Hope and Emergency

Rebecca Solnit

By Suni Jo Roberts
Staff Writer

In her book, “Hope in the Dark” Rebecca Solnit writes about hope in the context of political activism–as an uncertainty that inspires us to act. Solnit writes, “Hope is an embrace of the unknown and knowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.”

Solnit, a writer, activist and historian will deliver the Jill S. Harris memorial lecture, titled “Hope and Emergency” at the University of Michigan on Monday, Feb. 20.

The lecture will focus on the topic of hope, a recurring theme in her work, alongside past and recent political events.

In “Hope in the Dark” Solnit writes about hope in the context of political activism–as an uncertainty that inspires us to act.

Although “Hope in the Dark” was first published in 2004, Haymarket Books published a third edition in 2016 and the book experienced a dramatic increase in sales after the election of President Donald J. Trump.

After the election finished, the book sold out in print and had 30,500 digital downloads after Haymarket Books and Rebecca Solnit agreed to offer a free digital download, according to Publishers Weekly.

Rebecca Solnit has been consistently outspoken against policies and ideals Trump stands for on her personal Facebook page.

She often writes about her opposition to executive orders signed by the president that limit immigration into the U.S. and work to move forward two oil pipeline projects: the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL.

Solnit is also outspoken about the effects of climate change and has recently opposed a bill introduced in the house of representatives to dismantle the EPA.

Rebecca Solnit has written 15 books on topics ranging from feminism, activism, indigenous rights, environment and landscape. She is, perhaps, best known for inspiring the term “mansplaining” with her 2014 book “Men Explain Things to Me.”

Although Solnit didn’t herself come up with the term “mansplaining” she lays the groundwork for the cultural phenomenon in her collection of essays which compose her book “Men Explain Things to Me.”

Solnit writes about situations in which men talk down to, or over women, in a condescending way, about something that a woman knows more about or has more experience with. In its simplest terms, “mansplaining” silences women. Something that when pushed to its most extreme end breeds violence against women.

Solnit is the first woman to be a regular writer for Harper’s magazine “Easy Chair” column and is also a regular contributor to The Guardian. Solnit has a new book titled “The Mother of All Questions” scheduled to go on sale March 20 with Haymarket Books.

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