Wilson. The Devil’s Anarchy: The Sea Robberies of the Most Famous Pirate Claes G. Compaen and The Very Remarkable Travels of Jan Erasmus Reyning, Buccaneer, Autonomedia, 2005.
The Hysterical Woman118
(Research essay – see the research proposal here and annotated bibliography here)
Hysteria was a medical recognition dating back to 1900 BC, diagnosed by physicians liberally until recent times. The term Hysteria comes from the Greek word “Hystera,” which literally translates into “uterus.” The diagnosis and treatment of Hysteria were routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe and the United States, mainly for keeping women in line. Symptoms that indicated Hysteria were broad and all encompassing: nervousness, sexual desire, faintness, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, depression, heaviness in abdomen, etc. The number of diagnosed cases of Hysteria slowed as medical advancements proceeded, and in the early 1960’s (coinciding with the popularization of feminism) the “disease” ceased to be considered a true medical disorder. In modern medicine, the treatment and diagnosis of female medical issues continues to be vague and potentially harmful due to lack of knowledge. Does the concept of female Hysteria have continuity today? Although the vocabulary has changed, it is clear that the practice of ignoring serious medical ailments based on sex remains prominent in the world of medicine, and contributes to the continuation of harmful gender stereotypes.
The beginnings of Hysteria can be followed back to ancient Egypt, around 1900 BC, when a “misplaced womb” was commonly thought to be the cause of the disease. Plato later expanded on this concept around 500 BC with his explanation of the womb as a living creature that sought to disrupt biological processes, impede breathing, limit emotional regulation, and cause disease (Adair). While Plato agreed with the prevailing theories of the time in regard to the effect of Hysteria, his ideas differed slightly on the cause. It was taken as fact that Hysteria was due to a hormonal imbalance within the female body, causing those afflicted to act out irrationally, or fall into a fit of anger. Plato, however, introduced the idea that Hysteria was due to a “moving psychological force, which arises from the womb: sexual desire perverted by frustration” (Adair). It is important to note that his theory, more insightful than anything that had been proposed before, would be opposed by physicians and commentators for nearly two thousand years following. A more sophisticated and medically forward concept of a psychiatric rather than physical affliction would not be seen for years to come.
The time and place that Hysteria saw its highest peak in relevance was around 1800-1900 in Western countries. Where Hysteria was previously diagnosed to females who “acted out” or showed signs of irritability, the diagnoses were given out for less specific symptoms in the 1800s. The women who attempted to deviate from the domestic standards of their gender, those who were depressed, and those who were irritable were now also labeled as “hysterical” (Culp-Ressler). Perhaps not so coincidentally was the simultaneous increase in frequency of Hysteria diagnoses and rise in popularity of Freudian psychoanalysis (Scull). This is necessary to consider because Freud himself placed a great deal of importance on gender roles and normative societal behavior of the sexes. It should then come as no surprise that both the stigma for being diagnosed with Hysteria, as well as the treatments and “cures” for the disease, were sexist during this time.
Women labeled “hysterical” in the 1800s and 1900s were placed in insane asylums, given the Rest Cure, and in some extreme cases given hysterectomies (CulpRessler). The main goal of the Rest Cure treatment was to confine women in rooms that were not distracting, over-feed them with the goal of weight gain, and allow them no visitors in order to limit their “stressors” and revive them back to their normal Part Three: Research and Argumentation 376 temperaments. An article published within the American Journal of Nursing in 1936 describes the daily life of a Rest Cure patient: “I’m having a rest cure and I can’t see anybody ... and all I have to do is eat and sleep and not worry about anything. Just rest ... and that’s just what I’m doing. I may not look it but that’s just what I’m doing” (“The Rest Cure” 451). The article is just one of many accounts, fictional and otherwise, that provide a look into how women that were labeled “hysterical” were treated. It was believed that if women were able to limit their stressful tasks that they would be likely to remain delicate, proper, and feminine—desirable traits in a Victorian wife and mother. John Harvey Kellogg’s book titled Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease: Girlhood, Maidenhood, Wifehood, Motherhood was a common source on explaining to women the necessary steps they ought to take in order to lead healthy, childbearing lives. On the topic of Hysteria, Kellogg notes that the common causes are “sexual excess, novel reading, perverted habits of thought, and idleness” (586). As Kellogg mentions that the disease is one of “morality”, he further shames women into lives free of hard work and free thinking. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of “The Yellow Wallpaper” (a fictional tell-all of her experience with the Rest Cure), once wrote a letter detailing the lifestyle she was told to lead in order to keep her unruly nerves at bay. She was given advice to “live as domestic a life as far as possible”, to “have but two hours’ intellectual life a day”, and “never touch pen, brush, or pencil again” as long as she lived (Gilman). As gender norms went unquestioned in the Victorian era, as did the sexism visible in the medical world.
