Green Waste

Each second Monday the Council collects Green Waste
from our bins in the back lane.
I rarely remember which week is the one,
and my Waste’s mostly cockroach brown
or the grey of dead twigs, so I quickly add – to encourage them –
a layer of soft weeds, still fresh.
Green, yes, but waste? Can I trust this cost-cutting Council
to aim its dump truck at a compost heap?
I want my wealth to feed new green, and not
the black waste of oil, the red waste of war.

Jessie Bernard Award

The American Sociological Association has kindly made me the recipient of the Jessie Bernard Award for 2017.  This award, established about forty years ago, recognizes "work that has enlarged the horizons of the discipline of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society."

The award is named after Jessie Bernard (1903-1996).  Jessie was one of the founders of the Society for the Study of Social Problems in the 1950s.  In the 1960s and 1970s she became an amazingly productive contributor to feminist sociology, continuing her activism, research and mentoring long after retirement.  A model for us all! 
For an evocative account of her life and work, written by Patricia Yancey Martin, see:
I will be travelling to the annual meeting of the ASA in Montréal in August 2017, and hope to meet many colleagues, students and fellow-conspirators there.

Gender, Sex, Coloniality: Public Lecture

Next Wednesday, 29 March 5.30 at 215 Franklin Street Melbourne, at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, I'll be giving a public lecture:


It's free, all welcome!

What it's about: The social science we use in research on health and illness, violence and inequality, is largely derived from European & North American social experience - including the power to draw knowledge from the colonized world.  I'm asking how these issues look if we start our stories, instead, from the process of colonization itself.

I'll try to work this out in three contested areas:
  • the making of Australian masculinities
  • the politics of birth
  • struggles to survive with gender contradiction.
I will reflect on the social science we need, and the social science we are likely to have, in the world of Putin, Xi, Trump and Turnbull.

The title? A variation on lines from an early poem by the great Judith Wright:

     South of my days' circle
     I know it dark against the stars, the high lean country
     full of old stories that still go walking in my sleep.


Australians are, per capita, among the worst polluters in the world.  We have a poor record of energy conservation and environmental protection.  The country’s neoliberal development agenda has prioritised large-scale coal mining for export – producing pollution in other countries.  For the last twenty years our national governments have denied or trivialized climate change, and fiddled with carbon policies that were either ineffective or outright fakes. 
A week ago, members of the current national government brought a lump of coal into parliament and played with it, for the cameras, to show their commitment to the coal industry.  On that day, the weather bureau was predicting over 40 degrees for western Sydney.  This southern summer in Australia, after years of high temperatures, has recorded record-breaking heat, with frightening bushfire conditions.
Yesterday in Sydney, a tremendous thunderstorm came from the west, the interior of the continent.  Another one came today.
I don’t go in for Earth-mysticism.  I have been in a tropical cyclone and under the ash of a volcanic eruption, and they were simply part of what happens.

But these two days, as the lightning flashed and the rain slashed down, it was easy to believe in a message.  I have never felt so strongly that nature was angry.
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