Feminist Activist

activist training – Giving people concrete tools that they need in order to organize or protest. Before the anti-choice group Lambs of Christ invaded Fargo in 1991, for instance, staffers from the Fargo Women’s Health Clinic trained volunteer escorts in decoying (that is, pretending to be a woman coming into the clinic while the real patient was brought in through another entrance), nonviolent confrontation, and how
to avoid getting arrested.

agency – the capacity to act rationally (through the exercise of an individual or collectivized will, to externalize desires or to meet needs), especially with respect to self-definition or self-determination.

alienated labour – labour performed under capitalism and other systems of expropriation in
which workers do not have control over the conditions under which they labour, and in which the products of workers’ labour (material or immaterial) do not belong to them

binary thinking – a way of conceptualizing reality that divides it into two mutually exclusive sets of categories (“binaries”, “dualisms” or “dichotomies”), the terms of which are asymmetrically valued (e.g., white/black, reason/emotion).

blockade – a kind of direct action which physically cuts off access to a road or area, usually as an emergency measure. For example, the Six Nations blockade of spring/summer 2006 attempted to block a development on expropriated indigenous land, after the Canadian state refused to negotiate.

boycott – refusing to participate in, or support, a particular event, practice, or institution. For example, indigenous activists are currently organizing a boycott of the upcoming winter Olympics in Vancouver in order to draw attention to the ongoing condition of colonized aboriginal communities.

canvassing – going door-to-door providing information and raising awareness about an issue, or trying to get people to take action. For example, getting out the vote in communities with low voter turnout.

capitalism
 – an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production. It is structurally characterized by the expropriation of the products of the labor of the working class (or, “proletariat”) by the capitalist or ruling class (or, “bourgeoisie”) in exchange for wages. The working class produces “surplus value” (profit) for the capitalist class – also known as “capital”. Capital has two tendencies: the tendency to expand into (or produce) new markets (through imperialism and colonization) and the tendency to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands. As a result of the latter, capitalism is typically characterized by an extreme disparity (or “gap”) between the rich and the poor.

civil disobedience -an umbrella term for nonviolent, socially disruptive actions which aim to transform institutions, social relations, or practices, and which reveal the repressive power of state violence. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are two well-known theorists and practitioners of civil disobedience.

class – the relation of a group of people to the means of production. In capitalist political economies, there are two classes: the proletariat, or working class, and the bourgeoisie, or capitalist class. The latter (bourgeoisie) owns the means of production whereas the former (proletariat) does not.

coalition – different groups coming together around a particular issue or with a particular purpose, while remaining independent.

commodification – the process through which in capitalist political economies, land, nonhuman animals, products of labor, ideas, and workers’ labour-power are assigned economic values (“exchange values”) and bought/sold on the market as commodities. Also sometimes used figuratively to refer to the encroachment of the market and capitalist values into non-economic relations or regions of life.

commodity – anything that is bought or sold (“exchanged”) in a capitalist political economy. The product of alienated labor performed under capitalism.

consciousness-raising (CR)- a method of building political solidarity between similarly situated individuals and of generating oppositional knowledge, through the sharing of experiences in an informal group discussion. First innovated by feminists in the1970s, to build knowledge about the effects of patriarchy on women’s lives.

consumer boycott – 
the use of “consumer power” to protest the practices of corporations, which are typically indifferent to public opinion. For example, the movement to boycott products made in sweatshops in order to put pressure on corporations to abide by existing labor law.

colonization – a violent process through which one nation-state takes political and economic control over another nation-state or indigenous society, expropriates its resources, administrates or governs it locally, and actively populates the region with its own citizens.

cultural domination – the process through which a socially powerful group defines or diminishes the culture of another, denying that group autonomous self-definition.

deconstruction – the critique of binary oppositions that have structured western thought (e.g., nature/culture, mind/body, form/meaning, inside/outside, male/female). To “deconstruct” these oppositions is to reveal them as constructions, a function of the discourses in which they operate. The “father” of deconstruction is French philosopher Jacques Derrida. [See also post-structuralism]

disciplinary power – a concept of power that tries to connect macroscopic institutions (especially punitive or regulatory institutions) with microscopic relations and individual practices. Power, on this view, is diffuse, productive, and multi-directional; rather than operating in an obvious way or originating from a   single source, it “disciplines” subjects into exercising surveillance and control over their own selves; that is, power is internalized by the very subjects it disciplines.

domination – the exercise of power by one social group over another.

drag – assuming the dress, mannerisms, and gender performance of a different (“opposite”) gender. Used as an illustration of the theory of gender performativity.