Due to Hysteria’s feminine association, it was further deemed shameful and embarrassing. This stereotype was promoted after the Second World War, when many soldiers returning home from battle were diagnosed with nervous diseases, most specifically Hysteria (Scull). Due to nervous diseases being seen as feminine afflictions of the imagination, these men received little to no treatment—similar to females diagnosed with Hysteria. These men were seen as cowardly and inferior for a malady that today would be easily recognizable as post-traumatic stress disorder. While the patients were male, they were seen as contracting a feminine disease that was “made up in the mind” (Scull), therefore hindering the help that they needed. The lack of attention shown to these soldiers reinforces the idea of a bias that exists with illnesses that are associated with women.
During the 1960s and 1970s, feminist writers were quick to isolate Hysteria’s literal definition in order to successfully convey criticisms of Freud’s psychoanalytic treatments of the “disease” (“Brought”). Women of this age began to critique the healthcare system, and were able to expose the effect of sexism in medicine. Because of fervent denunciations, the term slowly fell out of medical use but remained a common phrase in day-to-day conversations. Hysteria was officially removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980 (Culp-Ressler), and is now considered a derogatory term. Many physicians and psychologists attempted to continue the diagnosis of the disease, but under new, more socially acceptable terms. Freud himself claimed to change focus to one’s “sexual conflicts” within (Scull), and the effects. He then created a way of disguising old ideas of Hysteria behind fresh words. This trend carries on today despite opportunities to change the culture.
One of the more surprising turns in the history of Hysteria as a concept, is the reclamation of the word by 1990s feminists. In striking contrast to the views held by progressive women of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, some ‘90s women sought to recover and take ownership of the inherently feminine rights of Hysteria. Elaine Showalter, an author of the 90s on the topics of Hysteria, gender, and feminism, claims that “for some writers, Hysteria has been claimed as the first step on the road to feminism, a specifically feminine pathology that speaks to and against the patriarchy” (286). Interestingly, prior to this time, Hysteria was dubbed a tool of the patriarchy and that notion held true amongst feminists. This insight from Showalter addresses the lengths that sexism can reach. Internalization of patriarchal views on sex is a common effect, especially with views that are enforced blindly without question. The concept of an irrational woman, or a woman possessed by emotion rang true for some women of the ‘90s, but they saw this falsehood as something to be proud of, and something to aspire to. In their attempts to argue the reclamation of Hysteria, they succumb to the long-enforced stereotypes that many fought to destroy. While emotion, passion, and vulnerability aren’t necessarily traits to be ashamed of, they were used through the trustful relationship of physicians as a tool to suppress the social, economic, and personal growth of women through the diagnoses of nervous diseases.
Stereotypes of the feminine gender have made their way into modern medicine as well. As women are socialized from birth to be passive and to respect authority, more specifically male authority, it is uncommon for a woman to resist the diagnosis received from a physician. Typically, if a woman is told that she is a hypochondriac, or that her symptoms are psychosomatic (all in her head), she will most likely internalize the notion that she is imagining all of her issues. The term “psychosomatic” is a cover-all diagnosis commonly used by physicians to attribute to any symptoms that cannot be explained. As a result, many women continue suffering through treatable and preventable diseases because they are fearful of being told that they are overreacting (Culp-Ressler). This demonstrates that even within ourselves, women fear falling into the feminine gender stereotypes of irrational and excessive behavior—internalized misogyny presents itself here.
From this, we must ask why do we, as individuals and as a society, not trust women to know their own bodies? We see this in cases ranging from the extreme to the everyday—from the treatment of rape survivors to a typical visit to the doctor’s office. Aside from flaws in women’s reproductive health care, there is also a well-documented gap in the treatment of pain between men and women. Of the 25% of Americans suffering from chronic pain, women make up a disproportionate majority (Edwards). Not only are women more likely to suffer from chronic pain, but that pain is more likely to be categorized as “emotional,” “psychogenic,” or “not real”. Women are also less likely than men to receive aggressive treatment after being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases that cause chronic pain (Edwards). Multiple studies have found that women are far less likely to receive any kind of medical intervention to manage pain (Culp-Ressler). Why? Pain is self-reported and subjective, and treatment of pain fully relies on the idea that a physician trusts the patient reporting symptoms. However, trusting a woman to be a reliable source on her own body is still not the norm. This practice contributes to the long-standing cycle of attributing women’s pain to mental disorders, thus reinforcing the stereotype of the Hysterical Woman.
