To Be Continued…

Hi, all! This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending the 14th Annual Institute for Critical Animal Studies Conference at Binghamton University, along with eight fellow members of the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) (including an alum!). The weekend was jam-packed, leaving me little time to even turn on my computer, much less type up a blog post on it. Rest assured, however, that next Monday I’ll provide you with a recap of the thought-provoking, challenging conference. Until then, stick around for Thursday’s regular # NewsandChews post. Have a great week!

Photo via ICAS.

Photo via ICAS.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-17-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews) time! LET’S DO IT!!!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Spinach & Artichoke Soup
Via Connoisseurus Veg

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Do I really need to say much more about this recipe? It’s spinach-artichoke dip in soup form, for goodness’ sake.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Black Bean Brownies
Via Minimalist Baker

Photo via Dana Schultz.

Photo via Dana Schultz.

What does one do when one finds in the fridge an enormous container of cooked adzuki beans that one knows one’s housemates won’t be able to eat before they go bad? One makes an enormous batch of adzuki bean brownies that one’s housemates eat within two days. Mission accomplished.

Must-Read Article(s)

With the Walter Scott police murder weighing on many of our hearts and minds, I want to feature three articles that emphasize the systemic nature of police killings of Black people in a white supremacist society, and that assert an urgent need to move beyond merely circulating videos of such societally embedded violence and toward its meaningful eradication.

White outrage over Walter Scott doesn’t fix black fear of living in racist America
By Steven W. Thrasher at The Guardian

Videos of Police Killings Are Numbing Us to the Spectacle of Black Death
By Jamil Smith at The New Republic

How To Destroy A Black Life: A Step-By-Step Guide
By Aurin Squire at Talking Points Memo

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Poetry by DarkMatter

BitterBanner

DarkMatter is a duo of trans South Asian artists and organizers who write and perform subversive, game-changing poetry that will make you think about the world in whole new ways. I first found out about Janani and Alok’s work when they visited Vassar last year for a performance (fun fact: I had the pleasure of catering a vegan, gluten-free dinner for them!). Check them out at watch all. of. their. videos.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You ShoulD totally Check Out

Robot Hugs

Photo via Robot Hugs.

Photo via Robot Hugs.

A biweekly comic focusing on cats, identity, gender, sexuality, depression, and mental illness, Robot Hugs provides an honest, genuine take on life with which virtually anyone trying to figure out how to navigate this messed up world can identify. Receiving these image-based stories in my inbox every Tuesday and Thursday truly feels like a big virtual hug.

In solidarity, Ali.

[VIDEO] “Queering Animal Liberation”: A Talk by pattrice jones of VINE Sanctuary

Do you have an anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist vision that needs to get out there in the world? Consider making Chickpeas & Change the platform for it! The blog is now accepting submissions. Check out this page for details.

Welcome to the first video post here at Chickpeas & Change! Last Monday, I reflected upon a conversation that I and my Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) co-leaders were lucky enough to have with longtime LGBTQ, anti-racist, anti-speciesist activist pattrice jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary in Springfield, VT. This conversation took place before pattrice gave a lecture — hosted by VARC — to a room of Vassar community members, and I’m thrilled to be able to share with ya’ll a video recording of pattrice’s lecture, entitled “Queering Animal Liberation”. Please enjoy and share widely.

Untitled

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-10-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Glad to see ya’ll for another round of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! Today’s recipes are a breakfast-lover’s dream, complete with a savory casserole and decadent french toast. Oh, and of course I had to throw a sandwich in for good measure. As for stories, I’m excited to feature a reminder about the importance of radical humility, an adorable cartoon video about privilege that children and adults alike can enjoy and learn from, and a veganic community gardening project that needs your support. Happy Friday!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Vegan Strata
Via The Leafy Cauldron

Photo via The Leafy Cauldron.

Photo via The Leafy Cauldron.

Traditionally an American breakfast casserole of eggs, bread, and cheese, strata receives a much more animal-friendly makeover in this recipe from the cleverly named Leafy Cauldron blog (any fellow Harry Potter fans out there?). This hearty-looking dish boasts a colorful mess of spring vegetables and whole-grain bread, topped with a creamy custard based in silken tofu. I need to find an excuse to host a brunch party for this one…

Sweet

Brownie French Toast with Salted Date Caramel & Almond Butter
Via Vegan Richa

brownie-french-toast-7633

Photo via Richa Hingle.

Dipping a thick slice of bread into brownie batter, slathering it with nut butter, and drizzling it with date caramel sauce sounds like something that needs to go on my to-do list immediately.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Portobello Truffle Melt
Via The New Chicago Diner Cookbook

Photo via Jonna N. on Yelp.