 

embodiment – the lived experience of having/ being a human body.

epistemology – used variously to refer to (1) the philosophy of knowledge (which is interested in questions like, what counts as knowledge? what criteria do we (implicitly) use to distinguish true claims from false claims? how does knowledge differ from opinion? etc.) and to (2) the process or method through which we come to know or believe something, or the standards we use to assess knowledge.

essentialism
 – the belief that individuals or groups have inherent, unchanging characteristics (biological, cultural, or metaphysical) that fundamentally define them or explain the way in which they are socially treated, the kinds of activities they should be engaged in, and the rights that should be afforded them or denied them.

eurocentrism – the ideology that represents western culture (e.g., conventional practices, customs, religion, ideas, philosophy, medicine, knowledge, etc.) as superior, more advanced, more “enlightened” or more “democratic” than those of other societies, civilizations, or cultural groups.

everyday racism
 – also known as “occasional racism” or “personal racism”, this term refers to the mundane beliefs, prejudices, acts, and practices of individuals located in a racist society which perpetuates white domination. See also institutional racism and scientific racism.

exploitation – strictly, the extraction of profit from waged labor. More generally used to refer to any relation in which one party or group benefits unfairly from the work or activities of another.

fascism – an authoritarian, nationalist system of government which stresses the organic unity of subjects of the nation-state by deploying xenophobia and racism. Characterized by violent state repression, overt social control, and attempts to achieve racial, cultural, and ideological “purity”. First emerged as a distinct political form in the 1920s in Italy and Germany. Used figuratively to describe other political phenomena which exhibit some characteristics (especially systemic violence as a tool of repression), though this usage is contested.

gender – the social relation through which “masculine” and “feminine” embodied subjects are produced. Sometimes opposed to sex [see also sex/gender distinction] – on such a view gender is the constellation of cultural norms (expected roles, behaviors, relationships) which are assigned to biological sexes. This conception of gender (and its presumption of a pre-cultural, biological body) has been criticized for failing to account for the ways in which bodies themselves are culturally constituted into binary sex/genders.

global south/global north – a political designation for nation-states, regions, societies, communities, and populations which are different located vis-à-vis imperialist power. Replaces and augments the distinctions between “Third-World”/“First-World”, under-developed world/developed world, etc. Unlike those distinctions, this one tracks a flow of resources and labor from the Global South to the Global North and is able to capture the sense in which the Global South exists within the Global North – for example, in the form of the reserve, the urban ghetto, or the industrial prison.

hegemony – the power achieved by that set of authoritative ideas that dominate in a given cultural formation; “hegemonic” ideas or practices appear natural and are taken for granted (that is, they go unquestioned or are questioned only by marginal social actors).

heteronormativity – the social enforcement of heterosexual relations to the occlusion of all other possibilities for sexual desire and expression.

heterosexism – discrimination based on the presumption that heterosexuality is superior to other forms of sexual expression/desire or effective and/or kinship relations.

historical materialism – a method of reading and telling history which emphasizes the actually lived practices (as opposed to the “great” ideas) of concrete human subjects, in particular, the way in which they socially organize their productive activities. A method first articulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

homophobia – fear or hatred of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people and/or acts, practices, desires normatively classified as “homosexual”.

identity politics – an umbrella term used to describe various approaches to political resistance which, in one way or another, depart from the experience of oppression shared by members of a particular social group (e.g., black women).

ideology – a body of assumptions, ideas, knowledge, and epistemic practices which reflect and maintains the social position and interests of a particular (usually dominant) social group (e.g., scientific racism is an ideology which justifies and reflects white domination).

imperialism – a global system of domination exercised through private property (capital), military power, and global institutions (such as the WTO or the IMF), through which wealth is drained from the labour and resources of people in the Global South to the systematic advantage of capital (i.e., the capitalist class) in the Global North. A nation-state is imperialist if its ruling class and state apparatuses perpetuate and systematically benefit from this system of structural global inequality.

institutional(ized) racism – refers to the social structures, macroscopic social relations, and institutionalized practices which reproduce systems of racialized domination (e.g., racial profiling by police, unequal access to the legal system, anti-terrorism laws which target particular racialized communities, etc.). Also known as “structural racism”. [See also everyday racism and
scientific racism]

intersectionality – a term used to refer to the relation between systems of oppression (based on race, gender, class, nation, ability, etc.) which are understood to constitute each other, rather than being discrete or separate social phenomena.

intersubjectivity – relations between subjects.

