Writings From Prison


Writings from Prison is a reading group that will look at a variety of incarcerated voices from around the world.

6pm @ Klinger Street Studios / 11627 Klinger Street

June 30, July 7, 14, 21, and 28

“Cell Song” by Etheridge Knight

Night Music Slanted
Light strike the cave
of sleep. I alone
tread the red circle
and twist the space
with speech.

Come now, etheridge, don’t
be a savior; take
your words and scrape
the sky, shake rain

on the desert, sprinkle
salt on the tail
of a girl,

can there anything
good come out of

JUNE 30:
http://www.iacenter.org/polprisoners/maj_movewomen.htm Sex and Psychological Abuse of MOVE Women in Prison Mumia Abu-Jamal

http://www.assatashakur.org/womeninprison.htm Women in Prison: How It Is With Us Assata Shakur

http://www.assatashakur.org/pope.htm A Letter to the Pope, Havana Cuba Assata Shakur

http://www.assatashakur.org/prisoncomplex.htm Letter from Assata on the Prison Industrial Complex Assata Shakur



http://www.supportdaniel.org/files/CMU_WEB.pdf Exposing “Little Guantanamo”: Inside the CMU Daniel McGowan

The Logistics of Human Warehousing Rodney Morgan III


JULY 14:

Selections from The Memoirs from the Women’s Prison Nawal el Sa’adawi
and poems from Mila D. Aguilar. Both are here.


JULY 21:

Selections from Couldn’t Keep it to Myself by Wally Lamb and the women of the York Correctional Institution. We will look at writings by Barbara Parsons Lane and Robin Cullen.


JULY 28:

Angela Davis, Are Prison’s Obsolete?

Animism, Totemism, Traditional Gift Economies and “Deep Ecology”

Image courtesy of Saffell Gardner.

Tuesdays at 9338 Jos Campau, Hamtramck, MI at 7pm.

This course will present and discuss aspects of Native American worldviews, what have become known as “indigenous ontologies,” from historical and ethnographic accounts.  The material will be linked to traditional practices and to the effects of European conquest.  We will be looking for the “blind spot” in western post-Enlightenment rationality.

Tuesday, July 8: Bruno Latour (2009)Perspectivism: ‘Type’ or ‘bomb’?
Hallowell, A.I. (1960) `Ojibwa Ontology, Behavior and World View

Tuesday, July 15: Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo (2004)  Exchanging Perspectives:The Transformation of Objects into Subjects in Amerindian Ontologies.

Tuesday, July 22:A Circumpolar Night’s Dream,” in: Ingold, Tim (2000)  The Perception of the EnvironmentEssays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill

Tuesday, July 29:Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Peter Skafish (Nov/Dec 2013) Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism; With an introduction by Peter Skafish

Tuesday, August 5: We will be continuing our discussion of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Peter Skafish (Nov/Dec 2013)  “Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism; With an introduction by Peter Skafish“; now available in a file (LINK)

Tuesday, August 12: Tânia Stolze Lima (1999) The two and its many: Reflections on perspectivism in a Tupi cosmology, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 64:1, 107-131. file: (LINK)

Tuesday, August 19: Aparecida Vilaça (2005)CHRONICALLY UNSTABLE BODIES: REFLECTIONS ON AMAZONIAN CORPORALITIES J. Roy. anthrop. Inst. (N.S.) 11, 445-464.

Tuesday, August 26:  Ghassan Hage (2012)  Critical anthropological thought and the radical political imaginary today.  Critique of Anthropology, 32: 285-308. (LINK)

NOTE:  The Animism class will continue in September with a two-week excursion into African culture via Richard Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit.  Please note the change of time.

Tuesdays: September 2 and September 9, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Venue: “9338 Campau” Gallery, 9338 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck
In this course we will read selected sections from Richard Farris Thompson’s influential book “Flash of the Spirit”, with a specific concentration on the Yoruba section. Participants in the course will gain an understanding of the general themes of Thompson’s book and an introduction to some aspects of Yoruba culture. The course will accompany, the show “until something else comes along” by artist Saffell Gardner whose work reflects some of the themes of the book.
During week 1 we will read the book’s Introduction, in which Thompson outlines his major thesis: that more African visual culture and philosophy crossed the Atlantic to the Americas than is generally recognized. Also we will look at the first section of Chapter 1, “Black Saints Go Marching In: Yoruba Art and Culture in the Americas” which looks at Yoruba concepts such as “ashe”, “iwa” and “itutu”.
During week 2 we will look at two or three of the book’s portraits of major Yoruba Orisha, perhaps Eshu-Elegba, Ifa and/or Shango.
Following a brief hiatus, the Animism course will resume later in September.



