Self Help

In this episode of High Theory, Angela Hume tells us about Self Help, not the neoliberal strategy of self-actualization through consumer choices, but the radical political movement of gynecological self-help, that flourished in the late twentieth century and created a set of portable political tactics based in anarchist feminist philosophy. 

In the episode, she references Alondra Nelson’s book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination (Minnesota UP, 2013); Michelle Murphy’s Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience (Duke UP, 2012); and several health activist organizations, including the Women’s Choice Clinic in Oakland, CA; AidAccess which provides mail order medication assisted abortion; and MYA Network, a group of clinicians seeking to expand abortion access in primary care settings. 

Angela suggested we include three links that everyone should have at their fingertips, PlanC ( which helps people access abortion pills, AidAccess ( the pill fulfillment service described above, and I Need an A (, a clinic locator. 

In our longer conversation, she also named the Keep Our Clinics campaign, a fundraising effort to support independent abortion clinics, to which pre-sales of her book contributed. We’re sorry we didn’t get this up early enough for you to participate in the pre-sale! But now the book is out in the world, you can even read a review of it in The Guardian

Our conversation is based Angela’s new book, Deep Care: The Radical Activists Who Provided Abortions, Defied the Law, and Fought to Keep Clinics Open(link is external) (AK Press, 2023). A work of public scholarship and a history of medicine, the book tells a story of Bay Area abortion defense—from feminist clinical practice, to underground abortion provision, to street politics and clinic defense—from the 1970s to 2000s. You can read an excerpt from the book in the Post45 contemporaries collection “Abortion Now, Abortion Forever,” which was the starting point for our conversation on High Theory. 

Angela Hume is a feminist historian, critic, and poet, who teaches at UC Berkeley. Her creative and expository writing classes address environmental and health justice, working-class and multiethnic American literatures, feminist and queer storytelling, and more. Beyond Deep Care, Angela is co-editor of Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field (U of Iowa P, 2018). Her full-length books of poetry include Middle Time (Omnidawn, 2016) and Interventions for Women (Omnidawn, 2021).

The image for this episode was made by Saronik Bosu in 2023.

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Civil Disobedience

Eraldo Souza dos Santos talks about the invention of civil disobedience as a form of political action around the world, and the need for its redefinition to describe activism present and future. In the episode, he references John Rawls’s classic definition from A Theory of Justice (Harvard UP, 1971) and Erin Pineda’s new book, Seeing Like an Activist: Civil Disobedience and the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford UP, 2021).

Eraldo Souza dos Santos is a philosopher and historian of political thought whose research explores how political concepts have come to shape political discourse and political practice, and how political actors have come to contest the meaning of these concepts in turn. In his current project, he traces the global history of the idea of civil disobedience. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at Panthéon-Sorbonne University. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Académie française, the Maison française d’Oxford, the Leuven Institute for Advanced Studies, the Munich Centre for Global History, the Friedrich Nietzsche College of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the French-Dutch Network for Higher Education and Research, and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, among others.

Image: Bas-Relief of the Salt March led by M.K. Gandhi in March-April 1930, photograph by Nevil Zaveri, available here under Creative Commons.

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