islamophobia – the fear and racialized hatred of Muslim people, Islam and/or Islamic societies. Sometimes used more broadly to refer to marginalization and persecution of Arab and/or Middle-Eastern people generally, especially after 9/11.

identity politics – an umbrella term used to describe various approaches to political resistance which, in one way or another, depart from the experience of oppression shared by members of a particular social group (e.g., black women).

ideology – a body of assumptions, ideas, knowledge, and epistemic practices which reflect and maintains the social position and interests of a particular (usually dominant) social group (e.g., scientific racism is an ideology which justifies and reflects white domination).

imperialism – a global system of domination exercised through private property (capital), military power, and global institutions (such as the WTO or the IMF), through which wealth is drained from the labour and resources of people in the Global South to the systematic advantage of capital (i.e., the capitalist class) in the Global North. A nation-state is imperialist if its ruling class and state apparatuses perpetuate and systematically benefit from this system of structural global inequality.

institutional(ized) racism – refers to the social structures, macroscopic social relations, and institutionalized practices which reproduce systems of racialized domination (e.g., racial profiling by police, unequal access to a legal system, anti-terrorism laws which target particular racialized communities, etc.). Also known as “structural racism”. [See also everyday racism and scientific racism]

intersectionality – a term used to refer to the relation between systems of oppression (based on race, gender, class, nation, ability, etc.) which are understood to constitute each other, rather than being discrete or separate social phenomena.

intersubjectivity – relations between subjects.

islamophobia – the fear and racialized hatred of Muslim people, Islam and/or Islamic societies. Sometimes used more broadly to refer to marginalization and persecution of Arab and/or Middle-Eastern people generally, especially after 9/11.

means of production – these are the things which are necessary to produce whatever is produced by a particular society (e.g., natural resources, machinery, land, etc.)

mode of production – this is the particular way in which a given society produces whatever it produces (and reproduces itself). It involves the means of production and the social relations of production.

meritocracy ( the myth of) – the idea that the outcome of our lives is a function of merit (or lack thereof) as opposed to structural relations of oppression and privilege, and therefore wealth (or poverty) is deserved.

normative – [adj.] refers variously to something which is socially expected or prescribed, or to something which points to implications for action.

objectification – making something into an object. In the context of relations of oppression, that which is being objectified is actually a subject (i.e., a person).

oppositional knowledge – knowledge produced, in the course of a transformative struggle, to foster the self-determination of an oppressed group.

oppression – the constellation of structural economic, political, and psycho-social relations that systematically confine or reduce the life-choices of a social group, often through presenting members of the oppressed social group with a set of “double binds”: that is, choices between equally problematic outcomes. [See also privilege]

outsider-within locations – social locations or border spaces marking the boundaries between groups of unequal power. Individuals acquire identities as “outsiders within” by their location in these spaces.

paradigm – literally, an example. Used more loosely to refer to an interpretative framework used to explain social phenomena, which has currency (or explanatory power) at a particular historical moment.

performativity – a way of theorizing how gender is produced on the micro-level; that is, how individual subjects come to embody genders. First proposed by Judith Butler, drawing on J.L. Austin’s speech-act theory. A performative speech act is one that does what it says (e.g., “I sentence
you to life in prison”); similarly, according to Butler, gender is produced through performative acts – rather than merely expressing an existing gender identity, our acts bring gender into being. This implies, paradoxically, both that gender “goes all the way down” (that is, that there is no causal core which originates gender performance – biological or psychological), and that gender is a surface phenomenon (it doesn’t have the depth or intractability that is normally imputed to it) and is therefore radically malleable.

petition – a list of signatures in support of a certain demand or resolution, for example, to free a political prisoner, or to stop rainforest clear-cutting. In the digital age, many petitions have moved online, and are either circulated through e-mail or are posted on websites.

picket – an action often undertaken by striking workers and their supporters at the entrance of their workplace to prevent the entrance of “scab” (replacement) labor. More generally a protest with signs at a fixed site, in order to raise awareness about an institution or issue. For example, the Montréal-based groups Solidarity Across Borders and No One Is Illegal picket the Immigration and Refugee Board to stop deportations of nonstatus people.

post-colonial theory – a diverse body of theory which is concerned with understanding the effects (social, cultural, political, economic) of European imperialism, colonization, and their aftermath. Much of post-colonial theory interrogates the relation between knowledge and power, and the effects of power relations on the formation of subjectivity. It is the inheritor of a critical tradition of early- and mid-twentieth century anti-colonial and antiracist thought and is jointly influenced by, and in turn influences, post-structuralism, Marxism, and feminism.