Postcolonial Feminism

Join List Serve for times and locations

In this course we will explore some of the key thinkers in Postcolonial Feminist theory. We will examine the writings, poems and films of various women placed under this conceptual umbrella. These women will aid our investigations into the ways that sexism, racism and classism shape the experience of “third-world women.” We will also examine the ways that sexism, racism, and classism shape whether or not, and if so to what extent we hear their voices.

Part Two Will Begin The Last Week of June

WEEK 8, June 26:
Gloria Anzaldua
 – Speaking in Tongues (1980), Borderlands/La Frontera (1987), Haciendo Caras, Una Entrada (1990)

WEEK 9, July 3:
Audre Lorde 
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House (1979), The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism (1981), Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger (1983)

WEEK 10, July 10:
Mitsuye Yamada –  Camp Notes (1976), Asian Pacific American Women and Feminism (1981), Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster (1979)
María Isabel Seguro Gómez – The Japanese American Experience Through Literature (2006)

WEEK 11, July 17:
Lisa Kahaleole HallHawaiian at Heart (2005)
Manu Aluli Meyer – Our Own Liberation: Reflection on Hawaiian Epistemology (2001)
Julie Kaomea – Dilemmas of an Indigenous Academic: A Native Hawaiian Story (2oo1)

WEEK 12, July 24:
Chandra Mohanty –
Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses (1988)
Lorna Dee Cervantes – Emplumada (1981)

WEEK 13, July 31:
Gayatri Spivak
 – Can the Subaltern Speak? (1988)

WEEK 14, August 25:
Maria Lugones – Peregrinajes/Pilgrimages (2003), Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System (2007)

WEEK 15, September 1:
Mila Aguilar – A Comrade is as Precious as a Rice Seedling (1984)
Trinh Minh-Ha – Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box (1989), Not You/Like You (1988), Reassemblage (1982)

WEEK 16, Setember 8:
Uma Narayan – Dislocating Cultures (1997)
Shirin Neshat – Women Without Men (2009)

WEEK 17, September 15:
Chyrstos – Not Vanishing (1988)

This is a reading intensive course and the primary objective is to read these texts carefully and then discuss them in a constructive and elucidating manner. Given that nearly each week there are multiple readings, participants should feel encouraged to read what they can and then come to the group and discuss. Reading all the material is not a prerequisite for attendance. Also, given the length of the course, feel free to drop in when the material strikes your interest.

₡₳₱I₮₳£ $UNDAY$


DAS KAPITAL Reading Group Sunday Mornings

Ever had the desire to spend Sunday mornings reading a thousand plus page book start to finish just for fun? Ever thought to yourself…”Political economy, now that’s a subject I could really get excited about.” Ever wondered what would prompt a filmmaker to produce a 9.5 hour movie? Well if so then this reading group just might be for you. And if not, well this reading group might still be for you.

Sunday mornings from now until the end of time, or the end of Volume 1 of Das Kapital, whichever comes first, there will be a group dedicated to completing this quest. We will be slogging our way through this dense swampy specter infested literary tome with the hopes of finding the elusive sprite “value” and her companions “TRPF”, “machine production”, “reserve army” and other lesser characters.

This is a collaboration with LRNA and IWW members

We will begin with Chapter 1 of DAS KAPITAL 5/4/14

Update: Reading for 3/15/15 is Chapter 25 of DAS KAPITAL

Location: 140 Atkinson St. Detroit.
Time: 2pm…but it varies so email [email protected] for updates

History From the Ground Up


Image courtesy of Hamtramck Historical Museum. “This is Joseph Campau just south of where the viaduct is today. Dodge Main is on the left. This dates from about 1920,” – Greg Kowalski

History From The Ground Up is an exploratory course that mixes investigation of group-selected aspects of Hamtramck’s history with a look at different approaches to interpreting history.
In the first week, Hamtramck historian Greg Kowalski will give an introduction to the history of Hamtramck, and as a group we will select topics from the city’s history to cover in detail on a weekly basis over the remainder of the course.
In subsequent weeks we will review what verifiable data exists in each of these areas (relying heavily on Greg’s extensive archive of pre-existing research) then examine how different historical methods and perspectives might construct different narratives from this data.
The objective of the course is to both develop an awareness of the history of this unique urban area and a critical approach to reading history in a general sense.