Photo via Jonna N. on Yelp.

I had the immense pleasure of visiting the infamous Chicago Diner during a weekend family trip a couple of months ago, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to replicate some of their impeccable dishes when my mother gifted me The New Chicago Diner Cookbook for Christmas. This well-crafted dish from the book features succulent marinated & sauteed mushrooms stuffed between two slices of bread, complimented by a layer of truffle oil-infused vegan mayo and a melty slice of vegan cheese. A messy, totally satisfying sandwich.

Must-Read Article

The Myths of US Exceptionalism
By Jack Rasmus at Counterpunch

Image via CagleCartoons.com.

Image via CagleCartoons.com.

Though this article doesn’t explore in-depth the roots of the insidious ideology of US exceptionalism, it does demonstrate in concrete terms some of the reasons why this belief system is completely unfounded. As I explore more and more my positioning in the world, I’m constantly finding more evidence of the importance of cultivating radical humility; this article conveys a smattering of them.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

‘Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar': A Story About Privilege
By Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey & Kat Blaque at RH Reality Check

Photo via RH Reality Check.

Photo via RH Reality Check.

Adorable yet profound in its simplicity. Take three minutes to smile and reflect.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You Should Totally Check Out

Atlanta Black Crackers Lab Camp
Via Eugene Cooke

Photo via Eugene Cooke.

Photo via Eugene Cooke.

With less than two weeks left in his IndieGoGo campaign, Atlanta-based urban farmer Eugene Cooke is requesting support to fund his outdoor community center called the Atlanta Black Crackers Lab Camp. This veganic farm will further the work of Grow Where You Are, “a dynamic full service provider in the field of local food systems” that “partner[s] with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities.” Check out his project and support his financially, if you can.

In solidarity, Ali.

Our Positioning as Animal Activists

Do you have an anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist vision that needs to get out there in the world? Consider making Chickpeas & Change the platform for it! The blog is now accepting submissions. Check out this page for details.

Hi, all! My thoughts in today’s post stem from a conversation I and my Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) co-leaders were lucky enough to have with longtime LGBTQ, anti-racist, anti-speciesist activist pattrice jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary in Springfield, VT. VARC hosted pattrice for a campus lecture this past Tuesday, and we were thrilled to be able to sit down with her for an informal chat before the event. (We were also able to videotape pattrice’s talk, so be sure to stay updated on my blog in the upcoming weeks for info on how to access the recording!)

One strand of our conversation with pattrice that particularly struck me came in response to a question asked by one of my co-leaders in regards to our positioning as animal activists; that is, people advocating on behalf of non-human animals. In her reply, pattrice recalled a talk given by Native Studies scholar and INCITE! co-founder Andrea Smith at the 2007 “Inadmissible Comparisons” conference hosted by United Poultry Concerns. Unfortunately, what I say here will be a paraphrase of a paraphrase, as I could not find a transcript or recording of Andrea’s original talk; nonetheless, I’d like to summarize pattrice’s description of the talk, since I think it brings up important questions of animal activist positioning and non-human agency.

pattrice shared with us Andrea’s observation that, in dialogues with or actions directed toward those who are not vegan or otherwise actively exploit non-human animals, animal advocates will often cognitively place ourselves in the position of the chicken, the cow, the rat, the rabbit, etc. On the one hand, this empathetic ability to occupy another’s viewpoint serves as an important aspect of any type of activism that involves a member of an oppressor group advocating in solidarity with an oppressed group (think white anti-racist activism, for example). On the other hand, Andrea observed that this cognitive shift in animal advocates’ subject positioning tends to lead us to forget that we are not the ones being oppressed, but rather lead rather comfortable lives (at least, most of us) in which we’ve chosen to disavow our species privilege and encourage others to do the same.

pattrice explained that Andrea made this observation in the context of dialogues in which someone who had not yet disavowed their species privilege critiques an animal activist for upholding other systems of oppression (white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, etc.) at least in part by making comparisons between oppressions – in an “oppression olympics,” if you will – instead of focusing on their interlocking logics. Because the animal activist now thinks of ourself as a member of a species-oppressed group – a group in which members of virtually every other marginalized peoples participate in oppressing – we cannot consider our critiquer’s assertions as legitimate. “I can’t possibly be participating in oppressive structures right now, because I’m the most oppressed!!!“…or so the internal monologue presumably goes.

Obviously, as Andrea demonstrates, this cognitive shift in subject positioning when advocating for animals prevents us from listening to others who let us know when we’re committing an act of violence in our advocacy. With this mindset, we can never hope to develop the radical intersectional politics necessary to guide us toward collective liberation for all beings.

