Books

Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims

Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims
"Telling Stories to Change the World is a powerful collection of essays about community-based and interest-based projects where storytelling is used as a strategy for speaking out for justice. Contributors from locations across the globe―including Uganda, Darfur, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, New Orleans, and Chicago―describe grassroots projects in which communities use narrative as a way of exploring what a more just society might look like and what civic engagement means. These compelling accounts of resistance, hope, and vision showcase the power of the storytelling form to generate critique and collective action. Together, these projects demonstrate the contemporary power of stories to stimulate engagement, active citizenship, the pride of identity, and the humility of human connectedness."
https://www.amazon.com/Telling-Stories-Change-World-Narrative/dp/0415960800

Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak

Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
“To make the effort to understand what happened in Rwanda is a painful task that we have no right to shirk—it is part of being a moral adult.” —Susan Sontag

In the late 1990s, French author and journalist Jean Hatzfeld made several journeys into the hilly, marshy region of the Bugesera, one of the areas most devastated by the Rwandan genocide of April 1994, where an average of five out of six Tutsis were hacked to death with machete and spear by their Hutu neighbors and militiamen. In the villages of Nyamata and N’tarama, Hatzfeld interviewed fourteen survivors of the genocide, from orphan teenage farmers to the local social worker. For years the survivors had lived in a muteness as enigmatic as the silence of those who survived the Nazi concentration camps. In Life Laid Bare, they speak for those who are no longer alive to speak for themselves; they tell of the deaths of family and friends in the churches and marshes to which they fled, and they attempt to account for the reasons behind the Tutsi extermination. For many of the survivors “life has broken down,” while for others, it has “stopped,” and still others say that it “absolutely must go on.”

These horrific accounts of life at the very edge contrast with Hatzfeld’s own sensitive and vivid descriptions of Rwanda’s villages and countryside in peacetime. These voices of courage and resilience exemplify the indomitable human spirit, and they remind us of our own moral responsibility to bear witness to these atrocities and to never forget what can come to pass again. Winner of the Prix France Culture and the Prix Pierre Mille, Life Laid Bare allows us, in the author’s own words, “to draw as close as we can get to the Rwandan genocide.”
http://www.otherpress.com/books/life-laid-bare/

Feminist and Human Rights Struggles in Peru: Decolonizing Transitional Justice

Feminist and Human Rights Struggles in Peru: Decolonizing Transitional Justice
In 2001, following a generation of armed conflict and authoritarian rule, the Peruvian state created a Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC). Pascha Bueno-Hansen places the TRC, feminist and human rights movements, and related non-governmental organizations within an international and historical context to expose the difficulties in addressing gender-based violence.

Her innovative theoretical and methodological framework based on decolonial feminism and a critical engagement with intersectionality facilitates an in-depth examination of the Peruvian transitional justice process based on field studies and archival research. Bueno-Hansen uncovers the colonial mappings and linear temporality underlying transitional justice efforts and illustrates why transitional justice mechanisms must reckon with the societal roots of atrocities, if they are to result in true and lasting social transformation.

Original and bold, Feminist and Human Rights Struggles in Peruelucidates the tension between the promise of transitional justice and persistent inequality and impunity.

"Cutting-edge and original. Bueno-Hansen reveals the meaning behind the rhetoric of human rights promotion in the aftermath of conflict. Using an approach that articulates gender, ethnicity, and coloniality, she illuminates the impact of human rights-based justice processes on marginalized peoples' lives."--Elisabeth Jay Friedman, author of Unfinished Transitions: Women and the Gendered Development of Democracy in Venezuela, 1936-1996 

"This book provides remarkable insights into the overlap and disjunctions between the human rights movement's response to atrocities involving women, the response of the feminist movement, and the needs of the women who have been harmed. It is an important and nuanced contribution to the literature on the gendered realities of post-conflict societies. Set in Peru, nonetheless it speaks to a universal experience of conflict and its aftermath."--Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, co-editor of Guantánamo and Beyond: Exceptional Courts and Military Commissions in Comparative Perspective 
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/46rsm3tk9780252039423.html

Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners by Dan Connell

Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners by Dan Connell
"In 2001, months after a devastating war with Ethiopia, a wide-ranging debate erupted within Eritrea over the conduct of leadership and the content of government policy, particularly around the 1998-2000 Border War with Ethiopia, which many thought could have been averted. Much of the criticism was directed at the president, Isaias Afwerki, who refused to implement a newly ratified Constitution or to permit the formation of political parties or to conduct national elections. This national conversation came to an abrupt halt in September when the government arrested its most prominent critics, shut down the private press, and smothered all public political discussion.This book revisits that debate through interviews with five critics—top government officials and former liberation movement leaders—shortly before they disappeared into the Eritrean gulag. Since then, none has been seen, heard from or accounted for. Nor has any been charged with a crime. As these conversations reveal, the speakers knew what was in store for them—arrest and indefinite detention. This is why they spoke with veteran journalist and long-time friend of Eritrea Dan Connell. This book not only opens a critical window onto that seminal moment; it signals the persistence of the dream of a democratic future for a remarkable nation whose promise has yet to be fulfilled."
https://www.amazon.com/Conversations-Eritrean-Political-Prisoners-Connell/dp/1569022356

