- September 21, 2017
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Why is an unarmed young black woman who knocks on a stranger's front door to ask for help after her car breaks down perceived to be so threatening that the stranger shoots her dead? Why does Ebola, a disease that killed only a handful of Americans provoke panic while the flu, which kills tens of thousands each year, is dismissed with a yawn?
In his new book, Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream, Sasha Abramsky sets his sights on America's most dangerous epidemic: irrational fear. What emerges is a journey through a political and cultural landscape that is defined by our fears, which are often misplaced.
Join Sasha for a conversation about our misconceptions of risk and threats, and how our brains interpret them, both at a neurological level and at a conscious one. Learn how our fears can teach us a great deal about our society, exposing our deeply ingrained racism, classism, xenophobia, and susceptibility to the toxic messages of demagogues.
Sasha Abramsky is an author, freelance journalist, lecturer at the University of California, and a senior fellow at Demos. His work has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, New York magazine, the American Prospect, Salon, Slate, NewYorker.com, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, and Rolling Stone. His 2013 book The American Way of Poverty was listed as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and his 2015 volume The House of Twenty Thousand Books was selected by Kirkus as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. Abramsky lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and their two children.
Andrej Grubacic is the Chair of the Anthropology and Social Change department at CIIS. Andrej started his academic career as a historian of 16th century Anabaptist "world turned upside down" at the University of Belgrade in what used to be Yugoslavia. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, for reasons that were both political and intellectual, he left the country, and shifted his scholarly focus to the study of long term, large scale social change. At the Fernand Braudel Center in SUNY Binghamton, he initiated a research project on utopistics, a study of possible alternatives to the capitalist world-system. His interest in world systems analysis and anarchist anthropology has influenced his research perspective, which includes experiences of self-organization, voluntary association, and mutual aid on the world-scale.
His ongoing research on exilic spaces in the modern capitalist world system considers how spatial expressions of concentrated mutual aid are produced and reproduced on the outside/inside of capitalist civilization. Exilic spaces and practices refer to liminal and non-state areas relatively autonomous from capitalist valorization and state control. His principal research focus is on the autonomous "cracks" peopled by Don Cossacks, Atlantic pirates, Macedonian Roma, Jamaican Maroons, and Mexican Zapatistas. This research is included in his UC Press book Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid (2016). His research interests include anarchist anthropology of exilic societies, world history and world-systems studies, anarchist and Marxist political economy, activist ethnography, militant research, and radical oral history.
Andrej is a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Global Balkans Network. He is associated with Retort, a group of antinomian writers, artists, artisans, and teachers based in the San Francisco Bay Area.