Monday, January 11, 2010


I'm looking for a reading (fiction or non-fiction) that explores the ethics of living and working with others. It would ideally touch on matters of culture, history and power - stressing the importance of building rapport, developing empathy and cultivating reciprocity. It should also be suitable (ie. not too long and/or complicated) for second year undergraduate students.

If you have any suggestions, please email or leave a comment here. Thanks!


Blogger heyotwell said...

Earth Abides? Starts from one man, turns into building a society, ends with a culture that we can recognize, but just.

Blogger Anne said...

Thanks Andrew!

Other suggestions so far: Ender's Game, for its hierarchy of exclusion.

And I was thinking Andrea Levy's Small Island or Kate Grenville's The Secret River, also for their treatment of encountering Others.

Blogger Trevor said...

On the non-fiction side Margaret farley's Personal comittments.
For fiction most episodes of Buffy

Blogger Anne said...

Thanks Trevor!

And thanks to everyone who responded by email.

Lots to consider :)

Blogger margaret said...

How about George Wagner's article, "lair of the bachelor" -- it's juicy with gender and sexual power structures and the architectural codification of these relationships.

Blogger margaret said...

Oh, and if you want a more political kind of spin you could suggest reading something on the Kitchen Debate, like, Susan Reid, "Our Kitchen is Just as Good: Soviet Responses to the American National Exhbition in Moscow, 1959."

Blogger enrique said...

Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness"?

Blogger Anne said...

Thanks Margaret - I'm not familiar with your first suggestion but will check it out. And I had thought about the Kitchen Debate.... Thanks!

Enrique, I also thought of The Left Hand of Darkness and/or The Word for World Is Forest...

But what I'm noticing now is that the more I think about it, the more I want the readings to be fiction. I think it'll help me make the point that ethnography deals in "partial truths."

Blogger Narration said...

Hi Anne, and very nice to see you back.

I think the Ursula K. Le Guin writings are a deep mine, being very deeply concerned with your topic often.

Actually, her Kropotkin-engaging The Dispossessed is direct on these matters, though I also think Left Hand of Darkness is as concerned, and from a particularly European point of reference, if not common view.

I kind of have the feeling you'd enjoy the intricate (and ethnological) stories of The Birthday of the World.

That said, her stated reasons and intention of 'speaking in metaphor' show in many other places.

I would think The Wizard of Earthsea a quite potent philosophical speculation, early as it is; I think the title story of Fisherman of the Inland Sea is both relevant and beautiful. Newton's Sleep in the same book of short stories is specific.

Greg Bear is another speculative writer where you can find usefulness around edges of description. His Moving Mars might be a good bet for this, possibly also Slant.

Best regards,

Blogger Narration said...

Just one more thought, Anne, or two actually.

- you might find some paydirt in some of the 'use stories' within Donald Schön's work.

- Somehow I think of Ruth Benedict's Chrysanthemum and the Sword. It's been long enough since I read it that I can't think if it shows things quite relevant to your topic, but fascinating it certainly is. Similarly, but differently, if you can find a copy of 'The Anatomy of Dependence' it may well be in connection to things you talk about.

Well. I wish I could give you the feeling of certain moments walking down streets in Seoul, in early 70's. Things there, before the contemporary business-limited-view had taken hold.



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