Touching Thought Book Club

TOUCHING THOUGHT 2023 BOOK CLUB

Overview

Touching Thought is a book club that engages theory with no foundational understanding of what theory is or should be. If you’re like me, you often avoided highly academic, conceptual, or theory-based writing solely because you did not think it was accessible to you. I grew up believing that I wasn’t terribly smart and that those who were “smart” were those who could read theory and high concept writing and have real conversations. Think impressionist period France, snooty painters and writers sitting around small cafe tables gabbing and debating and blowing smoke. That couldn’t be me! As I took on the brave endeavor of attending graduate school with only an art school awarded BFA and 15 years of restaurant experience, I realized that those pieces of knowledge do not have to be beyond my reach. I have also considered that other people—maybe you, even—have felt this way, too. Most of us are faking it until we make it, even those who engage theory on a daily basis or those who make it their work! Why can’t we dip our toes into the pool of knowledge and see what we can say about the experience? That’s what we’ll do. We’ll read something together and we’ll put our brains together and see what we can conceptualize of the writing by combining our lived experiences for the ultimate translation of information! And to be frank, writing that sentence alone has hurt my brain.

Join me, Alej, for this shallow dive into some “theory-ish” and theory materials. I will not make anyone read the communist manifesto, but the intention is that perhaps you will want to dust off some older theory to enrich the way you’re thinking about more modern concepts. We will read the books over 6 or 8 weeks so we have ample time to synthesize the information. This releases the pressure of deadlines! 

WHERE DO I GET THESE BOOKS?: Books can be ordered at Room of One’s Own Bookstore with 10% off for being a part of the book club. A star next to the title denotes that the book is not available for discount--boo hiss! Such is the academic press.

HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE?: This is a mostly virtual club. To join, get the discount code for online ordering, and get in on updates, send an email to alejpeko@gmail.com. Join the Discord, where we will chat regularly about what we are synthesizing from the reading. Resources on how to engage and read theory will be available in the discord. You may also follow along on Tumblr. If it makes sense, we'll get together in person for some bevs and chats.

BOOKLIST:

  • Jan 1st, 2023 to Feb 26th, 2023 - All About Love by bell hooks
  • Mar 7th 2023 to Apr 30th, 2023 - Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell
  • May 7th, 2023 to Jun 25th, 2023 - Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse? By McKenzie Wark
  • Jul 2nd, 2023 to Aug 13th, 2023 - White Tears / Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad
  • Aug 20th, 2023 to Oct 15th, 2023 - Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick*
  • Oct 22nd - Dec 17th, 2023 - The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon

REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS:

  • What do I believe about theory?
  • Where did I get those beliefs from?
  • Why has this felt unattainable or challenging to encounter?
  • When I think of theory, what books come to mind?
  • What types of people, cultures, topics, or context?
  • What do I hope to learn in engaging theory and theory-ish writing?
  • What am I feeling as I begin the process of engaging something that has felt challenging to engage in the past?
  • What obstacles are in place that have prevented me from taking time to read when it is something I would like to do?
  • Before starting any of the books: What do I think this book will be about? What do I know about the author? What do I hope to gain from the reading?

 

Looking forward to expanding the mind with you!

Alej Peko

Staff Pick Badge
All About Love: New Visions (Love Song to the Nation #1) By bell hooks Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060959470
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 30th, 2018

Pre-Order Now Badge
Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock By Jenny Odell Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780593242704
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Random House - March 7th, 2023

Staff Pick Badge
Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse? By McKenzie Wark Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781788735339
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Verso - February 9th, 2021

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color By Ruby Hamad Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948226745
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Catapult - October 6th, 2020

Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Series Q) By Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780822330158
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Duke University Press - January 17th, 2003

No Discount on this title!


The Wretched of the Earth By Frantz Fanon, Cornel West (Introduction by), Richard Philcox (Translator) Cover Image
By Frantz Fanon, Cornel West (Introduction by), Richard Philcox (Translator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802158635
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Grove Press - October 19th, 2021