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Dan S Wang
midwest, except when i'm not
Interests: printer, artist, writer, organizer. letterpress, politics, books, art. madison, chicago, upper midwest. china, austria, global society. chinese and all other foods. paddler x 2: canoeing + table tennis.
Recent Activity
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[This essay was included in Meandering Methodologies, Deviant Disciplines, a publication produced by Public Art Saint Paul. The book is the final document from the four-year City Art Collaboratory project that brought scientists into collaboration with artists.] My interest in science and art resonates with what philosopher Alain Badiou calls... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at propositions press... 2.0
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Once in a while I get curious about blog traffic. I just checked into my Google Analytics page for this blog for the first time in many months. First thing I noticed was a spike in traffic beginning on 10/30. The blog gets visitors when I post something new and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2016 at propositions press... 2.0
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The new arrivals are no more! As an operating business Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative has reached its end stage. Since the end of August the entire inventory has been discounted by 50%. The doors close today. Because of what it meant to the radical communities of Madison, and because the two... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Madison Mutual Drift
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Since reporting on the Wisconsin Uprising as it happened in 2011, I often get asked by friends from other states about the situation here. Now filed away as one of the countless social movements that erupted and then dissipated, it is right that people wonder. Moreover, in viewing the national... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at propositions press... 2.0
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In advance of this workshop I have been revisiting “counterculture” both as a general category of phenomenon and as that historically-specific wave in post-WWII United States which in extended form dates roughly from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s. Now that we are living through the 50th anniversary decade of the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2016 at propositions press... 2.0
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I was eight years old when my dad took me to the Green Acres theater in Saginaw Township to see Rocky. It was just Rocky, not “the first Rocky movie,” since nobody had any idea of it becoming a so-called franchise picture, much less that some of us would be... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2015 at propositions press... 2.0
Given that academic tenure has become a way of dividing the whole of the academic labor pool into membership in either an ever-shrinking select group that enjoys protections comparable only to federal judges with lifetime appointments, or a vast and growing army of underpaid, part-time, contract, and contingent faculty with few and uneven protections, I find it difficult to defend the tenure system as it is. A serious reform that addresses this labor inequity, at the very least, is necessary. A radical demand for universal tenure would be even better. The right wing recognizes the existing divide and exploits it, knowing that those without tenure will not spend time and energy defending those who have it, same as how the non-unionized will not spend political capital defending those who are unionized. The left will never outflank the right without building a new basis for unified resistance. That said, the cross-institutional analysis is super important. The "peer institution" trope is more than a concept, it is living construct, with organizations that officially group institutions together. Flows of scholars, students, and administrators jump from one university to another, forming webs of relationships and cross-institutional experience. Some big donors give to more than a single school. So what are the inter-institutional strategies and bodies of resistance and movement building? Perhaps now is the time for a detailed mapping of current nodes and possibilities. As for the Salaita case, my interpretation is that the "unhiring" was punishment for political speech, ie not even a matter of academic freedom. He wasn't speaking in any official capacity, and it was not about published research or classroom conduct. It was about political opinion and the rhetoric of outrage, ie the freedom of speech granted every US citizen, no more and no less. As a precedent applied to the UW context, this is even worse than a controversy over academic research, given the vindictive ways of Scott Walker and his forces. And yet, ultimately it might be a gift. Freedom of political speech is defensible as a universal right in a way that the exisiting tenure system is not. Maybe somewhere therein lies a unity of resistance that has thus far eluded the left?
