Mother Beware: How Homebirth is treated in Scholarly and News Discourse

Just published a piece I’ve been working on for a long while. Please read and/or share with anyone you know interested in childbirth, women, gender, and sexism. Here’s the abstract

Scholarly and news media discourses have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of homebirth. This has had the effect of strengthening the popular belief that women’s reproductive processes are inherently prone to malfunction and, thus, require technological intervention in order to ensure “safe” births. Yet the foundation, upon which such claims rest, specifically, a widely touted 2010 study indicating the risk homebirth poses to infant mortality, is marred by fallacies that seem due to negative gendered presumptions about female biology. Such errors are perilous and disempowering. In the first place they are perpetuating unwarranted alarm around the supposed dangers
of planned homebirth, and invite further restrictions of women’s already limited birthing rights in the U.S. Secondly, the study and attending news media discourses are having the effect of obscuring full consideration of maternal wellbeing, particularly as it relates to maternal mortality and maternal morbidity. As such these discourses are contributing to an androcentric vision of childbirth wherein women are viewed as birth-objects or resources rather than creative-agent, and are furthermore normalizing “compulsory maternal sacrifice.”

To read the piece go here: “Mother Beware: Perilous Scholarly and News Media Discourse around Homebirth.” The International Journal of Communication and Health.” Fall 2013, Vol 1, no 2.

Sat. Nov 9, Stuart: Scholar to Speak on Plight of Fast-food Workers

How much do fast-food workers really make? And are they mostly young people working their way through high-school? Why do some believe fast-food workers should make $10 to $15 an hour? If they don’t like their job, why don’t they just go out and find a better one? On Saturday, November 9th, I’ll address these questions and many more in my talk, “The Facts of Fast-Food Life.”

Hosted by the Democratic Women’s Club of Martin County, the event will take place at the Clarion Inn of Stuart, 1200 SE Federal Highway, Stuart, Fl. Doors open at 10am for coffee and the program begins at 10:30am. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to contribute to food collection for those in need.

For more info go here

Just published: “The Perils of Patriarchy for Men as well as Women…”

Very excited to have published this piece. Brings together a variety of key elements from my newly created course, “Men, Masculinity, and Feminsims,” which I’m teaching for the second time this present fall semester.

The Perils of Patriarchy for Men as well as Women: Another Mass Shooting, another Reason to Begin Discussing Violence and Gender

Between 1982 and mid-2013, there were 67 mass shootings across the United States.[1] As Mother Jones reports, mass shootings are defined as the killing of four or more people, not including the killer, in a single event. Thirty of these shootings occurred between 2006 and 2013. This list grew on September 16, 2013, when Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy Reservist, killed 12 people and wounded several others on a District of Columbia naval base. Alexis, too, was killed during a shootout with police.[2]

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, former NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre explained these events in part by stating: “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters.”[3] Joseph Engeldinger disagrees. Speaking of his nephew, Andrew, Joseph said, “I can only assume there was some kind of mental break there. He wasn’t a monster. … He was a real good kid, a real good person. He had a real good heart. … “[4] Certainly what Andrew did was evil. But the simplistic notion that such evil – causing profound unjustified pain and suffering to others – is the work of “genuine monsters” obscures the truth that the capacity for evil lurks in virtually all of us. Just as importantly, it obscures the social factors facilitating such evil, factors that are at least partially within our control……

Occupy Ethics, The Meaning of Moral Equality; And the Facts of Fast-food Life

I’m very excited to announce the publication of two (really three!) new pieces of writing:fast-food-workers-in-ny-4_3

The first essay attempts to address what I see is our failure to meaningfully explain, discuss, and creatively explore the importance of moral values in relation to issues of income differentials, low-wage labor, and ideas of respect.

The second uncovers some of the unknown facts of fast-food workers’ lives, including the fact most workers are women; and analyzes the many claims used to justify the exploitation of a 3+ million person labor force.

Please read and share with others! And if you’re interested in inviting me to speak before your church, club, or college on these issues, let me know.

Talk on Men and Feminism in Bradenton, Sunday, July 7th

7/7/2013: Men and Feminism: What do the two have to do with each other?

When: 10:30am, Sunday, July 7, 2013

Where: Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church, 322 15th Street West  Bradenton, FL 34205

About: In this talk Dr. Nall, will discuss feminism’s relevance to men. Feminists reject the notion that men are biologically destined to lives devoted to detachment and destruction. Rather, feminists contend that such a story of masculinity, be it told by theologians, philosophers, or scientists, is purposed to maintain a status-quo that readies boys for lives in armies of corporate profiteers; that it perpetuates the “man-eat-man” mentality that underlies consumerism and the objectification of human beings; and, on the whole, furthers a society premised on interaction between one egoist self to another. Dr. Nall explains the way in which feminist thinkers contend their philosophical and political movement possesses the insights capable of changing the consciousness of the men upon whom our hopes for peace and justice so significantly depend upon.