Please note: For the first week (April 14) we’ll meet at the People’s Community Center at 8625 Joseph Campau at 6:30pm. During the following four weeks (April 21 and 28, May 5 and 12) we will be at the Hamtramck Historical Museum at 6:30pm.

The following readings will be utilized each week during the course:

Week 1, April 14

What do historians aspire to?, John Tosh, pp.1-8 from the introduction to “Historians on History”

Week 2, April 21

Empiricism, Anna Green and Kathleen Troup, pp. 1-3 from “The houses of history”

The event, the fact and the narrative, Callum G. Brown, p26-30 from Postmodernism for Historians

Week 3, April 28

A short section from Chapter 1 of A Peoples History of the United States, Howard Zinn

A short section from the Preface to The Making of the English Working Class, E P Thompson

Please note that for those that want to read more, the full versions of these two books are available online at the following locations:



The readings for weeks 4 and 5 are TBD depending on what direction the course goes in.

Black Feminist Thought

Black Feminist thought provides us with powerful testimonials of brutality, oppression, sexism and racism. Black Feminist work also provides scathing critiques, strength, knowledge, and empowerment. In this class we will familiarize ourselves with the vibrant legacy and brilliant future of Black Feminist writing, poetry and film.  While exploring the works of these women, we will pay particular attention to their awareness of a multitude of oppressions, intersecting strategies of resistance, and the necessity of maintaining an affirmative stance toward difference in the face of an alienating homogenization.

Most of the readings are shortish excerpts from larger texts and will be posted two weeks in advance. Click on the dates after the listed reading for a link to the text.

Part One

WEEK ONE – 3/22
Sojourner Truth
– A’n’t I a Woman? (1851)
Frances E.W. Harper – Selected Poems (1854, 1856, 1895)
Anna Julia Cooper – A Voice from the South (1892)
Lucy Parsons – Speech to the IWW (1905)
Ida B. Wells-Barnett – Crusader for Justice (1909)
WEEK TWO – 3/29
Nella Larsen
– Passing (1929 Full Text) (Excerpt) AUDIO
Zora Neale Hurston – God and the Pintards (1937)
Naomi Ward – I Am A Domestic (1940)
Margret Walker – Lineage (1942)
Claudia Jones – An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman! (1949)
Gwendolyn Brooks – The Bean Eaters (1959)
Florynce Kennedy – Institutionalized Oppression vs The Female (1970)
The Combahee River Collective – A Black Feminist Statement (1977)
Audre Lorde – Poetry is Not a Luxury (1977), The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action (1977), Sexism: An American Disease in Blackface (1979), I Am Your Sister (1988)
WEEK FOUR – 4/12
Audre Lorde – Man Child (1979), Open Letter to Mary Daly (1979), An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich (1979), Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference (1980), Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power (1978), Selected Poems (1968-82)
WEEK FIVE – 4/19
Angela Davis – I Am a Revolutionary Black Woman (1970)
Alice Walker
– Looking For Zora (1975), Only Justice Can Stop a Curse (1982)
Assata Shakur – Women in Prison: How We Are (1978) Autobiography (1987)

WEEK SIX – 4/26
Patricia Hill Collins – Black Feminist Thought (1982)
Toi Derricotte – Selected Poems (1983)(2o11)
June Jordan – From Sea to Shining Sea (1982)
Cheryl Clarke – The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community (1983), Women of Summer (1979), Lesbianism: An Act of Resistance (1981)
Barbra Smith – Racism and Women’s Studies (1982)
bell hooks – Ain’t I a Woman? (1981), We Real Cool (2004)
Toni Cade Bambara – The Bombing of Osage Avenue (1986)
Sapphire – Wild Thing (1994)

We will follow the various currents moving through Black Feminist thought and observe the confluences between these streams and the various branches of what can broadly be called Postcolonial Feminism.

