Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn’s Legacies and the Future of Activism


Book cover: Agitation with a Smile | Paradigm PublishersAgitation with a Smile offers a reappraisal of Howard Zinn’s political thought and situates his efforts in a contemporary context, looking toward the nature of activism and dissent in the future. This is the first book to provide a substantive account and assessment of Zinn’s philosophy and approach to collective action and, to a larger extent, democracy. The contributors to this book explore the most effective mechanisms by which to arouse public support for seemingly radical positions and how current technological advancements may alter our perception of Zinn’s activism. The book is a valuable guide to a new generation of activists and scholars of politics in gauging the lasting relevance and legacy of Zinn’s ideals, concepts, and methodology. The text is neither fawning nor unduly critical, unlike many discussions of Zinn in popular culture. Rather, the contributors engage the various complexities and tensions present throughout Zinn’s work and subject them to contemporary assessment. This is a multidisciplinary and international approach to Howard Zinn’s intellectual and activist canon. [ Publisher’s description.]

Table of Contents

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Foreword • By Frances Fox Piven • p. vii

Preface and Acknowledgments • p. xi

1)  Agitation with a Smile: A Framework for Reassessing the Contributions of Howard Zinn • By Stephen Bird, Adam Silver, and Joshua C Yesnowitz • p. 1

Interlude: “Ludlow Massacre” • Song lyrics by Woody Guthrie • p. 19

ZINN AS HISTORIAN AND PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL

2) Legacies and Breakthroughs: The Long View on Zinnian History • By Ambre Ivol and Paul Buhl • p. 22
3) The US Left in Generational Perspective: A Study of Howard Zinn’s Trajectory • Ambre Ivol • p. 35
4) Thinking the Radical Public Intellectual: The Exemplar of Howard Zinn • By Paul Reynolds • p. 51

ZINN IN THEORY

5) Against All Authority: Howard Zinn’s Pragmatic Anarchism, Active Resistance, and Radical Democracy • By Eric Boehme • p. 68
6) The Forbidden Word: Howard Zinn as Anarchist • By Ziga Vodovnik • p. 81
7) Politics against the Law: Howard Zinn on Academic Freedom beyond the Academy • By Christopher C. Robinson • p. 97
Interlude: “Dear Diary” • A poem by Alix Olson • p. 109

ZINN IN PRACTICE

8) War Is a Condition in Need of a Cure • By Patricia Moynagh • p. 114
9) Howard Zinn: A Moral Example for G.I. Resistance • By Ross Caputi • p. 127
10) Archivists of Optimism: Zinn and the Arts • By Alix Olson p. 142
Interlude: “Walking” • A poem by Martin Espada p. 156

ZINN TODAY AND TOMORROW

11) Two, Three, Many Zinns: Media Culture and the Dilemmas of Democratic Transformation • By Edward P. Morgan p. 160
12) For Howard Zinn: The Things That Count and Cannot Be Counted • By Irene Gendzier p. 177
13) Reassessing Zinn: Critical Reflections on a Scholar-Activist • Stephen Bird, Adam Silver, and Joshua C Yesnowitz p. 188
Afterword: Howard Zinn’s Legacy of Words and Action • By Noam Chomsky p. 207
Notes • p. 214
References • p. 242
Index • p. 260
About the Contributors • p. 270

Published by Paradigm Publishers, 2013.