While many medical professionals would agree that there needs to be a shift in how we look at both the gender and sex dynamics of healthcare, there is little being done about it. Clinical trials are just one example. Women make up roughly half of the country’s population, but an astonishing majority of participants in clinical trials within the United States are men. According to the Journal of Women’s Health, in 2004, women made up less than 25% of all patients enrolled in clinical trials for that year (Moyer). The reasoning for this is that women present a less uniform sample population: they have menstrual cycles and hormones, making results more difficult to analyze. However, this does not eradicate the need for personalized care being available to women. This bias is decades-old, and leads doctors to preferentially study diseases and test drugs in male participants. A bias this prominent is a serious health risk for women, limits the reach of our preventative care and hinders growth of scientific knowledge. Another struggle presenting itself is the unwillingness of medical professionals to make use of what little sex-specific data has been found. For example, despite wellrecognized sex differences in coronary heart disease management in critical care units, the guidelines for management are not sex-specific (Holdcroft). Unfortunately, guidelines rarely state that evidence has been mainly obtained from men; disregarding this information perpetuates inequality in treatment of disease and distribution of medication.
The limited scope of our current knowledge on gender/sex differences can be observed in newly discovered differences in disease symptoms, as well as the continuing decrease of the life expectancy gap. Biased medical research and practice focuses on gender differences, and therefore risks overlooking similarities. For example, coronary heart disease was once perceived as strictly affecting males; therefore, less research and attention was given to the possibility of women contracting the disease (Annandale). Now, perhaps as a result, coronary heart disease kills more women than men. Women in the 1960s and 70s lived markedly longer than men, but in recent years the gap has decreased (Ibid.), and shrunken more than one third since the early 80s.The exact cause of the decline in the gender life expectancy gap cannot be pinpointed due to a number of confounding variables. The increase in women working to retirement and the added stress of contributing financially as well as taking full responsibility of children are just a few. One widely debated cause of the gap decrease is the fact that the quality of men’s healthcare is surpassing that of women’s. The standard of disregarding women from clinical trials creates an unhealthy environment of willful ignorance on the topic of women’s healthcare due to stereotypes, and the effects are measurable.
With the sex-biased culture of medicine so ingrained into its academia and practice, the task of eradicating it seems all the more important. This becomes more true as a greater percent of the population becomes aware of gender stereotypes and the harm that they cause. Unfortunately, due to fear of being labeled a hypochondriac, or neurotic, women refrain from telling their medical experiences and demanding quality care. With a majority of women experiencing patriarchal authority during doctor visits, and many women sharing similar stories of struggling with a lack of accurate diagnosis, it’s a shame that this topic isn’t discussed on a broad scope. If experiences were documented, it would be a faster way to make society more aware of this specific branch of inequality and how it contributes to negative gender stereotypes.
A practical way of accomplishing this would be to implement changes into the medical school curricula. We should seize the opportunity to implement the best practices for healthcare regardless of gender identification, as well as to establish evidence-based guidance that focuses on both gender and sex differences. Informing future physicians that it is not in the best interest of the patient to quickly jump to the conclusion that their symptoms are psychosomatic, or to share stories of specific experiences would eventually trickle down into the medical culture. Informing these students that it is within the realm of possibility that these women might be presenting symptoms to an affliction that is not well understood, even by modern medicine. The exercise of attributing the valid symptoms of women to mental disorders has been commonplace for centuries—Hysteria, Conversion, etc. While the name continues to change, the meanings behind them stay the same, and women continue to be subjected to sexism, and low-quality healthcare as a result. Acknowledging the bias within is the first and most important step to moving forward and increasing the quality of women’s healthcare.
Adair, Mark J. “Plato’s View of the ‘Wandering Uterus’.” The Classical Journal, vol. 91, no. 2, 1995, pp. 153-163. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stab1e/3298478.
Annandale, Ellen. Women’s Health and Social Change, Routledge, 2009.
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Culp-Ressler, Tara. “When Gender Stereotypes Become a Serious Hazard to Women’s Health.” ThinkProgress, 11 May 2015, thinkprogress.org/when-genderstereotypes-become-a-serious-hazard-to-womens-health-flf130a5e79.
Edwards, Laurie. “The Gender Gap in Pain.” The New York Times, 16 Mar 2013, www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17_opinion/sunday/women-and-the-treatment-ofpain.html?r=0.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” 1913. Archived at The College of Staten Island, City University of New York, 8 June 1999, csivc.csi.cuny.edu/history/files/lavender/whyyw.html.
Holdcroft, Anita. “Gender Bias in Research: How Does It Affect Evidence Based Medicine?” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 100, no. 1, Jan. 2007, pp. 2-3. U.S. National Library of Medicine, doi: 10.1258/jrsm.100.1.2.
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Moyer, Melinda Wenner. “Women Aren’t Properly Represented in Scientific Studies.” Slate Magazine, 23 July 2010, www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2010/07/dru g_problem.html.
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Scull, Andrew. Hysteria: The Disturbing History, Oxford University Press, 2011.
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