Voices Rising: Stories from the Katrina Narrative Project

Voices Rising: Stories from the Katrina Narrative Project
"On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and nearly toppled the historic city of New Orleans. As the storm cleared, residents watched water and chaos overtake their city, while political and legal systems proved unprepared and insufficient. The University of New Orleans served as a base for rescue and sustained tremendous damage to its Lakefront campus, but, in October 2005, the university reopened online and asked students to submit interviews and accounts of citizens' experiences during Hurricane Katrina. Hundreds of manuscripts, interviews, and transcripts were collected from students and other residents who were willing to share their personal stories of the disaster. UNO compiled all of the submissions and created The Katrina Narrative Project, which is currently housed at the University of New Orleans Library. Voices Rising is a sampling of this greater collection. Transcending the images and headlines portrayed in the media, these are the true accounts of trauma and survival told by the people who endured them."
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LVAJFTA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Acting from the Heart: Australian Advocates for Asylum Seekers Tell Their Stories

Acting from the Heart: Australian Advocates for Asylum Seekers Tell Their Stories
"In recent years, thousands of Australians have been moved to act in support of asylum seekers and refugees and against the Australian government's immigration policy and practice. In Acting from the Heart, over 50 people who reflect the diversity of this movement describe how and why they became involved. The contributors shared a sense of disbelief and outrage that 'Australian values' suddenly appeared to include callous self-interest and a disregard for human suffering. The detention of over 4000 children could not easily be seen as necessary or a 'fair go'. The refugee question has become a moral debate and, for some, a way of reasserting our essential human values. This powerful and important book illustrates the commitment behind this extensive grassroots political movement, and includes stories, poems, and political cartoons by Australia's foremost, award-winning cartoonists. Acting from the Heart represents a powerful contribution to the ongoing debate about the ethics of our nation and the politics of institutionalised inhumanity worldwide."
https://www.amazon.com/Acting-Heart-Australian-Advocates-Seekers/dp/1876451785

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee's family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.
Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love-a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family's killers. The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman's journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.
Immaculee shares her miraculous story of how she survived during the Rwanda genocide in 1994 when she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days! In this captivating and inspiring book, Immacuee shows us how to embrace the power of prayer, forge a profound and lasting relationship with God, and discover the importance of forgiveness and the meaning of truly unconditional love and understanding—through our darkest hours.
http://www.hayhouse.com/left-to-tell-7

To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today's Slaves

To Plead Our Own Cause: Personal Stories by Today's Slaves
Boys strapped to carpet looms in India, women trafficked into sex slavery across Europe, children born into bondage in Mauritania, and migrants imprisoned at gunpoint in the United States are just a few of the many forms slavery takes in the twenty-first century. There are twenty-seven million slaves alive today, more than at any point in history, and they are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
To Plead Our Own Cause contains ninety-five narratives by slaves and former slaves from around the globe. Told in the words of slaves themselves, the narratives movingly and eloquently chronicle the horrors of contemporary slavery, the process of becoming free, and the challenges faced by former slaves as they build a life in freedom. An editors' introduction lays out the historical, economic, and political background to modern slavery, the literary tradition of the slave narrative, and a variety of ways we can all help end slavery today.
Halting the contemporary slave trade is one of the great human-rights issues of our time. But just as slavery is not over, neither is the will to achieve freedom, "plead" the cause of liberation, and advocate abolition. Putting the slave's voice back at the heart of the abolitionist movement, To Plead Our Own Cause gives occasion for both action and hope.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GD6GIEW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

28 Stories of AIDS in Africa

28 Stories of AIDS in Africa
From an internationally acclaimed journalist comes an extraordinary book that puts a human face on the AIDS crisis in Africa: twenty-eight vivid stories, one for each of the million Africans living with the virus. For the past six years, Stephanie Nolen has traced AIDS across Africa, and 28 is the result: an unprecedented, uniquely human portrait of the continent in crisis. Through riveting, anecdotal stories, she brings to life men, women, and children involved in every aspect of the pandemic, making them familiar to us in a way they never have been before. In the process, she explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in scope, and the reasons why we must care about what happens. In every instance, Nolen has borne witness to the stories she relates, whether riding with truck driver Mohammed Ali on a journey across Kenya; following Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy fourteen-yearold Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; chronicling the heroic efforts of Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi; or talking to Nelson Mandela and his wife about coming to terms with his own son's death from AIDS. These stories reveal how HIV works and spreads; how it is inextricably tied to conflict and famine and to the diverse cultures it has ravaged; how treatment works, and how people who can't get treatment fight to stay alive with courage and dignity against huge odds. Writing with power and simplicity, Stephanie Nolen makes us listen, allows us to understand, and inspires us to care. Timely and transformative, 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa is essential reading for anyone concerned about the fate of humankind.
http://www.28stories.com/

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
"A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words. In A LONG WAY GONE, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope."
http://www.alongwaygone.com/