post-structuralism – an umbrella term used to refer to a diverse set of theoretical discourses which, in one way or another, perform a critique of knowledge, totality, and the subject. That is, they criticize the idea that we can have objective knowledge; that subjects are self-transparent, or
entirely known to themselves; and that we can arrive at a total or systematic knowledge of social reality. A theoretical offspring of structuralism. [See also deconstruction]

praxis – unity of theory and practice; in Marx’s terms, “sensuous human activity” which transforms objective reality; “practical-critical” or “revolutionary” activity.

privilege – unearned advantages which are conferred systematically to members of a social group, in virtue of their group membership. [See also oppression and myth of meritocracy]

protest 
– a gathering of people to disrupt the status quo or to publicly interrogate or delegitimize an institution. For example, in 1903 Mary Harris (Mother) Jones led children working in factories in Pennsylvania on a 200-mile march to then-President Roosevelt’s house on Long Island, with
their maimed fingers, held high in the air to protest the exploitation of child laborers.
public/private distinction – a (gendered) distinction between two spheres of social life: the (masculinized) public sphere of work, government, and economy opposed to the (feminized) private sphere of home, family, and reproduction. Feminists deconstructed this distinction
in part by politicizing the so-called private sphere (this is one meaning of the feminist adage “the personal is political”).

 

Camera Angles in Photography

5 unusual camera perspectives to give your photos a twist

It really doesn’t take a lot to change the way someone perceives your photography. In fact, just by tweaking the perspective of your lens you can take plenty more great snaps to be proud of.

As photographers, we are never happy taking the same old shots – we’re creative, innovative people and we like it that way! So, if you’re looking for some inspiration to transform your photo composition, check out these five unusual perspectives we recommend.

If you’re looking to take a picture that has a lasting impact and a genuine ‘wow factor’, let us help you add an extra dimension to your repertoire of camera lens angles.

1. Aim your camera lens straight up

You might be surprised to see us recommend a simple straight up perspective, but if you’re taking a walk in the forest and you’re fascinated by its canopy, you can really get a sense of its towering, domineering stature. Taking a shot from the ground facing directly upwards is akin to a worm’s eye perspective of our planet. If you own a wide-angle lens, this angle can be particularly effective.

2. Shoot from ground level

It’s not very often that we find ourselves at ground level – even at bedtime, we’re above the floor! Taking a snap from the floor is another great way of demonstrating a sense of insecurity or fragility from a worm’s eye view once again.

Consider positioning your camera lens on the ground. If you’re looking to add some depth and dimension to your shots, ensure there’s plenty going on in the foreground. It’s certainly not a camera angle for the faint-hearted – you’ll have to get your tummy grubby if you want a perfect shot here as you’ll need to make sure the viewfinder shows little or no background distractions.

3. Take shots at an angle

An issue we often moan about when taking portrait shots of tall, thin objects is the sheer vacant areas that surround them.

It’s fair to say that a photo of an object in the middle of the shot lacks the creativity and pizzazz that both professional and amateur photographers love to capture. You’ll be amazed at what a difference twisting your camera makes to your composition. With a diagonal line through the frame, you’re left with an eye-catching perspective that can be labeled anything but every day.

4. Accentuate big features

Instead of snapping landmarks or famous features from the ‘record’ shot perspective, there’s really nothing more satisfying than taking a photo that exaggerates and celebrates its physical wonder.

Think about a tourist snapshot of Big Ben in London, for example. While most people will happily take a shot from a ‘record’ perspective from Westminster Bridge, why not get up close and personal with it and point your lens upwards towards the clock face? By taking your shot as close to Big Ben as possible and twisting the lens toward the clock face, you’ll guide people’s eyes into the heart of the picture; a really striking compositional skill to add to your arsenal.

5. Check out life on one knee!

Don’t follow the crowd and take your shot from head height – it’s our everyday perspective after all! Make your snaps sing by kneeling down. You’ll be amazed at what a different composition this offers – it’s a halfway house between a standing shot and a ground shot.

As you are already close to the floor it’s a fun way to illustrate the quirkier aspects of the world around us. If a floor shot is considered a worm’s eye view, you would probably name this shot a dog’s eye view!

And as you’re keeping low, your increasing the likelihood of the background of your shot being clean and free of interruptions.

If you’ve got any more quirky camera perspectives up your sleeve we’d love to hear about them. Please feel free to give us your tips and comment at our website where you can find everything about canvas prints – parrotprintcanvas.com!