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The exhibition After Today up now at Gallery 400 has the feel of a Chicago show from ten years ago, in a good way. I could call it a “strategy” or simply a response to a demand—either way, the exhibition space is turned into a platform for playing with ways... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2015 at propositions press... 2.0
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Historically, the labor and intellectual leadership in and around Madison has made an outsized impact on statewide progressive policy. The density of citizen engagement and public conversation has always been exceptional here. That has not changed. If anything, since the upsurge of 2011 the political climate in this city has... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at propositions press... 2.0
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On the day after the killing of Tony Robinson, Young Gifted and Black, in cooperation with family and friends of the victim, organized a candlelight vigil. The event was publicized primarily via social media and the Facebook event page became a flashpoint for debates about what happened to Robinson and... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Madison Mutual Drift
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On Friday, March 6th, a Madison, Wisconsin police officer, Matthew Kenny, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Tony Robinson. In a heartening response, hundreds responded to this event within an hour, with conversations and public protests of police violence. Many immediately recognized the similarity of this event to that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at Madison Mutual Drift
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We took the intersection for twenty minutes, causing a stir. There, standing in the middle of the intersection of Doty Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, several hundred yards from where the regressive Scott Walker only minutes earlier took the oath for his second term as governor of Wisconsin,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at propositions press... 2.0
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This is the first text in a series of nine. Certain to grow over time, the first nine are collected in our publication Madison, Wisconsin: A City in Nine Objects, newly published by Half Letter Press. Staple-bound and printed in two colors, the booklet features excellent illustrations by Kione Kochi... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Madison Mutual Drift
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The language we use to describe what’s been happening in Ferguson / St. Louis reveals much about our politics. Those who sympathize with the people taking their anger to the streets refer to their actions in neutral or positive terms, as demonstrations or unrest, and they defend the destruction of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Madison Mutual Drift
Ah, it is finally over. The Christmas season, that is. As the ordinary shopper has undoubtedly noticed, the Christmas displays in stores seem to move inexorably forward year after year, extending the holiday season by intruding from the future into our present. Having undercut Thanksgiving and put Halloween within sights,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at propositions press... 2.0
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I arrived at night and this was the first thing I saw. The trains come rolling through Fargo headed east or west, blocking cross traffic at least once or twice every hour, around the clock. These are diesel locomotives pulling and pushing forty, fifty, seventy, ninety or more units, many... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at propositions press... 2.0
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What are they going to do about the water? We had a great time in LA. It was a straight family production, our summer vacation, and thanks to some lucky online booking, we made it weirdly hip rich in style. In advance the social media brain returned me with a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at propositions press... 2.0
Karma R. Chávez and Anders Zanichkowsky hosted a conversation with Neil Simpkins and Natalia Cecire on August 13, 2014, on A Public Affair, a regular program on WORT 89.9, a community radio station in Madison, WI. Colin Gillis helped Anders and Karma develop the questions, and transcribed the conversation. Earlier... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at Madison Mutual Drift
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The four of us found each other through involvement and employment in parts of Madison’s activist and intellectual infrastructure–among other things, volunteering for WORT, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, Wisconsin Books to Prisoners, and Groundwork. The University was the magnet and the dominant institution; all of us came to Madison because of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at Madison Mutual Drift
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General Baker, Ernesto Laclau, Maya Angelou. Sam Greenlee. Lately Yuri Kochiyama and most recently Ruby Dee. The ranks of the movement ancestors grow by the week. As I write, I wonder who of the radical generation’s s/heroes will make for an earthly exit next? As we accelerate into a remaining... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at propositions press... 2.0
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Most years around the middle of May I think of how I was introduced to the Rush Limbaugh Show. Back in the spring of 1993 the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon was only a rumor to me. That is how far away from it I was. I became familiar with his shtick... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Madison Mutual Drift
I don't know Ron Glotta except through that brief encounter. I am familiar with the sleaze factor in Michigan labor politics and the egos on the activist scene so I do not discount what you say. But if you have some hard sources for the negatives you've thrown down, that would bolster your characterizations of the man. Do you have any?
I don't know what to think. Back in Franklin I heard rumors about some senior staff having drug problems, but never witnessed anything myself. I trained under Tony and found him to be an effective leader and a great guide to the kids. But I also remember him being somewhat distant from others and a bit arrogant. VQ in general was a brutally stressful place to work. For me it was all-consuming. My lodge team recognized my effort; I was made SPS at six months. But I was burned out and quit a little less than 18 months later. What some of the long time staff did to stay sane and functional on a daily basis, I can imagine some of it was pretty unhealthy. I recall Sue with nothing but fondness. What a warm lady. I'm very sorry to learn of her premature passing.
After nine months of meeting, the group that now uses the name Madison Mutual Drift presents itself to the world–or more meaningfully, to Madison. For all the self-initiative and prioritizing required when doing substantive group work that is essentially non-professional and unpaid, we can thank the present conditions in Madison... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Madison Mutual Drift
So there is new outrage circulating about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s (MMSD) so-called zero tolerance policy. The story is getting coverage in both the Isthmus and Cap Times. The basic narrative goes like this. A 14 year-old girl, a ninth grader, was caught bringing whiskey disguised in water bottles... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at propositions press... 2.0