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
"SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ (or If This Is a Man), first published in 1947, is a work by the Italian-Jewish writer, Primo Levi. It describes his arrest as a member of the Italian anti-fascist resistance during the Second World War, and his incarceration in the Auschwitz concentration camp from February 1944 until the camp was liberated on 27 January 1945."
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E6TWJUA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi
"The first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi has inspired millions around the globe through her work as a human rights lawyer defending women and children against a brutal regime in Iran. Now Ebadi tells her story of courage and defiance in the face of a government out to destroy her, her family, and her mission: to bring justice to the people and the country she loves. For years the Islamic Republic tried to intimidate Ebadi, but after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power in 2005, the censorship and persecution intensified. The government wiretapped Ebadi’s phones, bugged her law firm, sent spies to follow her, harassed her colleagues, detained her daughter, and arrested her sister on trumped-up charges. It shut down her lectures, fired up mobs to attack her home, seized her offices, and nailed a death threat to her front door. Despite finding herself living under circumstances reminiscent of a spy novel, nothing could keep Ebadi from speaking out and standing up for human dignity. But it was not until she received a phone call from her distraught husband—and he made a shocking confession that would all but destroy her family—that she realized what the intelligence apparatus was capable of to silence its critics. The Iranian government would end up taking everything from Shirin Ebadi—her marriage, friends, and colleagues, her home, her legal career, even her Nobel Prize—but the one thing it could never steal was her spirit to fight for justice and a better future. This is the amazing, at times harrowing, simply astonishing story of a woman who would never give up, no matter the risks. Just as her words and deeds have inspired a nation, Until We Are Free will inspire you to find the courage to stand up for your beliefs."
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0104EOGQA/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni
"Doing for Syria what Imperial Life in the Emerald City did for the war in Iraq, The Morning They Came for Us bears witness to one of the most brutal, internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawing from years of experience covering Syria for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the front pages of the New York Times, award-winning journalist Janine di Giovanni gives us a tour de force of war reportage, all told through the perspective of ordinary people—among them a doctor, a nun, a musician, and a student. What emerges is an extraordinary picture of the devastating human consequences of armed conflict, one that charts an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war zone. Recalling celebrated works by Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski, Philip Gourevitch, and Anne Applebaum, The Morning They Came for Us, through its unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, becomes an unforgettable testament to resilience in the face of nihilistic human debasement"
https://www.amazon.com/Morning-They-Came-Us-Dispatches-ebook/dp/B00J8R3RLK/ref=pd_sim_351_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00J8R3RLK&pd_rd_r=E51V89NH0QD6BF4GTG8B&pd_rd_w=oGieg&pd_rd_wg=kUoU0&psc=1&refRID=E51V89NH0QD6BF4GTG8B

Human Rights and Narrated Lives The Ethics of Recognition by Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith

Human Rights and Narrated Lives  The Ethics of Recognition by Kay Schaffer and Sidonie Smith
"Personal narratives have become one of the most potent vehicles for advancing human rights claims across the world. These two contemporary domains, personal narrative and human rights, literature and international politics, are commonly understood to operate on separate planes. This study however, examines the ways these intersecting realms unfold and are enfolded in one another in ways both productive of and problematic for the achievement of social justice. Human Rights and Narrated Lives explores what happens when autobiographical narratives are produced, received, and circulated in the field of human rights. It asks how personal narratives emerge in local settings; how international rights discourse enables and constrains individual and collective subjectivities in narration; how personal narratives circulate and take on new meanings in new contexts; and how and under what conditions they feed into, affect, and are affected by the reorganizations of politics in the post cold war, postcolonial, globalizing human rights contexts. To explore these intersections, the authors attend the production, circulation, reception, and affective currents of stories in action across local, national, transnational, and global arenas. They do so by looking at five case studies: in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation processes in South Africa; the National Inquiry into the Forced Removal of Indigenous Children from their Families in Australia; activism on behalf of former 'comfort women' from South/East Asia; U.S. prison activism; and democratic reforms in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China."
http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781403964946

Remembering Mass Violence: Oral History, New Media, and Performance Edited by Steven High, Edward Little, and Thi Ry Duong

Remembering Mass Violence: Oral History, New Media, and Performance Edited by Steven High, Edward Little, and Thi Ry Duong
"Remembering Mass Violence breaks new ground in oral history, new media, and performance studies by exploring what is at stake when we attempt to represent war, genocide, and other violations of human rights in a variety of creative works. A model of community-university collaboration, it includes contributions from scholars in a wide range of disciplines, survivors of mass violence, and performers and artists who have created works based on these events. This anthology is global in focus, with essays on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. At its core is a productive tension between public and private memory, a dialogue between autobiography and biography, and between individual experience and societal transformation. Remembering Mass Violence will appeal to oral historians, digital practitioners and performance-based artists around the world, as well researchers and activists involved in human rights research, migration studies, and genocide studies."
http://www.utppublishing.com/Remembering-Mass-Violence-Oral-History-New-Media-and-Performance.html