For me, this shift also brings up questions of agency. In so much of animal advocacy, I see human animals exercising agency and power, while non-human animals are presented as victims who need saving. By putting ourselves into the place of non-human animals when advocating for them, I think we further co-opt their agency, obscuring they who actually face species-based oppression while making the world more comfortable for ourselves. For example, campaigning for more vegan options at restaurants with no mention of the non-human animals for whom we promote veganism presents the campaign as working on behalf of vegans who face “oppression” (imagine GIANT quotations here) at the hands of the restaurant industry, rather than in solidarity with the non-human animals who actually face systemic oppression. (And it also serves merely to shift the capitalist market from an animal-based one to a plant-based one instead of dismantling the logics of capitalism — which exploit all living beings — altogether.)

In part thanks to this conversation we shared with pattrice, I’ve been thinking about how to act from a place of respecting the agency of non-human animals, rather than centering myself as a member of a non-species-oppressed group and turning them into helpless victims. I think that sanctuaries can provide an awesome model for such agency-respecting advocacy, but even sanctuaries tend to strip their residents of some level of autonomy. So I’m still thinking…and will probably be thinking for a while. But I’d really appreciate your help in doing so! Seriously, comment section is wide open (as always). And, if you have thoughts that cannot be condensed into the small space of a comment, please consider submitting a piece to Chickpeas & Change! Check out this page for submission guidelines.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-3-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Before launching into today’s #NewsandChews, I want to remind ya’ll about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Friday means Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! Thanks for stopping by. :) Today I want to share with ya’ll a surprisingly original and jam-packed sandwich, a decadent yet simply made custard, and unequivocally the best mac & cheese I’ve ever eaten. As for stories, we’re talkin’ Indiana, “feelings journalism,” and postcolonial scholarship. Enjoy!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe.

Savory

“The Veggie” Sandwich: Sunflower Seed Tzatziki, Golden Beets with Sumac, Avocado, & Sprouts
Via Faring Well

Photo via Jessie at Faring Well.

Photo via Jessie at Faring Well.

This rainbow-hued sandwich is bursting in textural contrasts, with creamy sunflower seed tzatziki sauce, tender yet toothsome roasted beets, smooth avocado, and refreshingly crunchy sprouts. I would like to cram this into my mouth riiiiight….now.

Sweet

Pumpkin Seed Butter Custards
Via My Sweet Faery

Photo via Geraldine Olivo.

Photo via Geraldine Olivo.

I’m a huge sucker for creamy desserts (ice cream, pudding, custard, and the like), and this one looks quite versatile. Switch out the pumpkin seed butter for peanut or almond butter, the vanilla extract for almond or peppermint, and of course the honey for maple syrup or agave nectar—and you have yourself an infinitely adaptable sweet treat.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Plum’s Spicy Mac n’ Yease
Via Vegan Richa

Photo via Richa Hingle.

Photo via Richa Hingle.

I’ve made this mac & cheese as a baked dish for my housemates twice now, and both iterations have elicited resounding praise. Seriously, they can’t get enough of this stuff, and for good reason: I don’t exaggerate when I say that this recipe yields perhaps the cheesiest, smoothest, most savory vegan cheese sauce I’ve ever encountered. I prefer to make it a non-spicy mac by substituting the red pepper flakes and cayenne for onion powder.

Must-Read Article

It’s Not Helpful to Tell Indiana Residents to ‘Just Move to a Blue State’
By Cynthia R. Greenlee

Photo via Shutterstock.

Photo via Shutterstock.

In the midst of well-deserved criticism of its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana has been the target of nationwide boycotts and media attention. However, a substantial amount of the backlash has been leveled at Indiana residents themselves, as though their state were inherently “backward” or inferior to more self-proclaimed “progressive” states (who also, please note, deal with their fair share of discrimination against various marginalized groups). This well-written article by Cynthia R. Greenlee eloquently drives home this point, which I feel is a super important one to bring into the debate currently being waged surrounding Indiana.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Sarah Jaffe on Politics and Feelings
Via Radio Dispatch

Photo via Sarah Jaffe on Twitter.

Photo via Sarah Jaffe on Twitter.

Ever since I began listening to her and Michelle Chen on the Belabored Podcast, Sarah Jaffe has become one of my favorite pundits on labor, economic justice, and social movements in general. On this episode of Radio Dispatch, Sarah speaks about the recent upsurge of so-called “feelings journalism,” and critiques it as a privileged phenomenon that seeks to explain away the experiences of others based on how one…well, just feels about it. A great listen.