This is a reading intensive course and the primary objective is to read these texts carefully and then discuss them in a constructive and elucidating manner. Given that nearly each week there are multiple readings, participants should feel encouraged to read what they can and then come to the group and discuss. Reading all the material is not a prerequisite for attendance. Also, given the length of the course, feel free to drop in when the material strikes your interest.

2014 Garden Planning & Transplant Production

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014 @ 7PM
11627 Klinger Street, Hamtramck, Michigan 48212
This class will give a general overview of garden planning, including a look at various plant families and the best time to plant them. We will create a soil mixture for transplant production, and create some transplant starters together. We will discuss soil testing, raised bed creation, and address techniques and troubleshooting for beginning a garden, or evolving an existing grow space.

Participants should bring a solid graphic representation of their gardening area, including rough measurements and relationships to the sun (cardinal directions). Gardening varies greatly from location to location, so the more specifics you have about your garden, the better. Free School will have some soil mixture, transplant packs, and seeds to share.—————————-For more information on HFS, including previous course offerings, and what’s next, visit us at hamtramckfreeschool.org.

To propose your own peer-to-peer learning experience email us here

Silently Seeking the Self: A Workshop on Silence

photo 2

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2014 at 3pm and

SUNDAY MARCH 30, 2014 at 3pm

We typically use verbal language to express ourselves. With this noise, we can lose touch with who we are. This class will be guided in complete silence. Without the hustle and bustle of city living, we will learn from our pulse and from each other. We will see, listen, touch, smell, feel, and move using writing prompts, meditation, physical games, and gesture. Through silence, openness, and a community embrace, we will seek to discover something new about ourselves.

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
― Hermann Hesse, Demian

This class will take place at
227 Iron Street #116 (with green storm door)
Detroit, Michigan 48207


Detroit Future City? Discussion and Presentation on the Detroit Future City Plan


Join HFS in a two-part examination of the widely discussed Detroit Future City plan.
Part 1, on Wednesday, February 5th; 6:30-8:30 pm @ Cafe 1923, a discussion of the Detroit Future City plan. You can read it online or get a copy at the new office location:

Detroit Future City — Implementation Office 

2990 W. Grand Blvd. Suite 2

[email protected]

O: 313-499-3335

Part 2, on Wednesday, February 12th; 6:30-8:30 pm @ Cafe 1923, a presentation by a representative from Detroit Future City. We can generate some specific lines of inquiry regarding DFC at the previous section, and try to clarify any issues that come up in the last section.
To download the document (43mb), click this link.
Cafe 1923 is located at 2287 Holbrook St, Hamtramck, MI 48212.

For more information on Detroit Future City, click here.

The Writings of Bertolt Brecht


FEBRUARY 10th, 17th, 24th + MARCH 3rd, 10th, 2014. This class is an introduction to the writings of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956). Over the duration of five weeks, we will look at Brecht’s theoretical writings, two of his plays, and handfuls of poems that point to dramaturgical themes he so often emphasized, such as the Verfremdungseffekt (estrangement effect), his theory of Gestus, and the practice of ‘non-Aristotilian drama’. Class will take place on Monday’s in February (10th, 17th, & 24th) and in March (3rd & 10th) from 6:30p to 8:30p at Café 1923, 2287 Holbrook St, Hamtramck, MI 48212.

Week 1Epic Theater using Verfremdungseffekt, Here’s a strange, sporadic yet useful collection of “miscellaneous WWW sources” on Epic Theater, Verfremdungseffekt, Brecht, and Artaud. This is obviously not Brecht, but a useful primer.

We’ll also be looking at three essays by Brecht from around 1936: Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting + The Street Scene + Short Description of a New Technique of Acting which Produces an Alienation Effect

Week 2:  The Baden-Baden Lesson on ConsentThis Lehrstück, written in 1929, contains a memorable scene in which a clown is dismembered by his clown friends, as seen in the images here, courtesy of hindemith.info.

Week 3: Mother Courage and Her Children Scenes 1 through 6. Written 10 years later, in 1939. Mother Courage is one of Brecht’s most celebrated plays, and a strong display of Verfremdungseffect throughout.

Week 4: Mother Courage and Her Children Scenes 7 though 12.

Week 5: Selections from Die Hauspostille (Manual of Piety) (1927), link to view forthcoming. We will take a look a handfuls of Brecht’s poetry from Die Hauspostille and potentially find unexpected things.