Virtue Over Victory, Why We Should Adopt a Virtue Ethics Approach to Social Change

I’m very excited! Not only are my wonderful –but tiring–classes coming to a pleasant end, but a piece I’ve been working on for quite some time has just been published. If you get a chance to read it, let me know; and please share. My hope is that it helps put our moral struggles into perspective, and helps people be more optimistic. In the future I’ll be giving public talks on this topic.

Virtue Over Victory, Why We Should Adopt a Virtue Ethics Approach to Social Change

Upcoming Talks in Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando

5/26/2013: Stereotyping the Poor

When: 10:30am, Sunday, May 26, 2013

Where: River of Grass UU Congregation, 11850 West State Road 84,Suite 1Davie,Florida33325

What: I’m going to talk about the ways in which the poor are oppressed in more subtle ways; namely through stereotyping and self-silencing. I’ll also talk about strategies that I believe we can all embrace to immediately begin fostering change that supports the dignity of all people, regardless of economic standing.


6/23/2013: Chocolate, Slavery, and Our Moral Obligations

When: 10:30am, Sunday, June 23, 2013

Where: University UU,11648 McCulloch Rd,Orlando, Fl 32817

What: I’ll be discussing how most of the chocolate we consume is tainted with enslaved child labor, and what we consumers can do about this problem.

Just Published: Heretical Advice from a Happily and Heavily Indebted Ph.D.

Heretical Advice from a Happily and Heavily Indebted Ph.D.:Why Poor Students Shouldn’t Fear Student Loans

Recently a student told me how he had been discouraged from freely taking out federal student loans by his professor. When the student said he wasn’t particularly concerned about repayment, the teacher replied, “Well you should!” This mentality, while partially understandable, is promoting a fear of borrowing for education in precisely those who should be encouraged and emboldened to take out loans.

In the US, economic disadvantage breeds poverty that carries on through generations. One of the central purposes of federal student loans is to aid those who are financially less fortunate in obtaining a quality education. But again and again I have either personally listened to others warn against the dangers of student loans or heard countless stories from students who are discouraged from borrowing. As I see it, the discussion around student debt is significantly influenced and directed by the fallacy of magnifying risks.

The fallacy of magnifying risks occurs when the probability of negative outcomes is overstated. I’ll never forget family members overstating the negative outcomes of dropping out of high school. As it turns out, the GED literally reads “High School Diploma” and entitles students to enter into community and many state colleges just the same as students who graduate with a high school diploma from high school. When it comes to student debt, there is usually very little discussion as to why students should fear debt. Commonsense, which is quite often just plan badsense, tells us that borrowing beyond our means is bad! And it’s this kind of thinking that colors many teachers, parents, and, unfortunately, students’ attitudes about student loans.

But the very purpose of student loans is to allow those who do not have the means to acquire quality education to have the opportunity to do so. And when we examine the facts around student loans and repayment options there is no good reason for low-income students to fear borrowing. In fact, there are two good reasons students shouldn’t fear taking federal loans

Read the rest here

The Adjunct Life

I recently wrote an article discussing adjunct teaching, and it’s really gotten the interest of a number of publications. Toward Freedom first published it, and now TruthOut, Alternet, and the December issue of Z magazine has followed suit. Please share with others.

Working for Change in Higher Education: The Abysmal State of Adjunct Teacher Pay

“Adjunct professors are increasingly facing unfair and damaging teaching conditions. What you need to know about the reality of university teaching.”

Newly published piece on Hollywood film, U.S. militarism, and Bahrain

In the last 10 days, the U.S.-backed monarchy in Bahrain have prohibited demonstrations of all kinds and revoked the citizenship of pro-democracy activists. Our politics is so polarized that we begin to fit ourselves into good vs. evil political narratives. The frightening reality is that the “evil” that is occurring in Bahrain is occurring under the current presidency; and, yes, it would’ve been maintained by a Romney presidency. Thus it’s time to take a look at American Exceptionalism and face the discomforting music.

Please read and share:

Will the Real Destro Please Stand Up? How Hollywood Helps to Obscure the Ugly Truth about American Militarism

You can also watch this short video:

Bahrain: Year One

And then consider taking a small step to voice your solidarity with pro-democracy forces in Bahrain:

Free Human Rights Activist Jailed for a Tweet in Bahrain