Book Recommendation

Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
By Dipesh Chakrabarty

Photo via Princeton University Press.

Photo via Princeton University Press.

One of my courses this semester has turned me into an enormous fan of postcolonial scholarship for its views on how to conceptualize the world in a way that radically decenters Europe and Eurocentric thought. In this book, Chakrabarty calls into question the concepts of modernity, historicism, and a rationality that dismisses the spiritual realm (among many other topics). This one will have you rethinking…well, just about everything.

In solidarity, Ali.

Chickpeas & Change Now Welcoming Submissions!

Thanks to the influence of a good many revolutionary activists, I see a “radical politics” as necessarily centering those on the margins of society. By looking to the leadership of people of color, women, trans people, gender nonconforming people, non-Western people, differently abled people, and those who live at the intersections of these identities and beyond, our work is less likely to leave anyone behind in a struggle for collective liberation.

One way to center marginalized voices is to make space for them, to step down from the podium and listen rather than speak at every chance. With this in mind, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with having Chickpeas & Change serve merely as a soapbox for my thoughts and my thoughts only. Since re-conceiving of this blog, I’ve sought for it to provide a venue for building up a feminist, anti-racist, anti-speciesist community, and I now want to begin to turn this theory into praxis.

That’s why Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions for blog posts! You’ll find submission guidelines below, as well as on the blog’s new “Contribute to C&C” page (drops down when you hover over the “From the Community” page). I’m really eager to work with ya’ll. :)


Submission Guidelines

Chickpeas & Change welcomes all submissions created with a goal of contributing in some small way to dismantling dominant structures of violence and oppression, and that include non-human animals among the beings whom we need to include in a struggle for collective liberation. This includes written, video, audio, photographic, and otherwise artistic pieces. Submissions from individuals and groups who do not have online platforms of their own will be privileged.

Please send written submissions to chickpeasandchange [at] gmail [dot] com in a Word .doc file – as well as copied into the body of your email. Include your name, contact information and a brief biography, with embedded hyperlinks to your website, Twitter account, etc., if you would like them included, and a JPEG of a headshot photo if you would like that included. The subject line of your email should begin with “SUBMISSION:” followed by your last name and the article title.

Written submissions should be at least 500 words, and no longer than 2,000 (though exceptions can be made).

For multimedia submissions, videos should not be longer than 10 minutes and should be non-compressed and in .MOV or .FLV format. Photos and images should be minimum 490×300 pixels and can be in .PDF, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG or .TIFF format. Audio files should be in .MOV, .FLV, .MPEG-4 or MP3 format.

Submissions can be either original, or reprinted from elsewhere (as long as you currently hold the rights to reprint your work and have permission from the outlet where it has first appeared). When submitting a reprint, please include the URL of the original piece in your submission email.

All submissions are subject to a non-extensive editorial review process that will focus mostly on grammar and factual accuracy.

If using external sources in your piece, please cite them using MLA format, and hyperlink them directly in the text, if possible. Please also include a works cited page at the end of your piece.

Please use the following formatting guidelines:

–Place only a single space between sentences.
–Place only a single line break between paragraphs.
–Do not indent paragraphs.
–Unless it would detract from the style of the piece, all dates, times and months must be spelled out, i.e. December 10, 2010, never “last Tuesday,” “next week,” “tomorrow” etc., in order for the story to remain accurate and usable.
–Please spell-check your work.
–Please format all submissions in Times New Roman, 12-point font.
–Please avoid pasting photos, tables or other visuals directly into Word documents with text. Instead, mark in the text where photos should be placed (i.e. “Photo 1 and Caption text and photo credit”) and attach visuals as separate files, with corresponding file names. Please only submit original photos, images under fair use, creative commons licenses or images for which you own the publishing rights.

Please do not submit pieces that…

–Are not yours (by rights) to submit, post, disseminate or transmit;
–Are unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, obscene, harmful, tortuous, libelous or invasive of another’s privacy;
–Infringe or violate any party’s copyright, trademark, trade secret, patent or other proprietary right;
–Contain any viruses, worms or other harmful, disruptive or destructive files, code or programs;
–Include any unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, chain letters, spam, junk mail or any other type of unsolicited mass email to people or entities that have not agreed to be part of such mailings.

This blog accepts no money for its operation, nor offers it to anyone else. As such, it is assumed that all submissions are offered gratis. Additionally, no submissions will be sold to any other publishing entity.

Finally, please don’t hesitate to contact me (Ali Seiter) with any questions you may have. You can send questions either through the form on my Contact page, or via email to chickpeasandchange [at] gmail [dot] com.


In solidarity, Ali.