Screening of “Merchants of Doubt”

Date: May 5, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm  to  8:45 pm

Inspired by the 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erick M. Conway, the film “Merchants of Doubt” examines pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.

The screening is part of the “Controversy & Conversation” series, a collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues Program at the University of Texas. More information online.

Location: Austin Public Library, Terrazas Branch, 1105 East Cesar Chavez St., Austin, 78702

Refusing To Be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation

Date: May 7, 2016
Time: 6:00 pm  to  8:30 pm

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Friends Meeting of Austin and Austin Jewish Voice for Peace will host a book talk and discussion by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, author of Refusing To Be Enemies. The book documents the nonviolent resistance of Palestinians and Israelis in response to the Israeli occupation.

The event begins at 6 pm with a vegetarian meal (donations accepted), followed at 7 pm by the presentation. For more information, contact  or (217) 417-4694.

Location: Friends Meeting of Austin, 3701 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin

Robert Jensen on “Plain Radical” Politics

Date: May 8, 2016
Time: 12:00 pm  to  1:00 pm

University of Texas professor Robert Jensen will discuss the political and ecological vision outlined in his Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully. The book sketches the comprehensive radical politics of Jensen’s late friend and comrade Jim Koplin. Drawing on first-hand stories and the nearly 3,000 pages of correspondence that flowed between the two men between 1988 and 2012, the book is part love story, part intellectual memoir, and part political polemic—an argument for how we should understand problems and think about solutions to create a decent human future, if there is to be a human future at all.

Independent journalist Dahr Jamail of Truthout said, “Jensen’s heartfelt book about perspective, love, growth, kinship, and the necessity to live radically, couldn’t possibly come at a better time.” Kirkus Review called the book, “A heartfelt book about an inspiring model of wisdom, self-awareness, and thoughtful engagement with the world.”

The talk is part of the First Unitarian Universalist Church’s weekly Public Affairs Forum.

Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin 78756

“Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil”

Date: May 12, 2016
Time: 6:30 pm  to  8:00 pm

University of Texas Professor Christen Smith will speak about her new book, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil, which explores the Black body in pain as it also defines Brazil as an exotic Black space. Smith, who teaches in Anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies, argues that the dialectic of glorified representations of black bodies and subsequent state repression reinforces Brazil’s racially hierarchal society.

More information online.

Location: Monkeywrench Books, 110 E. North Loop, Austin, 78751

Amending the Constitution: Why Now?

Date: May 14, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm  to  4:00 pm

Current efforts to amend the Constitution include the attempt to overturn the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal for a convention of the states to consider nine constitutional amendments “to rein in the federal government and restore the balance of power between the States and the United States.” University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson will discuss the history of constitutional amendments.

The event is sponsored by Common Ground for Texans.

Location: Yarborough Library, 2200 Hancock, Austin